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Archives for January 2018

Hampton School District hosting Lifetime Learning Academy – Tribune

Updated 4 hours ago

Lifetime Learning Academy is a new community education program offered through the Hampton Township School District, with classes set to begin next month.

The program, which will be held February through April, will feature courses in areas of arts and crafts, digital technology, gardening and home improvement, health and wellness, and academic enrichment courses, all taught by HTSD staff and local experts, according to Dr. Rebecca Cunningham, assistant superintendent with the district.

The Lifetime Learning Academy “captures the ongoing excitement about learning new things that are enjoyable and informative, and which can enrich the quality of life for our community members,” said Cunningham.

Last year, the district piloted a community education program by partnering with the local Baierl Family YMCA. This year it is being handled within the district as it will help “streamline” the process.

“We were very appreciative of their willingness to partner with us and to share their expertise in putting a program together,” said Cunningham.

The current program has a guiding committee which includes HTSD, Hampton Township Community Center staff, and the Hampton Community Library in order to offer a balanced set of courses, said Cunningham.

Residents and nonresidents can register on the school district website or mail in a form, she said.

Mary Alice Hennessey, a school board member who worked on the pilot programming last year, said she is every excited about this new academy, especially with many of the courses being taught by district staff and local experts. She said the instructors are looking forward to sharing their expertise and personal interests.

And it’s a chance for residents who do not get opportunities to interact with district staff to see the wealth of knowledge here, she said.

The classes will be taught at one of the Hampton schools during the evenings, whether one night or several. And classes are at direct-cost, which covers the cost of the instructor and materials needed, except if noted otherwise, said Cunningham.

Specific examples include courses in the area of arts and crafts, including “Beginning Knitting,” “Painting,” and Pet Portraits.” Courses in digital technology include “Microsoft Excel,” “Advanced Google Searching,” and “iPad 101.”

Gardening and home improvement courses include “Gardening Tips 101;” and “Residential Renovation Design.” Academic enrichment courses will feature “Civil War,” “Introduction to Poetry Writing,” and “Film Studies.”

For those wanting to learn more covering health and wellness, they can take “CPR for Laypersons,” “Health-Smart Eating” and “iRest Inspired Meditation.”

Maggi Aebi is the instructor for iRest Inspired Mediation, who said the course helps de-stress and is a method of deep relaxation.

“There’s a lot of stress to be an American. I think anxiety is at an all-time high,” said Aebi.

She focuses on teaching to anyone with everyday stress of varying causes, whether health-related or not, with a special focus on military veteran stress. Her son, SSgt Edward F. Greiner Jr., was killed in an accident outside of Ft. Bragg, N.C., where he was stationed and awaiting re-deployment to Afghanistan. So she said it’s a way to honor him.

She said iRest and yoga and meditation also greatly helped her when she was suffering from a tumor and meningitis, which affected her physically.

“Yoga has helped me to come back to a place of normalcy,” she said.

A few free courses being offered are “Social Media 101” and “Digital Etiquette” which do require an RSVP so they know how many people for which to prepare.

Cunningham said they are open to local experts proposing a class. If so, they can contact Nancy Schindler at or call 412-492-6319 for a course proposal form, which will then be reviewed by the guiding committee when developing the fall 2018 courses.

More information and registration can be found through the district website at under community tab.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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Simple tips to make gardening easier on the body

Gardening can be calming and therapeutic, but can also bring you a world of pain, as well as some frustration, if you’re not careful.

Moving heavy pots and the constant bending can quickly cause older gardeners’ legs, arms, back and joints to ache, while fiddly little bits can get trickier to see without pulling out the reading glasses. But instead of throwing in the trowel, try these tips to make gardening easier.

Make your non-stick shovel

Making your shovel non-stick will ensure that soil will slip right off your shovel once you remove it from the earth, avoid soil spillages that you may need to sweep up later. Just spray your shovel with a silicone or Teflon lubricant, though, to make shovelling a breeze. 

