Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for August 14, 2016

Badger entrepreneur breaks/makes the mold





Peter Mayer went from engineer to business owner after creating FoamFit Tools.
Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

There are no more than 12 steps from FoamFit Tools design area to its production space.

Peter Mayer crosses that distance, a common hallway used by other fledgling businesses, in a matter of seconds.

Yet his steps have been years in the making over some daunting thresholds, no more so than quitting his full-time job and growing a business focused on producing foam organizers for tool boxes.

“It’s grown from something on the side – a weekend and evening project – to something where I’ve got two full-time people, one doing design and one running the manufacturing side of it,” Mayer said.

FoamFit’s products are found in tool boxes at some of the largest companies (all of them you’ve heard of, but he’d rather not divulge for competitive reasons) in the world. The organizers hold tools in place, but also give users a quick visual reference of what tools have yet to return to their respective spot in the box.

Mayer said there were several daunting steps in the creation of his business.

“The first was starting the business, my background is I’m an engineer and engineers don’t typically take a lot of risks. Our job is to minimize the risks for other people,” he said. “Starting the business was a big step and quitting my full-time job … was a huge challenge for me.”

Mayer isn’t alone in striking out on his own.

The rate of startup activity rebounded about 10 percent in 2015, reversing a five-year downward trend, according to a report from the Kauffman Foundation.  It concedes the uptick is “tepid and well below historical trends.”

The report estimates, nationally, there were 530,000 new business owners each month of the year.

Across the state and nation a number of industries appear primed for investment and growth, opening an opportunity for startup business. An annual report from the Wisconsin Technology Council points to key investment areas in the state in 2015 as healthcare (with medical devices leading the way); information technology (spearheaded by services); and biotechnology.

Locally, food and agriculture have been primed for new business development as have technology and manufacturing, said Karen Altekruse, who heads up the Entrepreneur Resource Center at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

“We had a gentleman who created a really unique sauce, and we’re connecting him with a producer who can produce that sauce, private label it and get it to market that way,” she said. “It’s not necessarily the restaurateurs … it’s about the foodies creating a product and then figuring out the distribution channel. There’s only so much money you can make selling at farmer’s markets.”

Nationally, businesses tied to internet connected devices (The Internet of Things), health technology, virtual reality, and consumer privacy protection make the top of various lists of growth areas to watch in 2016 and beyond.

“Niche” and “unique” are two of the worlds used by Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt while talking about the startups SCORE is seeing launched in the area.

“Entrepreneurs are trying to find niches within an industry.  For example, instead of opening a fitness center, it is usually a very specialized type of center,” she said in an email interview. “Traditionally, many of our clients have been interested in starting landscaping businesses or restaurants.  Now, they’re looking at doing something that is unique. It might be landscaping artistry versus lawn care or an organic restaurant.”

Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin, a non-profit business consulting and mentoring program.

Food trucks and ethnic foods not available in the area have been growth areas in the region, as have businesses tied to  home health care and agriculture  – including farm-to-table, organic, and special dietary concepts – while service-based industry offer a foot in the door with relatively low startup costs.

“The issue for many businesses, however, is difficulty in finding employees,” Dettman-Bielefeldt said. “For those in sectors that pay minimum and lower wages, this is hindering growth.”

Can you handle success?

For entrepreneurs like Mayer, getting the business running is the first hurdle. Success at that first marker sets the stage for new challenges – like making sure you have enough product or service to meet the demand of consumers.

The Entrepreneur Resource Center helps its clients grow through coaching, consulting and skills development. Staff also help business owners, and prospective business owners, refine and focus ideas for a sustainable venture.

“Everyone wants to start their own business, but a lot of people lack focus or they have all these different ideas,” said Thomas Duffy, small business development consultant with the Entrepreneur Resource Center. “What they have to do is silo those into specific ideas.”

Prospective business owners need to have a plan and a definition of success, but also need to be prepared for that loss. Those that are passionate about their vision will forge ahead. Some will choose to live a lifestyle tied to that business that creates local jobs, while others may develop a product or service they sell and move on to something else.

“Entrepreneur isn’t for everyone,” Duffy said. “It’s not always what you’re going to gain, but what are you willing to lose. When you start your business you’re going to be bleeding money for the first year to 18 months to two years. They’ve got to be willing to accept that.”

