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Archives for January 14, 2018

Committed to teaching and gardening – The San Diego Union

It wasn’t long after Nancy B. Jones earned her teaching credential in 1971 that she took a monthlong ecology class at Humboldt State, starting her on the path to fulfill her dream of working outdoors with kids.

Her parents had each grown up on farms in upstate New York and Jones had been gardening since she was little, so when funding became available for school gardens in the early 1970s, she took advantage. She started learning centers to teach environmental science, built an outdoor classroom in the 1980s, and has continued starting and working in school gardens and gardening programs for children.

“Those enthusiastic students dug in the dirt, pulled weeds, raked, planted seeds, watered and celebrated every sprout. We were proud of our success,” she says of one of the first gardens she started.

Over the years, she’s researched and secured state school improvement funds and grants to construct raised garden beds, start after-school gardening clubs and teach children and families about food, nutrition and the environment.

Vista with her husband and they have two children and two grandchildren. She also serves as director of children’s programming at Alta Vista Botanical Gardens in Vista and took some time to discuss her commitment to gardening, teaching, and her role in the community as Farmer Jones.

Q: You’re currently a retired school teacher who also continues to volunteer with schools and gardens. Tell us about the work you’re currently doing.

A: I was on the founding faculty at Alamosa Park Elementary School in Oceanside, and after some of our teachers attended a professional development training in 1994, they came back enthused about building an outdoor education classroom. Using school improvement funds from the state, we constructed 24 beds, filled them with soil, and teachers moved forward to teach life and environmental science with hands-on experiences.

After retiring from Alamosa in 2006, the garden at school was still growing. I was teaching as a consultant and in January of 2007, I was alerted to the state’s Instructional School Garden program. I read up on it, tracked down the application, and contacted every school in the Vista Unified School District to offer my expertise to obtain funds for gardens. Elementary, middle, and high schools in the district received a total of $60,000 for school gardens. I consulted on design and helped with construction, then they enjoyed planting their new beds. At Alamosa, the grant supported an after-school gardening club, now funded by the school’s foundation. The Green Thumb Gardening Club has been active since the spring of 2008.

Hampton selects design for MLK memorial

A long-awaited dream of building a city memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and local city heroes has vaulted a significant hurdle toward becoming a reality.

The City County approved a citizen’s committee recommendation for a design plan from Work Program Architects for the memorial, to be built in front of the Hampton Roads Convention Center, within the existing elliptical garden.

In a city rich in black history and legacy, the memorial project conceived nearly a decade ago will be Hampton’s first monument for the slain civil rights leader.

The memorial plaza will also honor local citizens dubbed “Hampton Heroes,” who were selected by the committee formed in 2010.

Sarah Browning: Create your own designer landscape

Eringium, Russian sage and Phlox are repeated to create a fantastic effect.

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Small business: Side hustles you can start with no money


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican tax bill is good for small business owners. “Every small business that I can think of is on board for this comprehensive tax reform,” he said. (Nov. 28)

Starting a business is often a pricey ordeal, but no- to low-cost ideas exist for aspiring entrepreneurs with unique and marketable talent.

Take inventory of the skills you already possess, recommends Holly Reisem Hanna, founder of career blog The Work at Home Woman. List your past jobs, education, training, passions, skills and talents to help identify vocational patterns and interests that can guide you toward your new business venture.

“In this exercise, you want to go deep,” she says, “so include what you liked and didn’t like about past jobs, training and schooling.”

Need more small business ideas to get the wheels turning? Consider these classic business ideas you can start with no immediate costs.

Consulting and teaching

Your best assets are the knowledge and skills you already have. So whether you’re a math whiz, grammar guru or musical wunderkind, consider selling your well-honed expertise. While you may eventually want to spend a few dollars to get the word out about your services — beyond, say, your social media contacts — you already have the tools you need to get started, which will help keep overhead low.

Manual work

Everyday home maintenance and repairs have a habit of piling up, so if you’re naturally handy around the house, consider positioning yourself as a master of manual labor. Start by specializing in a niche area, like building your expertise in painting or landscaping to help build credibility among clients and not overextend yourself.


More and more companies are looking to freelancers, or independent contractors, to lower their in-house costs, giving creative types — writers, photographers, designers — an opportunity to share their talents with multiple clients.

More:Careers: What’s in store for the workplace in 2018

More:Financial planning: 5 money moves you need to make by 30

More:Want a more flexible job? These 10 positions offer the best shot

Pet services

Americans shell out big bucks when it comes to their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners spent $66.8 billion on their animals in 2016, with $5.8 billion of that going toward services like grooming and boarding. If pets are your passion, you can start a dog-walking or pet-sitting business for little to no money. Later on, you might take it a step further and become a trainer, though you’ll want to invest in a certification to give your business credibility.