Lighten heavy pots

Avoid the strain of lifting and moving heavy pots by filling the bottom third with packing peanuts – those styrofoam pieces you can buy from any storage store. Simply level out the peanuts in the pot, add a layer of fabric over the top and then layer on the potting soil, ensuring that there’s sufficient depth of soil to accommodate the type of plant you’re potting.

This trick works best with the really big pots that are mainly for decorative purposes, not because the plant necessarily needs all of the soil the pot would usually hold. If you would like to reduce weight further, choose a potting mix filled with vermiculite and peat moss.

Transport plants with ease

Going to the nursery can be a lot of fun, especially when you are purchasing a bunch of new plants, but getting all those plants home without them falling over and spilling topsoil in your car can be a mission.

Next time you go to the nursery, however, line the back of your car with a plastic tarp and place a small step ladder on top. The spaces between the ladder rungs are perfect for keeping your plants upright and in place, as well as being great for ensuring fragile plants remain undamaged.

They are perfect for protecting fragile plants as you drive home, as well as saving you cleaning up any mess.

Make an easy-to-read rain gauge

If you find the measurements printed on your rain gauge hard to read or the glass or plastic has become cloudy, obscuring the water level, there is a simple solution. Add a few drops of food colouring to the bottom of your rain gauge. During your next rain shower, the water will combine with the dye, making the change in water level far more obvious.

Stop aggressive plants

There are a number of plants that look amazing but are just too invasive to deal with. Mint is delicious but it spreads like wildfire and can often take over if not regularly checked, creating extra. But you can prevent invasive species from spreading by planting them in a plastic container. Once planted bury the pot just below the surface of your soil. Make sure your plastic container has no holes or openings.

This will ensure that the plant’s roots don’t grow too quickly and disrupt other plants. If the plant sends out runners, this will have to be dealt with in the old-fashioned way – by chopping them off!

Protect plant bulbs

One of the worst things gardeners face is ruined plants because of root and bulb damage. There are a number of pests that love nothing more than munching on your plant bulbs; digging them up and having a feast. Not only does this ruin all the hard work put into growing the plants, it means we have to clean up our garden and replant. Instead, combat this problem by staking netting over the flowerbed. In the spring, remove the netting or cut a few holes for the plants to grow through.

Update your wheelbarrow

By fitting a piece of plywood to the back end of your wheelbarrow, you can use it for transporting both soil and pots. To do this simply fasten the medium piece of plywood with some wood cleats on either side. Now you will have a small surface that is perfect for potting straight out of the wheelbarrow. You can wheel your soil and plants to the garden when you’re finished in one quick trip.  

What do you think about these tips? Are they useful? What are your g0-to gardening trick?

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Everything you need to know to plant a successful vegetable garden in North Texas

If 2018 is going to be the year that you ramp up your efforts at growing your own groceries, there are a few points you’re going to have to consider. Fall short on any of the following and your garden may flounder. Follow them all and you’ll have produce to savor.

Pick the sunniest site. Vegetables need sunlight. There’s no negotiating that, and there’s nothing you can add that will make up for it. Find a spot where the sun shines directly for at least 10 hours each day.

Provide perfect drainage. No vegetable crop grows well in waterlogged soil. You can always add water when plants are dry, but when it rains for several days in a row, you need to be sure the excess water will drain away from your plants’ roots. The easiest way is to plant in raised beds. Elevate your garden by just 5 or 6 inches and you’ll solve all the problems.

Start small. Too many gardeners are overly ambitious at the outset, only to become discouraged by their poor results when they can’t maintain all the space they’ve opened up. Choose only crops your family really likes, then specialize in those. You can always expand the second time through, but if you fail you may never come back.