But that initial success can lead to the next hurdle, providing the good or services once the business is established and off the ground.

“There’s nothing worse than they’re able to sign a contract with a food store and they can’t deliver because they don’t have enough product,” Altekruse said.

“Can you handle success?” Duffy added. “If you get the big order, can you fulfil it?”

The goal of the center is to not only help businesses get started, but also help first-stage businesses advance to a second stage.

“People write their business plan, get their financing and get started,” Altekruse said. “Six or nine months down the road that small business owner wakes up and says ‘now what do I do, how do I grow this?’”

The reward

Mayer comes from a profession adverse to risk. But he’s now comfortable with the risks he’s taken in the last few years. The businesses recently moved into larger spaces at the Advance Business Manufacturing Center, a business incubator.

“You have to have so many sales to support that move,” he said. “The thing that’s very rewarding is seeing it grow. We just moved to a bigger space at the incubator so we’re doing floor plans … and I think about where we were three years ago.”

Not all new businesses make it, and entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but success stories are out there.

Like FoamFit.

“The potential is so great if you go out and start something … It’s not like everything has been done and it’s impossible to be a startup,” Mayer said. “When I started, I never thought I’d do it full time. I never thought it would grow to that point.”

— and follow him on Twitter @nathanphelpsPG or Instagram at Nathan_Phelps_PG

Article source:

2016’s Best Ideas for Starting a Green Small Business


Published on August 9th, 2016
by Carolyn Fortuna


PART II:  The 2016 Top Five Ideas for starting a green business.

Finally, environmental activism has met the marketplace.  In our first part of this series, we examined five innovative green business practices that have consumer appeal.  Now, in the second and final part of this series, we’ll look at the most clever, innovative green business ideas out there.  Here goes!

5. A green Internet store

Can’t quite decide which green product or service is the best fit for your green business?  Then, maybe, a green Internet store is the solution for you.  You have a couple of choices as you get started.  Conduct market research for the amenities you’re thinking of providing.  Glenn Croston of Entrepreneur reminds us that time, energy, and money are necessary for a do-it-yourself green business store.  So, too, is a website ready for e-commerce. A billing system. Marketing program. Shipping. Tracking process for deliveries. Another solution for aspiring green business people is to work with a pre-packaged internet eco-store, which includes a setup fee for first-year hosting as well as maintenance fees. When it’s time for your big reveal, email friends and ask them to share on social media. Have your Facebook and Twitter green business sites ready to go.

4. Native landscape designer

Invasives and drought have made landscaping harder and harder for home and business owners. But this opens up a green business opportunity.  Why not create a strictly native plant landscaping company? You’d do everything from seeds and starter plants to periodic maintenance and replanting.  Consider yourself an artist of the earth, preserving and rehabilitating the land.  Be someone who beautifies our environment by offer competent services, quality design, and a vision for a green and sustainable landscape.

3. Goat rentals

Want to create a green business that’s just a little different?  And really innovative? Well, if you live in an area where you have some land that could support a small herd of goats, you might really have something here.  According to Heather Levin on Money Crashers, goats eat anything: poison ivy, bushes, brambles.  They clear out difficult to reach places like steep slopes where a mower can’t reach.  The key is to set up a portable fencing and let them eat their way through the brush over several days. Unlike a tractor or lawn mower, goats don’t harm the environment. Think we’re kidding?  Check out The Goat Girls in Amherst, MA, which boasts that they can remove unwanted vegetation and invasives “the natural way – no herbicides.” The MD-based company, Eco-Goats, can also offer a good model for you.

2. Organic and local food catering

It is estimated that between 20 and 30 per cent of climate change caused by human activity is attributable to our food and agricultural systems (The Office of Environmental Sustainability 2009). A growing base of customers are demanding sustainability from caterers.  Sabrina Bomberger on Webstaurant has a list of suggestions for a green business with food prep and presentation. Go vegetarian whenever possible. Incorporate a seasonal menu. Separate recyclable materials. Use biodegradable disposables. Swap disposable for reusable. Food Guidelines for a Sustainable Environment has some additional suggestions.  Use fresh, minimally processed and minimally packaged foods.  Incorporate sustainable protein sources such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and chicken in your menu and limit beef and lamb.  Conserve water in your food preparation. Market in an environmentally friendly way and raise awareness about the importance of green food service.