Personal training

Cashing in on the fitness craze is a great idea for the athletically blessed, and there are no required costs for starting out. You can start by working out with clients in public spaces like parks and focusing on body-resistance exercises. Take your hustle to the next level by investing in some gear, like resistance bands or weights, to keep your clients progressing—and coming back to you for more. While there are no state or federal laws regulating who can and cannot declare themselves a personal trainer, a potential cost (and a worthwhile one, at that) is getting certified by an industry organization like the American Council on Exercise. You’ll also want to consider liability insurance to cover any client injuries that may happen while you’re training them.

But entrepreneur beware

Hanna recommends avoiding work in highly regulated industries, like healthcare, because the guidelines can be hard to navigate. Even outside of tricky industries, there are common pitfalls to avoid when pursuing your side job:

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 


Freelancing is more lucrative than ever, with some gig workers raking in more than $100 an hour, new data shows.

More From NerdWallet

Jackie Zimmermann is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @jackie_zm.

The article Side Hustles You Can Start With No Money originally appeared on NerdWallet.

NerdWallet is a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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Home & Builder’s Show packed with ideas for remodelers, builders …

This weekend’s Home Builders Show at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds’ Expo Center will feature animals from Wildlife Encounters at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, along with shows at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday. 

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Winter landscaping to prepare for spring

With the holidays behind us and the cold weather upon us, we generally think that gardening and lawn projects need not be taken up again until warm spring weather comes. However, although weekly mowing, weeding and watering can be put aside, there are still tasks that can be undertaken during this relatively dormant period which will lead to more successful spring landscaping.


Winter is a good time for you to take a look at your overall landscaping and think about changes you may want to make. Let this plan be a guide as you undertake trimming trees, pruning shrubs and bushes, preparing flower and vegetable beds, and removing dead and overgrown plants. Be sure to research the needs of new landscaping items with regards to sun exposure, water needs, and space requirements.


Caring for your garden tools and equipment is an important job, often ignored during the summer months when they are used frequently. Take advantage of the winter period by cleaning tools, resharpening blades, washing out empty pots, scheduling a maintenance check for your mower, and cleaning up the storage area for your gardening items. Wipe down containers of liquid fertilizer or weed/pest killer and be sure lids are on tight. Throw away unneeded items that are just cluttering up the area.


Trimming trees and shrubs is a perfect project for the dormant winter months, especially if they have outgrown their space or have dead branches. Tree trimming can be a major project, depending on the size and location of the trees. You may need to enlist the aid of professionals who have the appropriate tools and expertise to do the job. Trimming shrubs, evergreens and deciduous trees is a more manageable job, leads to healthy new growth in the spring, and improves the overall look of the landscaping. Remember to prune rose bushes on Valentine’s Day!



Empty flower beds are a palette waiting to be filled. For best preparation, use this winter time to remove debris, dead plants, leaves and unwanted weeds. Add nutrients to the soil with compost or fertilizer, clean up the edges of the garden beds, add edging to prevent grass intrusion, plant bulbs, and top with mulch.


Lawn maintenance may be less necessary than in the summer months, but mowing once a month will prevent most common winter weeds. Lower the level of the mower blade and use a bag attachment to catch any seeds from weeds. Fertilizing before the first freeze will help lawns by replacing nutrients lost from the soil during the hot summer months. Pre-emergent products applied in late winter or early spring also minimalize weeds.

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Indianapolis Home Show: Got a project? They’re here to help

The snow and frigid temperatures of early January have driven nearly everyone inside to hibernate.

Spring’s warmth, when people can start getting outside to work on gardens, landscaping and home improvements, seems impossibly far away.

But winter won’t last forever, and now’s the time to start planning the projects you want to get done in the home and yard this year. The Indianapolis Home Show is a one-stop place to figure it all out.

“People are crammed up in the wintertime, and you want to see what’s coming,” said Laura Groninger, manager of the Indianapolis Home Show. “You have home needs, you have landscaping needs. We have over 900 experts at the show to help take care of that.”

For 10 days, the Indianapolis Home Show will present guest speakers, businesses, special displays and other features to help solve whatever improvement-related problems people may have. The stars of television shows such as HGTV’s “Good Bones,” DIY Network’s “Man Caves” and HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” will share their insights into everything home and garden.

Greenwood-based budget specialist Cherie Lowe — known by her moniker “The Queen of Free” — will offer tips to not get buried by financial decisions.

Vendors can provide solutions on everything from lighting to decor to home design. People can see the hottest design trends put together in the “Centerpiece Home,” a fully constructed house built by Fischer Homes indoors, decorated and ready to live in.

“This is always our focal point, the star of the show. It’s what brings people out,” Groninger said. “It’s the middle of the winter, and people are wanting to get out and see a beautiful home.”