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Prepare the soil carefully. Organic matter is your key to success. Add 5 or 6 inches of a blend of sphagnum peat moss, compost, well-rotted manure, finely ground bark mulch and other organic matter and rototill to a depth of 12 inches. If you’re amending a clay soil, include 1 inch of expanded shale as well. Each time you rework the soil for a new season, add an additional 2 or 3 inches of organic matter and rototill again.

Know the proper planting time for each crop that you’re growing. This is a really big issue! Every crop has a two- or three-week window in which it must be planted. If planted too early it may not survive the cold weather. If planted too late it may not mature before heat sets in. This is one of the main places where people set themselves up to fail.

Here are some of the main crops and their timing. Late January: English peas, asparagus (perennial), onions. Mid-February: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Irish potatoes. Late February, early March: leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, carrots, turnips, beets. Late March, very early April: beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, cucumbers. Mid-April into early May: sweet potatoes, okra, southern peas.

Choose the best varieties of each crop that you grow. Texas AM vegetable specialists have lists online. In many cases they will be hybrids selected for productivity, yield, flavor and pest resistance. Many of the old heirloom varieties, tomatoes for example, are notoriously poor producers in Texas conditions. Limit the numbers of those that you try.

Care for your plants regularly. Check them daily once they start growing. Know what problems are likely to appear, then take steps to correct them when you see them. Keep your plants properly watered. Letting them wilt often results in bitter or off-flavored produce. Even though you’re growing many types of vegetables for fruit, nitrogen is the one nutrient element that usually shows up lacking in our North Texas soils. Don’t be surprised if soil tests recommend adding an all-nitrogen plant food.

Harvest your produce at the peak of maturity. In many cases, that will be before it reaches full size. Cucumbers, okra and summer squash, for example, should be harvested when they’re little more than half their full size. The same goes for carrots, green beans and lettuce leaves, and you harvest broccoli before any of the flower buds actually start to open.

Use useless space for extra produce. Many vegetables are actually quite pretty. Leaf lettuce, Swiss chard and peppers all fit into color beds quite well. Cabbage can be pretty in pots, and pole beans and cucumbers can be trained to grow up fences. Many types of herbs are actually very decorative and quite nice to have sitting in pots on patio tables and benches.

Extend the season by planting fall crops in the same ground. Truth be told, fall vegetable gardens are often more productive than their spring counterparts. Produce matures at a time when insects, hot weather and drought aren’t such an issue. The problem comes in motivating gardeners to get things started in July and August, when it’s 98 degrees in the shade. But you can get some great results if you’ll just give it a try.

Involve a youngster in your gardening plans. Whether it’s a child, grandchild, niece, nephew or students at a school in your neighborhood, there’s something magical about helping little hands plant big seeds and guiding them in growing vegetables all the way to harvest. It’s something neither you nor they will ever forget.

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Lara Spencer of Good Morning America Shares Flea Market Flip Tips

Good Morning America airing on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Ida Mae Astute)

Lara Spencer is unstoppable. For the co-anchor of Good Morning America and creator, executive producer and host of Flea Market Flip, best selling author and devoted mother of two teenagers, life is good.

“I am really, really happy where I am,” says Spencer.

Today at 48, Spencer is feeling on top of the world and attributes much of her successes to growing up in Garden City.

We caught up with her as she was getting ready for the holidays, to talk work, her recent projects, motherhood, her love for Garden City, how she got the nickname “Bird” and the best strategy for hunting treasures at your next flea market stop.

Lara Spencer, host of Flea Market Flip. (Photo by Mae Astute)

Long Island Press: How would you describe yourself?

Lara Spencer: Well, I am definitely a product of Long Island. Growing up there really formed who I am. I am very proud to be a Strong Islander. I think we are real and we are honest. We work hard, and we love to laugh, and we are a little loud, and we are proud of it. When people say: “Oh, you are from Long Island with the hard “G,”
I correct them and say, “No, It is Long Island, and it is the most incredible place to grow up. Thirty-five minutes from New York and a world away if you want it to be with the greatest people who will keep you in check every step of the way. I went to Garden City High School, and I am known by high school nickname. They don’t care one iota what I do for a living. I am still the same old Lara from Garden City High School, and I love that.