1.   Become a green consultant

Going green can provide businesses and corporations with savings and customer goodwill.  The problem is that many businesses just don’t know how to convert to a green environment or don’t have the time to do it themselves.  Heather Levin at MoneyCrashers sees green business consulting as a quickly expanding trend.  Here’s how it works.  As a green consultant, you’d do a thorough evaluation of a business.  Then you’d design an effective strategy to assist the company to go green and save money. For example, poor insulation, lack of weather stripping, or leaky windows may be significant energy losers.  You’d recommend green energy technologies that help them save energy. Maybe you’d start a recycling program.  If you want to become really knowledgeable about green efficiency, you should get certified as an eco-consultant. If that seems too daunting, some technical schools and adult education classes will also teach you how to be a green consultant.

Now it’s your turn!  Decide on your green business focus, do your research, and begin planning.  Dedicate time each day toward your creativity, and, before you know it, you, too, will have a green business that will contribute to protecting our environment.


Photo Credit: Foter

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

Carolyn Fortuna writes from her home in Chepachet, RI, where she advocates with her lake association for chemical-free solutions to eradicate invasive species. She’s an organic gardener, nature lover, and semi-vegetarian (no red meat since 1980) who draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+

Related Posts

Article source:

Small landscapes may be good fit for busy professionals, aging citizens

While landscaping goes on all year, this is not one of the better times to tackle such a project. Why? Because typically in late summer our area is dominated by high temperatures and a shortage of rain. These conditions make it difficult to establish and keep alive newly installed plants…but it can be done by those who really work at it. On the other hand, it can be a good time to sit in the shade or an air-conditioned home and do some strategic landscape planning.

Often I hear from those still involved in the work-a-day world and from numerous elderly citizens about how they just don’t have time to keep up their grounds anymore. Many of these persons have, over the years, become more involved in their own personal business or have climbed a step or two higher on the corporate ladder both of which leads to less time for the upkeep of their own personal property. Also as we age most of us tend to become slower in what we do thereby requiring more time to maintain our landscape than we did at an earlier stage in our life. And also there are persons (some with large families) who once needed a big home for their basic needs and with large homes usually comes spacious grounds. However, in many cases the children are grown and have married and moved away leaving “Ma Paw” with a big, somewhat empty house and a large landscape to keep up…and no one left at home to help with the chores.

This scenario is what leads many persons to want to downsize to a smaller home and grounds. Soooo, this is where good landscape planning becomes important. While some may wish to purchase or construct a new, but smaller home, probably most will likely expect to move to an existing structure that may or may not include a landscape. Here’s where the planning comes in. If the new residence’s landscape hasn’t been maintained very well, the new owner can re-design the grounds using as many of the existing plants as fits into his/her ideas as possible or he/she can destroy all plants on the property and start from scratch to address the needs and desired appearance favored by the new owners.

Although some in their downsizing strategy elect to move to an apartment, condominium or townhouse where they are not responsible for the landscaping, others who have enjoyed having and working with plants most of their life are really not ready to give up that association and thus prefer just moving to a smaller home with a small, but manageable landscape.

FALL GARDENING:Time to plant now while still hot

As you plan your new landscape, try to select plants that you like and which mature at a relatively small size. Should you have certain species that grew large in your former landscape and which you especially liked, see if you can find dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties of the same species for use in your new, reduced size landscape. Check for plants with more restricted lateral growth so that you can work more plants into the smaller space, but also consider plants that have more vertical height yet would not be overpowering at maturity. If trees are to be included, select species that grow more slowly and mature at a relatively small size. Otherwise, the rapidly developing shade will limit the number of plants that need lots of sun.

Minimize lawns in small landscapes. They are high maintenance and demand a good hunk of your time. Use groundcover plants instead for low profile plantings.

Keep your design simple. Don’t crowd plants and in time create a jungle. Use recommended pruning and training techniques to enhance the design and to create and capture focal points.