Throughout the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the show offers an opportunity to get inspiration, learn from the professionals and pretend that it’s not freezing cold outside. Here are some of the highlights to give you a place to start.

Centerpiece Home

When: Open every day of the show

Where on the fairgrounds: Exposition Hall

What: Picturing what a home feature might look like in your own house can be tricky. A lighting fixture, paint color or furniture design can look one way in a pamphlet or a vendor’s booth, but not until you see it installed does it give the full effect. But inside this year’s Centerpiece Home, a fully constructed and decorated house leaves little to the imagination.

Created by Fischer Homes, this year’s 4,400-square-foot house includes four bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, gourmet kitchen, a hearth room and nursery, among other features. The house is fully furnished and decorated by TOB Design Firm, with landscaping and even a swimming pool.

“People like to see things that they might want in their own house,” Groninger said. “They like to see the year’s new colors and trends in furniture, so we always bring that in.”

Cherie Lowe

When: 1 p.m. Jan. 21, 2 p.m. Jan. 28

Where: Outdoor Living Stage

What: Staring at more than $127,000 in debt could paralyze a person, seeming too large to even do anything about. But Lowe and her husband, Brian, refused to let their debt fester. They used a strategy of couponing, taking advantage of freebies and being entirely mindful of every penny spent in their households.

After four years, they had paid off all their debt. Lowe has used her experience to inspire others. She blogs about personal finance at, is a contributor to the Daily Journal among other media sites, and has written a book, “Slaying the Debt Dragon.”

Even though tackling debt can be a scary endeavor, her hope is to share with others that even small steps can yield positive results in getting debt free. She’ll share some of those tips during two appearances at the home show.

Feature Gardens

When: Open every day of the show

Where on the fairgrounds: West Pavilion

What: When the ground is covered in a layer of snow, it can be difficult to envision what your garden, patio and backyard areas could look like this spring. To help cultivate ideas and allow inspiration to bloom, show organizers have recruited local landscapers to create beautiful outdoor spaces indoors.

Flowers and greenery will accent outdoor kitchens, fire features, specialty pavers and other unique features. With some planning and guidance from 13 companies, people can start planning their own projects to start when winter starts to thaw out.

Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak

When: 3 p.m. Jan. 20

Where: Outdoor Living Stage

What: The mother-daughter duo of Laine and Starsiak started rehabbing old homes in their Fountain Square neighborhood in 2007, at a time when the area was riddled with homes in disrepair and underutilized buildings. One refurbished home turned into two, and then more, as they worked throughout the neighborhood, maintaining its historic nature while infusing it with energy.

Fountain Square is now one of the most vibrant areas in Indianapolis, and Laine and Starsiak — under the moniker Two Chicks and a Hammer — are sharing their story nationally. They are the stars of “Good Bones,” showing how they buy homes in disrepair and transform them.

They will be sharing some of their remodeling tips and tricks at this year’s show.

Clint Harp

When: 3 p.m. Jan. 26, 1 p.m. Jan. 27

Where: Outdoor Living Stage

What: Harp has gained notoriety on the popular show “Fixer Upper” as a dumpster-diving carpenter always on the lookout for reclaimed wood to make unique furniture and accents. His experience has earned him his own show, “Wood Work” slated to air on the DIY Network. Learn how see the beauty in old wood when he shares some of his creations, as well as how he puts them together.

Jason Cameron

When: 2 p.m. Jan. 24 and 25

Where: Outdoor Living Stage

What: Cameron has made a career out of helping people remedy the aspects of their homes that they hate. On DIY Network shows such as “Desperate Landscapes,” “Man Caves” and “Sledgehammer,” the Ohio native works with people throughout the country who are sick of a certain aspect of their property, and helps them work through creative ways to make them better. From backyard makeovers to trashing then rebuilding entire rooms, Cameron can share some of the tips that have worked for him during his two-day appearance at the home show.

Tiny Home Village

When: Open every day of the show

Where on the fairgrounds: West Pavilion

What: The idea of leaving behind over-cluttered life and simplifying down to a tiny house has captured the imagination of people throughout the U.S. TV shows have been dedicated to the idea, and companies throughout Indiana and the Midwest have sprouted to create luxurious yet efficient homes for people.

To satisfy people’s curiosity, show organizers have put together a new feature this year: a literal village of these miniature homes. Five different vendors have offered examples of these structures, and each will be arranged in a special section of the show.

“We have little street signs and five tiny homes that will be fully landscaped,” Groninger said. “They’ll look ready to move into, if you wanted to.”