LIP: Do you visit often? Do you have family there?

LS: I visit often. My best friend in the world is my friend from grade school and high school. I am a firm believer that old friends are the best friends. They know you the best. They keep you in check and my friends from Garden City certainly do that.
My brother is also still there. I was just there for Thanksgiving. I went to the Garden City Hotel for a drink, that is one of my favorite spots. They did a terrific job renovating. They have a little outdoor stop now in the front in the summer with fire pits, and the bar inside that is so chic. It is really fun. It is home base for our friends when we all get together and we eventually end up at Leo’s, a burger joint. It is the beacon in the night for all of us who all grew up in Garden City. It’s just a great casual family stop where you can go with your family for a burger, or when you get home, everyone gathers there on the holidays. When I go back we all meet at Leo’s then I am not Lara anymore, I am Bird. My nickname was bird. Long story. I am happy to tell it. I played basketball all through grade school and high school, and I was very tall at an early age. And, I happened to choose the number 33 because it was my favorite number. I had no idea that was the number Larry Bird wore. My name is Lara, so all the boys in a teasing way in seventh grade used to call me Lara Bird. Then it became a term of affection. And today at 48 years old I am still Bird. I love it. It warms my heart to walk into Leo’s and hear “Hey Bird.” 

LIP: Do they have a burger named after you? You know I had to ask that.

LS: They don’t, but for a long time they did have my picture on the wall. I believe they updated and that is just fine. Also one of my first jobs was being a bus girl there, and then I graduated to waitress and occasionally hostess.


LIP: Garden City is beautiful particularly this time of year during the holidays?

LS: People take pride in their homes and celebrating the holidays. It is really special to drive around especially if we ever get snow again. It is impossible not to be in the holiday spirit when you drive around the town.

LIP: Is it true that you were a professional diver?

LS: I wasn’t professional. I was a diver my whole life through college. I went to college on an athletic scholarship for springboard diving to Penn State University. In my senior year, I was captain of the team and very proud. Garden City is also a community that encourages sports, and there is no shortage of opportunity for kids at any level to get involved in pretty much any sport you can think of. I was lucky, as the youngest of five. My mom was constantly driving all the kids from one practice to another just because I was the youngest I was tagging along, so I got into soccer, lacrosse, swimming because that is what my siblings were all doing. I think it is a blessing to be in a big family and have brothers and sisters to pave the way for you and they continue to do that. I have two brothers and two sisters. My dad sadly passed away, but he was the President of the Garden City Men’s Association and was involved in local sports, and my mom coached soccer. They were incredibly passionate about their community and being part of it.

George Stephanopoulos and Lara Spencer on “Good Morning America,” airing on the ABC Television Network in 2016. (ABC/Ida Mae Astute)

LIP: Your mom sure took it to the next level of being a soccer mom?

LS: My mom coached softball and soccer. I think that is the way she could be in control of the situation. She was coaching and made sure she kept an eye on us that way.

LIP: What type of stories do you like covering the most? Entertainment? News?

LS: I really love celebrating the underdog. One of my favorite stories ever was meeting with the real-life Rosie the Riveters. These women are now in their golden years. They were so formidable and so influential in World War II. I will never forget meeting with a group of them and seeing the twinkle in their eyes talking about how they helped win the war and what they gave up for our country. My kids had no idea what the expression even meant — Rosie the Riveter — so that is a really good day when I learn something and can come home and start a conversation and my kids can learn something from my work. I am still thinking about those women and it has been two years since I met them. I will never forget their energy and their pride. I am so grateful to have given that opportunity to meet them

LIP: How old are your children?

LS: My son turns 16 in January, and my daughter is 13.  I am in the thick of it.