Joe W. White is a retired Extension horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter. Email him

Article source:

Jackie Collins’ Beverly Hills estate sells for $21 million, and other top sales

As Southland home prices continue to trend upward this summer, so has L.A.’s luxury sector, which saw four sales of $10 million or more in the last two weeks of July. Of the high-water transactions was the sale of a romance novelist’s longtime estate and a flashy purchase by a music exec.

Here’s a deeper dive into the most expensive homes sold from July 17 through July 30.

$21 million — Beverly Hills

In the 600 block of North Beverly Drive, the longtime home of late author Jackie Collins sold for $9 million less than the original asking price of $30 million.

PEG TILLERY | Consider adding a theme garden

Many years ago when I was coordinating the Raab Park Youth Garden, I was very inspired by a wonderful book by Barbara Damrosch. Her book “Theme Gardens” provided ideas and detailed directions for planning, planting and growing 16 different gardens. The team of Master Gardeners, encouraged by ideas from the kids at the youth garden, put together several of the ideas found in Damrosch’s book. We were also inspired by several books written by Sharon Lovejoy. The Damrosch and Lovejoy books can still be ordered from bookstores or found at libraries.

A few theme garden suggestions from Damrosch’s book are: moon garden (white flowers and plants that attract moths); colonial garden (using plants that grew during the early days); Shakespeare garden (using plants mentioned in the Bard’s plays); gray garden (plants with gray and gray-green leaves); secret garden (replicating the garden in Frances Burnett’s book “The Secret Garden”); grass garden (using ornamental grasses); and winter garden (selecting plants that will bloom and give interest during winter months).

August just might be a good time to plan out one or more theme gardens (or garden rooms) to incorporate into an existing landscape. It’s something to do on your own, with kids or with gardening friends. Take digital photos of the landscaping to see where you might want to put some plants with a theme into your own garden or maybe even find an empty space to use. Remember, there are no bad ideas. Let your imagination run wild. Or find Damrosch’s book and follow her great ideas, which include plant lists and garden designs. The following are just a few ideas to try.

Why not create a birthday, or memory, garden? For a birthday garden choose a plant for each month. Traditional plants for 12 months are: January, carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus); February, violet (Saintpaulia); March, daffodil (Narcissus); April, sweet pea (Lathyrus); May, lily of the valley (Convallaria); June, rose (Rosa); July, larkspur (Consolida); August, gladiola (Gladiolus); September, aster (Asteraceae compositae); October, marigold (Tagetes patula); November, chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum); and December, paperwhite (Narcissus). Remember these 12 plants aren’t the only choices. Memory gardens traditionally incorporate trees or shrubs. A tree or shrub is planted to commemorate births, anniversaries, and other significant events.

For gardeners with limited space, try creating theme gardens in containers. Group pots full of vegetables together for a mini garden on a porch or deck. The only limitations are the light available; choose plants suitable for the light conditions. Try lettuce, cherry tomatoes, kale, baby carrots, bush beans and bush peas. Plant a grouping of grasses. Try carex, mondo grass, fountain grasses and sedges. Bulbs, small perennials and shrubs, annuals and small trees can be adapted to container gardening. The only trick (other than light requirements) to container gardening is to provide more water and nutrients than is needed for in-ground plantings. Pots drain faster and fertilizers wash away more quickly. Visit the library or a bookstore to discover a veritable bouquet of container gardening books.

Who wouldn’t want to create a hummingbird garden? A separate area can be set aside for this theme garden, or just add some of these plants to an existing landscape, spreading them throughout. The following plants are good hummingbird attracters: Anise hyssop, sages, salvias, monarda, epimedium, canna, Phygelius capensis (cape fuchsia), hardy fuchsia, honeysuckle, lobelia and heuchera. Many other tube-shaped and red, pink and orange plants work, too. Consult with nursery staff for more advice on plants to attract hummingbirds.

Creating a fairy garden is a hot theme right now. Nurseries and craft stores abound in all kinds of tiny furnishings and other decorative items. Create one in a container or into an existing landscape. Books, websites and classes at nurseries will provide ideas. Here’s a very shortlist of plants to try: Rosemary (Rosemary officinalis); Hydrangeas; Japanese maple (Acer palmatum); Magnolia; “Flower Carpet” roses; Clematis; nasturtiums; hardy fuchsias; Rudbeckia; Echinacea; Calendula; Columbine; Hosta; Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium); Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla); ferns (look for rickrack fern and button fern); Cosmos; Balloon Flower (Platycodon); and Campanula. Use thyme, violets and other smaller plants for fairy gardens in containers. A carpet of moss works well, too. A brand of ground covering plants called “Stepables” also offers many fairy garden choices.

