It is time to plan for spring

If you love tulips now is the time to pick up some tulip bulbs. The flowers like sunlight and they bloom in the spring but are planted in the fall. The good news is that if you plant them this fall they will bloom every spring with minimal care.

Experts say to wait until the soil temperature is 60 or lower and before the first frost. We don’t really know when the first frost will be, but generally in St. Paul the best time to plant bulbs will be around the 20th of September but before October 15th.

Tulip bulbs are easy to plant and they look amazing when they bloom. All you need to do is dig a hole about six inches deep, put a bulb in it and bury the bulb.

Tulips

They are also fun to photograph.

Basics for the garden

Herb garden
Herbs

I just got these plants at the farmer’s market last weekend and will plant them soon. These are some basics that come in handy for cooking. They are all super easy to grow. I plant them in a little patch of dirt by my back door.

Fron Left to right: Basil, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, and Lavender. We don’t eat the lavender but I like the way it looks and smells. I also grow a variety of peppers, some cucumbers, and tomatoes and There is rhubarb in the backyard and it gets used for pies and cake.

I freeze parsley at the end of the season and if I have enough basil I make pesto before the first freeze. The rosemary gets dried and used in the winter and so does the lavender. I used to grow dill but it tends to spread all over the place. Mint is also an invasive species. I have chamomile that reseeds itself.

Herbs can be grown in pots but I have plenty of space in the garden. Basil is an easy plant to grow from seeds which is a nice way to grow a larger crop.

If you are new to gardening or a new homeowner or both try these easy to grow garden herbs. I am always amazed at how much food I can grow on my postage stamp sized city lot.

About partial cans of paint

paint
Paint

Sometimes home sellers will leave partial cans of paint behind when they move out so that the buyers have paint for touch-ups. Old paint isn’t really that great and if it isn’t used it has to be disposed of.

It is super easy to match up paint colors when small amounts are needed for touch up. Usually, you can use a scrapper and find some loose paint or peel some off with a razor blade. It isn’t hard to find tutorials on the internet. Take it to a home improvement store or where ever you buy paint and they will make the color for you.

When I paint I write on top of the can the date I bought the paint and what I used it for. I don’t keep leftover paint more than five years and that is probably too long. Check with your county for information on how to dispose of old paint.

If you are buying a home and the seller offers you partial cans of paint it might just be easier to say no thanks.  If the sellers offer to leave a ladder behind say “yes please”.

Builder beige now Builder gray

There has been a color shift in recent years. In the past when REALTORs and others recommended painting a home to get it ready to sell the preferred neutrals were shades of beige. It was called builder beige and REALTOR beige. Before that white was the preferred neutral.

In fact, one of the best ways to see the latest trends in home design and color is to tour some new construction . . . if you can find it.

For the last several years the most popular neutrals have been shades of gray. I’ll admit that at first, I did not like it. Maybe it is an acquired taste and I have acquired it.

Just like colors from the beige family or the white family, there are many other colors that work with gray. There are so many shades of gray that choosing one is almost overwhelming.

Here are a couple of homes with gray siding, white trim, and yellow on the front door. Primary colors work well as accents.

gray siding yellow doors
Yellow doors on dark gray siding and light gray siding.

consider the roof rake

The first snow of the season is behind us and so is the second. The first snow kicks off the ice dam season. One of the best ways to prevent ice dams on roofs is to remove the snow before it has a chance to melt and freeze and turn into ice.

Yes, you can shovel your roof with a roof rake. They can be purchased at most building materials stores and they are not very expensive especially as compared to repairing water damage caused by water pooling on the roof because of the ice dams.

Now is a good time to buy a roof rake. They will sell out quickly if we get a big snow and they are considered seasonal which means they will be replaced by flower pots and seeds in late January or early February.

To learn about snow and ice dams go to the University of Minnesota Extension website and read up. Knowledge is power!

Related article Damn Ice Dams

 

Ice rake
roof rake

Almost too late to plant bulbs

Tulips

It is almost too late to plant bulbs, but not quite. Many years ago I bought some tulip bulbs, crocus bulbs and daffodils bulbs and planted them along the South side of my house.

They bloom every year without fail. Bulbs are easy to plant. They just need a hole and I like to dump some bone meal in first.

Bulbs should be planted by mid October which is why they are inexpensive to buy right now.

Tulips are the most tolerant of being planted late. If you can’t get them in by the end of the week, wait until next fall. If you plan ahead you can save money by buying bulbs in October.