LIP: As a mother of two teenagers how do you do it all? What is the secret?

LS: The same way you do it and the same way every parent does it. There is no real secret to it. You just have to prioritize. Personally, my kids come first. That’s how I do it. When they are all set, then I go from there. I have my day job at GMA. Then I take off that hat, and I put on the hat of producer and do my meetings in the afternoon until the kids get home and then its back to wearing the mom hat and worrying about homework and pick up from sports and figuring out what the heck I am going to feed them for dinner. I especially think given the current climate, no one ever asks how men do it all. We just do it. It’s our job. We are so lucky to have our beautiful children, who are happy and healthy hopefully, and I think when you put them first everything kind of falls into place around it. Then I just peace meal whatever free time I have left over. Unfortunately, manicures get the last place. That is my once every other week total treat on a Saturday if I can fit it in, but it is absolutely not a priority.

ABC Good Morning America co-host Lara Spencer broadcasting live with her co-host, Michael Strahan. (Photo by Mae Astute)

LIP: What is next for you?

LS: Oh my goodness, I think more of the same and continuing to cultivate ideas that are inspired by being curious, observant and creative. I come up with a million ideas all the time whether it is for a segment for GMA or my production company for a new show. I love my life at Good Morning America. I love running a production company and continuing to create. I launched a production company two years ago called DuffKat Media named after my kids, Duff and Kate. We just sold two pilots to the Scripps Network one to the Travel Channel and one to HGTV. I have other shows in development right now at the other networks, so that is exciting for me. I am like a tale of two cities. I look fancy on GMA and throw on my jeans and ass-kicking boots and hit the flea.

LIP: Tell me more about you career.

LS: One thing I will say …I am more well known now honestly for Flea Market Flip. It’s this unbelievable thing that happened. This little idea that I had that thankfully HGTV and Great American Country bought into and fell in love with, and now 11 seasons later, we are the little engine that could. I get stopped more about that show than GMA It has such a cool following and so many young kids are into up cycling, and it all started on Long Island.

LIP: How did your passion for shopping inspire your projects?

LS: I grew up with a mom who had great taste, but not a big budget. Every Saturday morning we would read the Garden City newspaper and circle the tag sales. Because I was the youngest I was stuck with her and we would go around to the tag sales and then go to the flea market where Roosevelt Field is now or where the racetrack was back in the ’80s. My passion for the books and for Flea Market Flip is all because of my upbringing on Long Island. And, my incredible parents who worked really hard to make ends meet and showed us that you don’t need a lot of money to have great style.

LIP: I love finding treasures, so I was excited to talk flea markets with you.

LS: Long Island is a treasure trove. If it were easier for me to get there between the kids’ sports, I would be there every weekend. There is some fabulous estates and cool collectors out there. It is also so fun to go to a yard sale and talk to the owners of the home about their collections. I always feel like it is a bit of a history lesson in of itself. Looking at old records and old porcelain I find myself learning something about the world or about these people and I love that. It is a great way to create a home that tells a story.

LIP: What is one of your favorite finds?

LS: A painting I found at an estate sale. It is not very valuable per se, but it’s been in every home I have lived in since the kids were born. They love it now, and hopefully, they will hang it with pride in their home. It is a pop art rendering done by a guy who worked in advertising. He was auditioning for a Lipton Tea ad. It was his sort of take on whatever the copy was. It’s a little bit like that pop art Andy Warhol school, but not on that level. It just makes me smile when I look at it every day.

LIP: What do you like to collect?

LS: What I really love right now is fantastic black-and-white photography. There is no one theme. I created this beautiful gallery wall I collected over the years from flea markets and yard sales, and I frame them all the same. The framing costs more than the photograph, but I love the simplicity. I feel like the older I get the cleaner and simpler my taste becomes.

LIP: Do you have a favorite period of photography?