Indianapolis Home Show

When: Friday to Jan. 28

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 to 26; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 20, 21, 27, 28

Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis

Cost: $12 for adults (online purchase), $14 for adults (at the door), $3 kids 6 to 12, free for kids 5 and under


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Crop-rotation plan can make a good garden even better – Tribune

Updated 12 hours ago

Vegetable gardeners may have already heard of crop rotation and how important it is to the health and productivity of your garden. But when your garden is small, does crop rotation really help? Can it make a difference? The answer, of course, is yes.

When it comes to crop rotation, even little adjustments can make for big changes. Plants rely on their immediate environment to access the nutrients they require, the water they thirst for and the sun they rely on.

But, they’re also at the mercy of their environment. If there are pests or diseases where they live, they’re more vulnerable. It’s the gardener’s job to create a growing environment that provides everything plants need and to do it in a way that deters pests and pathogens.

How we care for our gardens and nurture our plants obviously influences their health and productivity, but of equal importance is introducing change in the form of crop rotation.

Even if you garden in what seems like a nutshell, crop rotation is important.

A good crop rotation plan, tailored specifically to your gardening space, does pay off. Since all the veggies you grow have different needs and preferences, a good rotation plan allows you to give them what they need without depleting the soil or encouraging pest outbreaks.

Start developing a crop rotation plan by writing down all the crops you plan to grow and decide which of these production categories they “fit” into:

1. Fruit and flower producers: Plants that produce an edible fruit or flower tend to use a lot of phosphorus and potassium in their production. They also have many similar pest and disease issues. Veggies in this category include tomato, pepper, okra, eggplant, tomatillo, broccoli and cauliflower.

2. Vine crops: These vegetables use a lot of phosphorus to produce their fruits and quite a bit of nitrogen to grow lush and green vines. Many of the same pests tend to attack them too; from cucumber beetles and squash bugs to powdery mildew. Veggies in this group include cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon, squash, zucchini and pumpkins.

3. Root crops: All productive roots require a lot of phosphorus to grow in addition to a moderate amount of potassium to increase vigor and hardiness. Shared pests include root maggots and wire worms among others. Carrots, onions, garlic, radishes, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas and potatoes are included here.

4. Legumes: This is a unique group in that these plants help replenish soil nutrients rather than deplete them. Legumes are unique in their ability to take nitrogen from the air and convert (or “fix”) it into a form that is available for plant use. The many varieties of peas and beans in this category (including shell, snap and snow peas, lima, soy, pole, green, kidney wax, and other types of beans) work to add nitrogen to the soil for later use by other plants. These plants are considered soil replenishers rather than depleters.

5. Green crops: The edible parts of these plants are their leaves. Plants use nitrogen to make foliage, so these veggies use a lot of nitrogen in their growth and also share many similar pests. Plants in this group include cabbage, kale, lettuce, chard, collards, spinach and other greens.

Other commonly used crop rotation systems rely on specific botanical plant families (i.e. the mustard family, onion family, tomato family, etc.) but they can seem overly complicated for smaller areas and may be harder to keep track of, especially for novice gardeners.

Once all the plants on your list have found their category, do a simple line drawing of the garden and write down what plant grew where last season. The goal in any crop rotation system is to wait a minimum of three years to plant a member of the same production category in that area again. For crop rotation to be successful, you need to keep track of what is planted in each area of the garden, even if it’s just a few feet away from where it was the previous year. Perfection is not required, but moving things around as much as you can is always beneficial.

A good three-year crop rotation plan makes it more difficult for over-wintering pests to find their host plants when they emerge in the spring, and it suppresses soil-borne diseases, such as blights and wilts.

This type of crop rotation will benefit even the smallest garden. Clearly, the rotation movement in a 40-by-50-feet garden will be bigger than in a postage stamp-sized plot, but it is helpful nevertheless. The lesson is that you don’t have to move your zucchini a half-acre away, just move them as far as you can.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio with Doug Oster. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden,” “Good Bug, Bad Bug,” and her newest title, “Container Gardening Complete.” Her website is Send your gardening or landscaping questions to or The Good Earth, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601.

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Local firms dominate Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association awards

Central Ohio companies took home the lion’s share of the Ohio Nursery Landscape Association’s annual awards announced today.

Columbus-area firms received 14 of the 19 awards.

Hidden Creek Landscaping of Hilliard took home three awards, including the Grand Award for a residential landscaping project over $50,000.

Rine Landscape Group of Hilliard was also recognized with three awards, in the categories of residential landscape under $15,000, residential landscape over $50,000 and use of color, container or perennial gardens. 

Peabody Landscape Group of Columbus and the John H. O’Neill company of Columbus each won two awards.

Taking home one award each were Buck Sons Landscape Service of Hilliard, Hedge Landscape of Columbus, M.J. Design Associates of Dublin and Oakland Nursery of Columbus.

The companies were recognized during the association’s annual conference, the Midwest Green Industry Experience, in Columbus.


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