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Archives for January 23, 2018

Garden Design Competition to Celebrate Horse Charity’s 50th Anniversary Year

Do you fancy trying your hand at designing a stunning garden? Then why not enter the Bransby Horses 50th Anniversary Garden Design Competition?

Supported by Adam Frost of BBC Gardeners’ World, the competition is open to all amateur gardeners aged 18 years and over and the winning design will be created at the charity’s 600 acre site in Lincolnshire.

This is your chance to design a 12m x 12m garden to help celebrate 50 years of the charity’s dedicated equine rescue and welfare work; the winning garden will be officially opened by Adam Frost on Wednesday June 27, 2018.

To enter the competition, download an application pack from the 50th Anniversary page at www.bransbyhorses.co.uk.

There is a suggested donation of £10 per entry which goes directly to the 430 horses, donkeys and mules in the charity’s care.

The closing date for entries is Monday April 2, 2018.

The creation of a 50th Anniversary Garden is one of many planned events by the charity to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.

More information is available on the charity’s website.

Article source: https://www.marketrasenmail.co.uk/news/environment/garden-design-competition-to-celebrate-horse-charity-s-50th-anniversary-year-1-8344725

SGD Spring Conference explores the art of doing less in garden design


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Article source: https://www.hortweek.com/sgd-spring-conference-explores-art-doing-less-garden-design/landscape/article/1455195

Hotels design functioning gardens to cater to new trends

As guests demand fresher food that has been sourced locally (not to mention organically), hotels across the country are creating gardens and small farms to grow herbs and vegetables, and to even keep bees for honey. Best of all, even urban hotels are putting their rooftops to use and growing some basics for the kitchens below.

Creating these gardens and farms and making them—literally—fruitful can be more challenging than simply planting some seeds, as chefs and food-and-beverage teams often learn through experience.

Water, water everywhere…

At the Westin New York Grand Central, chef Brian Wieler created a garden for vegetables and herbs on the high-rise’s rooftop, but didn’t think about irrigating the soil. “The first year, it was me with a garden hose,” he said. “I’d have to spend about an hour-and-a-half up there every day to water the garden.” After that first year, the hotel installed an irrigation system with timers to make sure all of the plants get the right amount of water at the right time of day.

When executive chef Daven Wardynski created a garden with 15 raised beds on the fifth floor sundeck at the Omni Chicago Hotel, he also didn’t have an irrigation system during the project’s first year. “The tomatoes didn’t perform very well because of that,” he said. When he transferred to the Omni Amelia Island resort in Florida, he had an opportunity to create a full farm as part of the resort’s Sprouting Project—and remembered to create an irrigation system first. He decided to create two aquaponic lines rather than a hydroponic line because aquaponic systems include live fish that supply natural nutrients to the plants.

At Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., executive chef Bernard Ibarra thought that he would have sufficient irrigation when he started building the resort’s Catalina View Gardens, but didn’t realize how quickly it could get out of control. During the garden’s first season, Ibarra would open the pipeline from a water tank up the hill to irrigate the soil for an hour—but would then get tied up in the kitchen and not be able to close the pipeline for six hours or so. “The place looked like a lake,” he said. “A better irrigation system was put in place and now we still open it manually, but because of the numerous pipes and the hose alongside the the growing rows, it’s a lot easier to control.”  

Evolving a Garden

When Wieler began planning the rooftop garden at the Westin, he tapped one of the hotel’s in-house carpenters from the engineering department to build the vegetable beds from white cedar wood. “It’s resistant to rot and several species of insects and things that can burrow in the wood and help to destroy them more quickly,” he explained. “I didn’t want to put in any pressure-treated wood or the treated wood that people use outside. It’s got arsenic and other chemicals and you really don’t want to associate it with food. The pressure-treated wood that they sell in the lumberyards, wood that’s got some sort of a green hue or tinge to it, that is actually soaked in chemicals to prevent pests and rot and things like that. So it’s not something that you really want to utilize for your garden.”  

Masons then put the beds up on risers made of paving bricks to help protect the integrity of the roof base, which itself is lined with small rocks (a “rock ballast roof”) to help with drainage and to handle the weight of the vegetable beds.

When Ibarra wanted to create the Catalina View Gardens at Terranea, he consulted owner Jim York to learn about designing an effective space. To prevent gophers from attacking the vegetables, Ibarra and his team installed chicken wire 1 foot under the ground and also as fencing surrounding the gardens. “For the most part, for the past four years, it’s been gopher-free,” he said.

The Omni Amelia Island, meanwhile, had an old greenhouse that Wardynski was able to repurpose for the Sprouting Project. “We had to replace the tarp and lay cement on the inside so it wasn’t an earth floor,” he said. “There was not necessarily any engineer that was brought in to design the space; it was me with a post hole digger putting in an enclosure for our chickens or a post that we could level off so we can set beehives off the ground. It’s just a continual process of evolving.”

Wardynski—who grew up on a farm in Michigan—also faced challenges in creating his Florida garden. “In Michigan, we grow lettuces in spring and summer,” he said. “When you try to grow lettuces here in the summer, it’s an epic fail because it’s too hot. Everything wants to go to seed and then die.”  

Make a Garden Grow

Much like designing a lobby or restaurant, the hotel teams have been able to see what works and what doesn’t as they develop their gardens and farms, and adjust them as needed. “The sun and the wind have a big say in the way the vegetables grow,” Ibarra said. “It’s an ongoing lesson because the weather changes at times and the sun doesn’t always shine at the same times.”

Since the rooftop garden opened at the Westin, it has grown from four vegetable beds and four whiskey barrels (for herbs) to 12 beds and nine barrels. And over the years, Wieler learned how to take advantage of the rooftop locations, using shade from the surrounding buildings to protect more sensitive plants (like lettuce) that can be scorched in the summer heat. He also learned what crops are suitable for a rooftop and which are not: While zucchini and squash may be popular in the kitchens, the huge leaves make them impractical for a limited footprint. The Sprouting Project at the Omni Amelia Island also developed an apiary that started with two colonies of bees and eventually grew into 16 colonies, as well as a “barrel room” with 36 20-liter barrels that are filled with everything from cocktails to hot sauces made on-site to vinegar made from leftover wine.

And Wardynski isn’t done designing his farm. “This year, my hope is to move one of the fence rows back and lay in an area that can actually have beans and vine items,” he said, noting that squashes, corn and beans can “flourish” off each other as they grow.

Article source: https://www.hotelmanagement.net/design/catering-to-new-demands-hotels-design-functioning-gardens

Beyond Recommendations: 3 Tips on Finding a Good Contractor from EP Henry

Recommendations are still the gold standard in construction, but getting them can be challenging. Approaching strangers isn’t easy and online reviews aren’t always trustworthy. Thankfully, good contractors usually stand out from the crowd, and often are recommended by the product manufacturer.

WOODBURY, N.J. (PRWEB) January 23, 2018

Energetic and playful kids Aiden, 9, and Caitlin, 8, from Monmouth County, NJ, were ready to do tricks when their parents installed a new pool in the backyard. “I do a front flip [into the pool],” said Aiden. “I pushed him in once,” said Caitlin.

Over a year ago, Caitlin’s and Aiden’s parents wanted their uniquely-shaped lot transformed into a year-round oasis. Many homeowners quickly discover that finding a good contractor can take time. The common refrain is to get recommendations.

Recommendations are still the gold standard in construction, but getting them can be challenging. Approaching strangers isn’t easy and online reviews aren’t always trustworthy. Thankfully, good contractors usually stand out from the crowd, and often are recommended by the product manufacturer.

Here are 3 things a good contractor does:

Communicates with and listens to the customer

Errol Ramirez of Errol’s Landscaping collaborated with Aiden and Caitlin’s parents to design the backyard of their dreams. “They had a lot of their own ideas, I had a lot of my own ideas, and we put it all together,” he said.

Years of experience will lend a contractor expertise in design and installation. But while contractors may be experts on installations, homeowners are the experts of their own lives. A good contractor will ask the homeowner many questions about the space. A combination of ideas from homeowners and contractors will result in an outdoor living space that is a great fit.

Offers a long-term plan that can be phased if needed

Ideally, the outside areas will be considered before the footing is poured for the house, but this is often not the case. More likely, the family renovating the home is not its original owner. Either way, every project should be a part of a holistic plan for the home and landscape. Even if building a dream spa or a wedding gazebo is not on the near horizon, a good contractor will design a landscape that includes the homeowner’s long-term goals. Good contractors know it is the most economical and efficient option to design one comprehensive plan first and build it out as budgets allow.

Uses quality products

Major renovations affect all aspects of the home and landscape, which in turn affect the property’s value. The top contractors use the top manufactured products and don’t compromise. Nothing is worse than a 2-year-old pool deck showing signs of deterioration because of poorly-manufactured supplies. Mr. Ramirez uses EP Henry products. “EP Henry stands by their product. … They’re a stand-up company,” he said. Using the best products helps ensure a solid, long-lasting structure. Contractors who provide warranties on their work will use only the most reliable products.

Aiden and Caitlin’s dad agrees. “I have friends who went with the cheapest bid or product but you get what you pay for,” he said. Building something to last means finding a contractor who uses high-quality materials, plans ahead and listens to the customer.

About EPHenry®

EP Henry®, the oldest American family-owned and operated manufacturer of unit concrete products in North America, provides the highest quality and broadest product offerings in Hardscaping(™). Based in Woodbury, New Jersey, EP Henry manufactures a wide range of paving stone and retaining wall products, including permeable pavers which are a best management practice (BMP) for stormwater management. EP Henry also offers beautiful patio pavers, outdoor kitchen kits, garden wall solutions and more. For more information on EP Henry Hardscaping products, visit EPHenry.com or call 800-44-HENRY (800-444-3679).

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15106168.htm

Article source: https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/18/01/p11063733/beyond-recommendations-3-tips-on-finding-a-good-contractor-from-ep-hen

Indianapolis Home Show continues this week

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Article source: https://www.wthr.com/article/indianapolis-home-show-continues-this-week

Guest-worker crisis worries landscaping industry – SFGate


  • Landscaping companies nationwide, such as this one in Denver, rely on temporary migrant workers. But after Congress failed to renew a provision of immigration law, the number of H-2B visas was cut significantly, creating a labor shortage in the industry. ( Photo: Nick Cote/For The Washington Post) / The Washington Post

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For three days each January, landscapers stroll the aisles of the Baltimore Convention Center, kicking the tires of ride-on mowers, ordering trees for the spring planting season, and generally looking for suppliers who can help them trim costs and increase business in the season ahead.

This year, they were drawn to a new exhibitor at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show. A lawyer named Kara Youngblood spent the hours fielding questions from a raft of green-industry employers grappling with a crisis at least as worrying as the economic downturn a decade ago.

“The landscape companies I have met here are livid,” she said. The object of their anger? Uncle Sam.


In 2016, Congress failed to renew a provision of immigration law. The result was a significant reduction in the number of foreign temporary workers who are granted H-2B visas. Previously, workers who had earlier received a visa, which allows them to work up to 10 months per year in the United States, could return to their employers without coming under the annual limit. Youngblood said the action — or inaction – effectively lowered the number of H-2B workers from about 350,000 to the annual cap of 66,000. It is from this smaller pool that landscapers must compete with all other industry sectors for foreign workers. Half of them are admitted from October to March, further shrinking the availability of workers when landscapers need them.

“What’s happening now, you’re that landscape guy bringing over a foreman for 10 years and you weren’t worried about him getting that visa — now that just didn’t happen,” she said. “It’s a gamble.”

Foreign workers employed by nurseries and production greenhouses are considered agricultural employees and are admitted under the related H-2A visa program. There is no cap on those visas, but nursery growers say labor shortages among landscape contractors will harm growth across the industry.

Under both programs, employers must show they first tried to recruit American workers. The common refrain from the landscape industry is that the demand for labor outstrips the supply — people generally don’t want to work in physically demanding jobs outside in the elements.

“It’s cheaper to hire somebody down the street” than a foreigner, Youngblood said. “If that were an option, they would.” She is based in McMinnville, in central Tennessee, a major region for ornamental-plant production in the United States.

The lower numbers, of course, do not convey the human stories, the bonds between family-owned businesses and their returning workers, most of whom come from Mexico and Central America.

President Donald Trump has made immigrants a target from his populist platform, although Youngblood said the Obama administration “very quietly” waged a concerted campaign of deportation of undocumented immigrants. The current risk of mass deportations of immigrants under temporary protected status and DACA programs is likely to compound the problems facing landscapers, said Youngblood, whose firm has opened an office in a Washington suburb for lobbying purposes.

At the trade show last week, Youngblood’s booth was sandwiched between a woody-plant grower and a manufacturer of plastic seed trays. Surveying the showgoers, she said, “I’m pretty sure most here aren’t going to get [enough] workers and don’t know what they are going to do.”

She may have been speaking of Andreas Grothe, who runs New World Gardens, a small landscape company in Parkton, Maryland, that builds and maintains gardens. He said he paid an agency $9,000 to process three H-2B workers who were supposed to start March 1 but they didn’t get their visas, and he must now pay an additional $1,200 to see whether he can get them for April 1.

“These are people who worked for me in the past,” he said. Due to similar problems last year, his business dropped by a third. “I had to call customers and apologize that I couldn’t do that job anymore because I couldn’t put people on the job.”

The rub is that many landscapers report booming business as the economy has rebounded and their customers are cashing in on gains in the stock market. “I have plenty of jobs and business is wonderful,” Grothe said. “But the reality is that I have right now two employees, and I should have eight.”

Lancaster Farms in Suffolk, Virginia, is a large-scale grower of container-grown trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals at three locations. In peak growing seasons, Art Parkerson employs 120 people, a third of them H-2A workers.

“We can find [American] field workers, but they don’t want to stay field workers,” desiring instead to move into sales or other more comfortable jobs in the company, he said.

About 70 percent of his stock goes to landscape contractors, the rest to independent retailers. “A lot of our customers would grow their business significantly if they had access to labor,” he said.

Directly across the trade-show aisle from Youngblood, Daniel McMahon had every expectation of a banner year. He works for a division of Ball Seed Co. that provides transplanting equipment for greenhouse growers. Standing by an automated soil-potting machine, he removed a half-inch-square plug containing a pansy seedling — one of 400 in the flat — and placed it in a retail-size tray. This single step, in which growers take purchased seedlings to grow on to consumer size, is the most profitable in the nursery trade, he said.

He handed me a couple of brochures for transplanting machines. One is manually operated, costs $5,000, and allows three people to do the work of 15. The second flier was for the TTA PackPlanter, a robotic transplanter that costs $150,000 and does the work of 25 to 30 people, he said. “All the equipment companies are having the best year,” he said.

Gardening tip:

Broadleaf evergreens will benefit from a watering, as weather permits, because of continued dry conditions. A combination of winter winds and dehydration can cause serious leaf damage and dieback on such plants as hollies, camellias, cherry laurels and photinias. If the garden hose is stored for the winter, reach for the watering can.

Article source: http://www.sfgate.com/lifestyle/article/Guest-worker-crisis-worries-landscaping-industry-12505169.php

Here’s what’s coming up in Unit 7 Extension – Quad

Horticulture Programs

Mid-Winter Horticulture Workshop, Saturday, January 27, 8:30 am – Noon

Geneseo Community Center. Topics include Nature Photoraphy, Pollinator Pocket gardens and Funky Frogs and their role in our environment. Registration is $12 advance/$15 at the door, includes rolls and coffee. Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17706

Nursery School: Lessons in Gardening, Saturday, February 17, 8 am – 4 pm, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL. Learn from horticulture experts as you choose

4 sessions from 16 different workshops. Topics include: Raised beds, Fruit-bearing plants, Climate adaptations, Pollinators, Landscaping, Ikebana, Whole Grains, Shade Gardening, Roses, Botanical names, more! Keynote Luncheon speaker is Edward Lyon, Director of the Reiman Gardens.

Early bird fee is $45 by Jan 31 (then $55 thru Feb 11). Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17746

Includes lunch buffet, keynote and 4 sessions, entry into door prize drawings and vendor area, tote bag with catalogues and coupons, handouts, free parking shuttle.

Pond Management Workshop, March 8, 10 am – Noon, Milan, IL

Learn about aquatic weeds, fish stocking, and pond ecology from Illinois Extension educators Duane Friend and David Shiley. $5 person. Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17648

Chicago Flower Garden Show Bus Trip, Wednesday, March 14, 7 am (East Moline) or 7:50 am (Annawan). Welcome spring at this annual Navy Pier event featuring 20 plus life-sized gardens, DIY workshops and a bustling marketplace. Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17722

Agriculture Programs

Small Farms Webinar Series, Thursdays, Jan 25 – April 5, 12 – 1 pm This series of weekly online presentations will give small farm producers a look at how leading practices in production, management, and marketing can improve profitability and sustainability. Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?registrationid=17593

Private PSEP Test only, Jan 23, 10 am – noon or 1 – 3 pm, Rock Island County Extension, Milan, IL Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=10772

Private PSEP Test only Feb 20, 10 am – noon or 1 – 3 pm, Woodhull Community Center, Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17374

Bi-State Crop Advantage Seminar, Friday, Jan 26, Rhythm City Casino, Davenport, IA Join agriculture educators from Iowa State and Illinois Extension for the latest information on crops. Register http://www.aep.iastate.edu/cas/davenport.html

Illinois Crop Management Conferences January 24, Mt. Vernon; January 31, Springfield; February 7, Champaign; February 21, Malta. Join University experts for this year’s Crop Management Conference. Check out agendas and register at this website: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/csrec/2013conference/

Certified Livestock Manager Training Get the manure management training you need to meet the requirements of the state’s Livestock Management Facilities Act. Workshops begin at 8:30 am and take 3 1/2 hours with the IDOA exam administered afterward. Cost is $35. 2018 Dates Locations include: February 7 and March 4 in Springfield; Feb 20 in Bloomington; Feb 21 in Galesburg. Register http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lfmm/clmt/

Sheep and Goat Clinic, Saturday, March 10, Milan, IL. Learn how to identify a healthy animal when looking to purchase to why sheep and goats are good for co-grazing to help clean up weed and brush in pastures and more from Teresa Stackler, Extension Commercial Ag Educator. $5 adults, free for youth Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17940

Private Pesticide Training Certification Testing March 21, Tax Slayer Center, Moline, IL 7:30 am – 3 pm Training will be 8 am – 11:30 am. Testing will be from 11:45 – 2:30 pm. Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/psep/training/private/info.php

Commercial Pesticide Safety Education Training Certification Clinic March 22 – 23, Tax Slayer Center, Moline, IL . 7:30 am – 5 pm. on General Standards, Turf, Ornamentals, Right-of-Way. Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/psep/training/commercial/clinics.php

4-H Programs

4-H Sewing Club, Sundays, 2 – 4 pm, January 21 – March 4, Toulon Library. Learn the basics of sewing (sewing on a button, hand-stitching, cutting out a pattern), how to use a sewing machine, and how to sew on a zipper. Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17647

4-H Teen Teachers Clubs for ages 13 – 18

Monday Jan 22, 6 – 7:30 pm, Rock Island County Extension, Milan, IL

Thursday, Jan 25, 3:30 – 5 pm, Glenview Middle School, East Moline, IL

Learn leadership skills, take field trips, learn about careers and college prep and more! Register https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17924

Community and Economic Development Programs

6 County Fast Pitch

Information session, Tue. Jan 23, Galva, IL 6 pm

Get details on the contest and what’s in store when you enter the “Shark Tank” inspired 6 County Fast Pitch Contest. It gives people who want to start or expand a business in Henderson, Henry, Knox, Mercer, Stark and Warren Counties the chance to compete for prizes including cash, marketing, professional advice, and certification classes. Register for the free information meeting https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17769

Applications to compete in the March 14 contest are due January 31. Apply online https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=17410

Article source: http://qconline.com/news/local/here-s-what-s-coming-up-in-unit-extension/article_7293139a-f722-57eb-9554-0e7ce5ea14d0.html

Talent launches citywide pollinator garden challenge

A pollinator garden challenge has been thrown out to Talent residents with a goal of creating more certified, pesticide-free plots by late June.

A certified garden under development by groups in front of City Hall was the genesis of the challenge.

“The challenge is to become a certified pollinator garden by June 23,” said City Councilor Stephanie Dolan. That’s the date that National Pollinator Week begins.

The Talent Garden Club, Talent Bee City USA, the city’s Together for Talent Committee and city government officials are behind the effort. Talent became the second Bee City USA in the nation in 2014. There are nine certified gardens in town already.

More than 35 people have joined the Talent Pollinator Garden Challenge Facebook group. Dolan says she is also hearing from people who want to develop the gardens, and that a more formal signup process may occur.

Gerlinde Smith of the Talent Garden Club is leading the effort to repurpose the garden area in front of City Hall. She’s already planted Lavender Provence in the space after city workers removed a number of plantings but left those that are beneficial to pollinators. About 35 to 40 new plant species will be added in the space.

Talent’s Urban Renewal Agency will cover costs, said Dolan. The agency built City Hall in the last decade and turned it over to the city. TURA budgeted $10,000 for installation of a pollinator garden at the roundabout it constructed in 2015, but only $2,600 of that amount was spent by Bradley Wilson on the project. Remaining funds will be used for the City Hall garden, but Dolan and Smith anticipate that cost will be even less than for the roundabout garden because of donations of plants and volunteer labor. Public Works will need to convert the spray irrigation system to a drip method.

The challenge idea came to Dolan when she was in a Together for Talent meeting where the City Hall garden was discussed. She was wondering how the community could become involved.

“I thought, ‘What is the opportunity for the community to learn? We could do a challenge,’ ” said Dolan. Videos of work on the city garden and tips on creation of the spaces will be posted on the Facebook site. Dolan hopes school classes will visit to site.

Garden club and Bee City representatives will review submissions for certification, which is based on recommendations by the national Bee City USA organization. Club members will offer advice for those seeking certification.

Criteria for certified pollinator gardens are available on a worksheet at the Facebook site, including no pesticide or herbicide use within the garden perimeter, blooming plants from early spring to late fall, and a water source with pebbles that pollinators can land on while they drink.

The garden must also meet one of several other criteria, including support of a diverse range of native pollinators, at least three native plants, additional pollinator habitat, sourcing of neonicotinoid-free seeds and plants, visibility from the street or inclusion on a tour map.

Plants and seeds free from neonicotinoids are important because those substances persist and can disorient pollinators, Smith said.