LS: I would say ’60s and ’70s is my jam. Also ’40s and ’50s could be chic too. You never now what you are going to find when you are out looking. You just need to have an open mind. I see what speaks to me.

LIP: What are some of your quotes that you often say on the show?

LS: I have a few mantras when I am talking to new flea marketers.
1. Getting there early definitely pays off.
2. The adage, early bird gets the worm is really true when you are a true flea marketer
3. If you see something and you love it snap it up because if you walk away it will be gone when you come back.
4. Cash is king when it comes to flea marketing. You will have a lot more bargaining power if you are paying in cash then with any other method.
5. Be nice to the dealers. Remember they have gotten up before the sun was up and they are working really hard unpacking their wares that they have collected.
6. I cringe when I hear contestants really low ball. I think it’s nice to say, “What is your best offer?” Please never offer less than half. It is their job. They are working really hard

LIP: Shopping can be work. What about footwear? Sneakers? Heels? Flats?

LS: This isn’t a fashion show. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring your best friend so they can tell you when you picked up a total mistake. You need a friend who is honest who is going to say, “Where the hell are you going to put that?” Otherwise, you will end up with a garage full of junk. I have a lot of mistakes, and thankfully I have a lot more treasures.

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Suresnes Cités Danse 2018, Théâtre Jean Vilar, Suresnes, France — the Rite choice?

Keep abreast of significant corporate, financial and political developments around the world. Stay informed and spot emerging risks and opportunities with independent global reporting, expert commentary and analysis you can trust.

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Lessons in Luxury: How Cambodia’s new design destination is helping the planet

You have to be a bit crazy for people to take notice,” said hotel designer Bill Bensley, before I became the first journalist to check in to Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection in Siem Reap, Cambodia. A distillation of 30 years’ experience, it’s the first venture to be operated as well as conceived by him. His portfolio of 200 properties includes landmarks for Four Seasons and St Regis, so I expect big things and a few surprises.

The biggies are hard to miss: the Collection comprises 10 slick one-bedroom villas set in a shaded compound next to Siem Reap’s royal residence. My two-level abode features a 30ft pool that I can jump into straight from my bedroom; a roof terrace with daybed that’s perfect for sundowners or a night’s slumber al fresco; a bathtub set in a private garden and shrouded by foliage; and – why not? – a gargantuan mural depicting the feet and rippling robes of Jayavarman, a 12th-century Khmer king who commissioned many of the most beautiful temples at nearby Angkor.

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National Gardening Bureau offers grants for 2018


The annual Rutgers Gardens plant and flower sale in New Brunswick.STAFF VIDEO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN

In its commitment to promote gardening to gardeners and non-gardeners alike, the National Gardening Bureau (NGB) has grant awards available in 2018. A nonprofit organization, the NGB exists to educate, inspire and motivate people to increase the use of plants in homes, gardens and workplaces by being the marketing arm of the gardening industry. 

NGB members are experts in the field of horticulture and information comes directly from these sources.

“Caring for plants and experiencing nature brings healing and purpose to people whose lives have been affected by illness, addiction, violence or military service,” said Heather Kibble, NGB president.

“National Garden Bureau, in partnership with local therapeutic organizations, strives to make gardening accessible to everyone, no matter their situation, history or abilities. Our garden grant program impacts individual lives using garden-based education and therapy.”

Five years ago, the NGB made a commitment to give back to those who are actively pursuing and promoting gardening. NGB Executive Director Diane Blazek shared in phone interview last month that discussion varied about how the NGB might execute a give-back.

“We finally decided to focus on therapeutic gardens so I came back to my office and started doing some research,” Blazek said. “Our first year, we chose to conduct a fundraiser for a vocational therapeutic garden, Growing Solutions Farm in Chicago, that had just been launched a year or two prior. 

“Every year since, we have simply created $5,000 worth of grants, solicited applications for those grants, narrow the many choices down to three then get the public involved in deciding the first, second and third place winners for the grants. In 2017, the NGB received 47 grant applications. We were very pleased at the number and quality of therapeutic gardens that are out there.”