Even if you don’t choose to create a theme garden this summer, it’s lots of fun to explore your own garden and come up with ideas for next year.

Article source:

Symposium is a gardening smash

The Concho Valley Master Gardeners in San Angelo are proud to present their 5th annual Fall Landscape Symposium on Sept. 10.

The symposium will be at the Texas AM AgriLife Extension Center, 7887 N. U.S. Highway 87.

Because seating is limited, preregistration is required. The deadline to register is Aug. 22.

Three speakers who are tops in their fields will be presenting throughout the day.

Mike Shoup

Shoup received his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Trinity University and his master’s degree in horticulture from Texas AM University. In 1976, after graduation, he opened Containerized Plants Inc. and sold woody plants, hardy old-fashioned perennials, Texas natives and, most importantly, neglected Old Garden Roses. In 1984, he opened the Antique Rose Emporium, which specialized in the reintroduction and distribution of these historic roses. This developed into display gardens and retail centers in historic Independence and San Antonio. These unique retail centers consist of gardens showing the versatility of antique roses in garden settings. His work has been recognized in Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines and in many trade journals as well. His hope is to show these beautiful and rare roses in settings to create a renewed interest in the preservation of these special roses.

Shoup has written two books, “Roses in the Southern Garden,” published in 2000, and in 1991, “Landscaping with Antique Roses.” He also co-authored “Empress in the Garden” with Liz Druitt.

His talk is entitled, “Lessons from a Texas Rose Rustler.” He defines rose-rustling as the search and rescue of lost and forgotten roses. His stories of the acquisition alone have made intriguing books of both fiction and nonfiction. Attendees will learn about the best varieties, their fragrance, the history and most importantly their use and character in the landscape. Shoup will discuss an organic approach to their care with emphasis on aerobic compost tea. He calls it a miracle elixir for health and vigor of plants.

Steven Cumblee

Cumblee has been active in horticulture for more than 30 years, beginning with his work planting trees with his father. In the late 1970s, he formed Southern Lawn Care, a landscape maintenance company. In 1986, he joined the Fort Worth Botanic Garden as a gardener. Soon he earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in horticulture. Later, he earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Tarleton State University. After that he received a fellowship in the prestigious Longwood Graduate Program and earned the Master of Science degree in public horticulture administration from the University of Delaware.

After graduate school, Cumblee served as the native plant horticulturist for the Heard Natural Science Museum in McKinney. He then returned to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden as the grounds manager. As the education director for the garden, he focused on developing a variety of self-sustaining educational programs.

Currently the chief horticulturist for Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, Cumblee uses his collective experiences to bring vibrant artistic expression to the garden and inspired educational opportunities to the community. His talk, “Texas Shade Gardens,” will cover how shade gardens in Texas can be lovely oases of seasonal color and delightful textures with proper plant selection being most critical for success. He will distribute a detailed handout. His second subject will be “Great Garden Ideas.” Go “idea shopping” at Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer, Chandor Gardens and dozens of stunning private gardens from coast to coast. While initially designed to provide inspiration to people planning or restoring a garden, this program has unexpectedly proven to be a welcome resource for artists. Learn about form, texture, contrast, framing, detail and whimsy from some of the finest minds in horticulture today.

Jerry Parsons

Parsons has been a popular Extension Service personality for more than two decades, becoming something of a cult figure in the agricultural world of South Texas.

He has been responsible for educating and entertaining the Alamo City and surrounding area with weekly horticultural information on TV, radio and in newspapers for more than 40 years. Although his specialty is vegetable production, Parsons has revolutionized the plant introduction arena and is the father of CEMAP (the Coordinated Educational Marketing Assistance Program) at Texas AM University. The plant introduction and promotion program is now copied by similar programs throughout the United States.

Since 1974, when Parsons came to San Antonio as a horticulturist for the Extension Service, a system of cooperative testing and local marketing has introduced productive hybrid tomatoes, peppers and several other types of vegetables. He has also introduced many new flower varieties.