Certification can be achieved with a couple months of work, said Smith. But she added that garden club members wouldn’t abandon those who haven’t completed certification when the challenge ends.

Pollinator-friendly features will be incorporated into the city garden. A bug house that will be inviting to beneficial insects will be constructed.

“It’s our ‘Bugingham Palace,’” said Smith.

There will be nesting structures for a variety of bees that have specific needs, such as the mason bee, which closes its incubation nest with dirt, or the leaf cutter bee, which trims leaves for its sanctuaries.

“We really need to nurture our native bees. Seventy percent are ground-dwelling. Thirty percent need a hollow,” said Smith.

— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Article source: http://www.dailytidings.com/news/20180122/talent-launches-citywide-pollinator-garden-challenge

Cars We Remember: Classic car and truck restoration tips

We’ll use this week’s column to answer many similar questions I receive about car and truck restorations, and whether a vehicle is worthy to proceed with major repairs and/or a restoration. And if the vehicle is worthy, what is the next step?

First, let’s visit a recent letter where a reader is thinking of restoring a 2000 Dodge Dakota pickup that has a rusty side. It’s an SLT Quad-Cab with two-wheel drive and asks if it’s worth fixing.

Quickly I would say to be very prudent (nice way of saying don’t do it) about restoring or even undertaking a major repair on this old truck. The money needed to really fix the rust will most likely run more than the vehicle is worth. Once rust has inhabited the side of a vehicle, you can pretty much know that there’s lots of rust elsewhere and in spots you can’t see. Being that a 2000 Dodge Dakota pickup is not a ’57 T-Bird or a ‘68 Plymouth Roadrunner with side rust, I’d sure move on and just do some quick patch work at best and enjoy the vehicle for what it is.

Letters like these are many, but sometimes I’ll receive one from an enthusiast or group that wants to do a restoration on a vehicle that is worthy. A recent letter from a person at Vineyard of Faith Lutheran Church in Windsor, California, asked if its youth group should restore a 1956 Mercury that was given to them. This car looked great from the photos sent, and after several emails back and forth with more photos, I was informed rust was not a factor. Thus, I quickly gave a personal “go ahead” nod to this group on a restoration.

However, even in the case of this neat ’56 Mercury two-door, there is no real way to look at a prospective restoration project and tell how much work needs to be done. How a vehicle ages depends on a variety of factors from where it was stored, regional climate to proper and regular maintenance, the latter vitally important. You will never really know until you start dismantling a vehicle to find out its real condition. Sometimes you’ll be surprised, other times highly disappointed. I would think the ’56 Mercury group will be pleased, however, and wish them well.

Another question I receive frequently concerns quality restorations, how much it will cost and where to go for this type of work.

As for the cost, a good restoration shop should be able to give an enthusiast a “ballpark” estimate based on their past experiences with a certain model of car. This is, however, still an educated guess as there are usually a whole host of problems that might be lurking under the paint. You probably won’t be able to get an accurate price quote until the vehicle is ready for paint and all the body work has been completed.

The outcome of a restoration is totally dependent upon the skills of the shop, too. While it can be a daunting process, once you have knowledge of the process, it will make choosing the right shop an easier procedure. Remember that a restoration shop is different from a body shop or repair center, and centers on classic and muscle car restorations. The best advice I can give is check prior customers who can rate the shop and its services. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for names of customers who have had their work done at a certain shop and check the internet for reviews. As for the restoration itself, you don’t have to do a whole vehicle restoration all at once. You can choose to do just one aspect of the process, like a mechanical restoration and then move on to other aspects as you acquire additional funding. You can also, work with your shop to determine what your budget can afford and how you can maximize your dollars best.

Finally, if you buy a completely restored vehicle from someone you don’t know (happens all the time these days), make sure you have a professional check it out before you buy.

— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media publications.

Article source: http://www.gctelegram.com/business/20180122/cars-we-remember--classic-car-and-truck-restoration-tips