To date no applications have come in from New Jersey.

The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA), developed the first therapeutic garden characteristics in 1995. A therapeutic garden is designed for use as a component of a treatment, rehabilitation or vocational program.

A garden can be described as being therapeutic in nature when it has been designed to meet the needs of a specific user or population. It is designed to accommodate participant’s goals and to facilitate people-plant interactions.

A horticultural therapist uses a therapeutic garden as a tool to engage a participant in horticultural activities. Therapeutic gardens incorporating the AHTA Therapeutic Garden Design Characteristics are gardens designed to provide a horticultural therapy environment.

Also a nonprofit organization, the AHTA defines and encourages the pursuit of standards of practice, disseminates critical knowledge across diverse constituent audiences, and recognizes and promotes excellence in clinical, professional, educational and research achievement. 

Membership in the AHTA is comprised of individuals and organizations from throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan and beyond. 

Criteria for the NGB therapeutic grant can be found at For more information, email or call  630-963-0770.

READ: Gardener State: Jersey Fresh all winter long

READ: The versatility of container gardening

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Start the year with success – Lawn & Landscape

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NERD WALLET: Side hustles you can start with no money





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Ten resolutions for the home gardener

Reflecting on the many current issues and concerns, it is tempting to feel overwhelmed and rather helpless, to shrug off action with the attitude, “I’m only one person, what can I do?”

But even in your own gardens, we can do much to address the problems of modern life. We can make a significant difference in out individual lives, and gardeners collectively could have an impact on many of the nation’s problems. Now is the time to make a commitment to the future with resolutions we will carry through.

1. Fight inflation. A well-planned garden (30×50 feet), under optimum conditions, can be expected to yield up to $500 in produce (with no taxes to be paid). In addition, gardening is an inexpensive recreational activity that can be shared by the entire family. Landscaping can add 10-15 percent to the value of your property, and it is an investment that keeps growing.

2. Improve your family’s nutrition. The garden is not only an inflation fighter, it is a source of highly nutritional foods that tastes fresher and better when you grow them yourself.

3. Conserve energy. By properly landscaping, you can reduce your air conditioning bill in the summer and heating bill in the winter. Learn about the use of trees and shrubs to modify your environment.

4. Reduce pollution. Your landscape can be useful in reducing air and water pollution. Be careful that in caring for your plants, you do not become a chemical polluter. Many homeowners use more chemicals per square foot than farmers. Look for alternatives.

5. Protect the environment. Plan your landscape with food and shelter for wildlife, or incorporate wild flowers around your home. You will be richly rewarded. Do not take more from the environment than you return to it. Plant flowers for our pollinators.

6. Conserve water. Clear, pure water is a product of a complex system and should not be wasted. Never simply run cold water down the drain while waiting for it to turn hot. Save it for your houseplants or humidifier. Investigate the use of trickle or drip irrigation for your garden.

7.Improve our educational system. Kids learn from more sources than just their teachers. Give a child a plant, and teach him or her how to care for it.

8. Improve your community. Make your neighborhood more attractive by working with others. Start with an attractive, well kept landscape. If you have no space, plant a geranium or zinnia in a window box.

9. Improve your health. Gardening is great preventative medicine. Not only does it provide physical activity, it also relieves many of the stresses and tensions of modern life.

10. Show you care. Share your horticulture skills and products with a friend. Then, for a greater challenge, share them with a stranger—someone in a nursing home, in a half-way home, in the local hospital, or a disadvantaged neighbor.

If you are needing help in your landscape to have a more efficient yard, call the Bladen County Cooperative Extension 910-862-4591 or come by the office, 450 Smith Circle Drive in Elizabethtown.

Nancy Olsen is a horticulture agent with the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office.

Nancy Olsen

Bladen County Cooperative Extention

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