While stirring up a little controversy, he introduced a host of new Texas bluebonnet colors, as well. Parsons also developed the Texas state flower into a bedding plant, spurring what is now a multimillion-dollar industry.

Parsons will be giving two talks. “Concho Valley Texas Superstars,” which is a Texas AM University System trademarked nomenclature, and a label bestowed on specialty selected plants which have attributes that make them Texas tough and consumer friendly. Plants that attain superstar status must be attractive and useful to the masses rather than a special few “collectors.” Find out which plants are designated superstars and how to use them in your landscape. Parsons will also talk about “The Colorization of the Bluebonnet.” Learn about the complete history and chronological development for 40 years of finding, isolation and seed increase of the main color hues of the Texas State flower. He achieved the goal of planting a red, white and blue Texas flag of nothing but bluebonnets in 2000.

The early bird registration cost for the Fall Landscape Symposium is $30 per person. Late registration (Aug. 23 through Sept. 6) is $40. To pay by check or cash, go to and download the registration form and mail or bring it to the Extension Office, 113 W. Beauregard, San Angelo, Texas 76901. To pay online with a credit card, go to The cost includes refreshments throughout the day and lunch. No refunds for cancellations.

The symposium sold out last year.

On the day of the seminar, sign-in is from 8-8:40 a.m. The speakers begin at 8:40 a.m. and continue until 3:15 p.m.

For questions or more information call 325-659-6522. No child care will be provided.

Article source:

Winter gardening jobs

From the vegie patch to the chook pen, Sabrina Hahn counts down three timely tasks to tackle in your garden this week.

1. Plant out more crops of broccoli at three-week intervals to keep up with a constant supply over the winter months.

2. The hairy Mary caterpillars will be attacking everything in the garden. You can spray with Dipel or Success or hand-pick them off. Always wear gloves — they have itchy hairs as a defence mechanism.

3. Calcium is important for the health of your chickens. Make sure they have enough shell grit in their feed.

Hellebore, also known as the winter rose. Picture: Getty Images

Did you know?

Hellebores are known as the winter roses because of their large blooms. They make a great show of flowers underneath deciduous trees.

Do you have a question for Sabrina?

Write to Habitat Ask Sabrina, GPO Box N1025, Perth WA 6843, or email

Please include your full name and suburb. Due to the volume of questions, not all will be answered.

Article source:

Youth gardening tips, activities to be offered

MOUNT CARROLL –A hands-on gardening seed workshop will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Sept. 10 in the meeting room at the Carroll County Extension office, 807D S. Clay St.

The event is open to all youth ages 8 to 18.

Bruce Black, Univerisity of Illinois horticulture educator, will lead the class.

Registration is due by Sept. 2. To register go to or contact Leanne Rahn at or 815-244-9444.

Article source:

This week’s gardening tips: transplant fall tomato plants, careful harvesting figs, replant basil

This week’s gardening tips: Transplant fall tomato plants into your garden by the end of August. Be prepared to spray with insecticides and fungicides since insect and disease pressure is usually greater in the fall than in the spring.

Be careful when harvesting or pruning figs (Ficus carica). Cells in the plant produce latex sap that contains ficin. Contact with skin can cause ficin dermatitis in people who are sensitive. Wear long sleeves and gloves when working with or harvesting figs. Avoid getting sap on your skin and wash it off promptly if you do. This also applies to working with the creeping fig vine (Ficus repens).

It is typical for basil planted in spring or early summer to be blooming, tired and played out by now. There’s still time to plant more basil for harvests from September through December. Transplants are available at area nurseries now. Dry or freeze extra harvest this fall, and you’ll have the wonderful flavor of homegrown basil all through the cold winter months.

If you bag grass clippings when you mow, don’t throw the clippings out with the trash. They make an excellent addition to your compost pile. If you apply a weed killer over the lawn, wait a month before adding the clippings to the compost to allow the herbicide residues to break down.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

Love to read about gorgeous gardens? Sign up for’s online home and garden newsletter. It’s free. Click here. And while you’re at it, head over to the’s New Orleans Homes and Gardens page on Facebook.

Article source: