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March can be a busy time for the determined gardener
Weather in March is so unpredictable. It may say Spring on the calendar, but the weather rarely cooperates completely.
In Zones 8 and higher, the average dates of the last killing frost occur throughout March. Zone 7 gardeners must beware of frost throughout April.
Make the repairs to fences and arbors now so they will be ready when the weather settles down. Clean out bird houses, if you dare. Watch out for wintering mice.
March is the perfect time for starting summer blooming seedlings indoors. By now, seed packets are available everywhere. It usually takes about six weeks for seeds to become strong enough for plants to be set outside in pots or a garden.
Some vegetables can be planted right now in Zones 7-8, but start later in more northern climes. Vegetable seeds may be started in prepared starter pots made of compressed peat and filled with a proper soil mixture.
It's a good time to test the ph of your garden soil. You can add whatever you need as soon as the soil is dry; not wet and clumpy.
Some pruning this month
Roses, in particular, can be pruned and fed this month. Cut roses back sharply for more compact bushes and long, slender stems. Cut honeysuckle vines back to three feet. Prune the fruit trees before the buds appear.
Trees and shrubs
You can still fertilize trees and shrubs. Acid types go with azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens, and conifers.
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A home can be greatly compromised by the intrusion of water. This issue can have an effect on our health, comfort, as well as damage our home and the contents within. Quite often homeowners overlook several simple ways in which water can be managed to help keep it from finding its way into our homes.
Here are some simple ways to manage and control the water around your house:
1. Have a professional roofer inspect your roof covering yearly and perform any repairs that are necessary – this will help extend the life of your roof and reduce the chances of water getting past.
2. Keep the roof covering and gutters free of debris and trim back any branches that are touching the shingles – debris will slow down and possibly dam the water allowing it to work up under the roof covering, abrasion from branches and such will wear the shingles and shorten the life expectancy.
3. Downspouts that drain water from higher roofs onto lower onesneed to be extended all the way to the gutter on the lower roof – water that is dumped onto a lower roof will wear and shorten the life span of the shingles in the area that the large amounts of water run over.
4. The vast amount of water that is collected by the gutter and downspouts need to exit approximately 6 feet away from the building – this helps ensure the water absorbs into the ground away from your foundation, but only if number 5 is followed.
5. Maintain a positive grade away from your foundation to prevent water from pooling and running back to your house – water can more easily enter a basement when there are large amounts of it absorbing into the ground beside the basement walls.
6. Inspect and repair any cracked, loose or missing caulking around windows, doors, flashing and penetrations in the exterior wall – this will help prevent the water from getting in through these gaps and holes.
When these easy inexpensive tactics are put to use and maintained on an ongoing basis, many of your water woes can be greatly reduced.