Home & Garden

Home & Garden

Grow with the Flow – Move Gardening Season Indoors

You can’t bottle sunshine, but with special care you can bring its vigor into your house during the long dormant season. Check the calendar — fall is here, but that doesn’t mean your gardening time has to end.

Overwintering perennial herbs — such as rosemary and thyme — are a multifunctional and fun way to tap warm weather vitality by boosting your spirit and pleasing the palate.

But, it’s not as easy bringing pots inside. The indoor herb garden requires extra effort in Northeast Ohio, according to Karen Kennedy, education coordinator for The Herb Society of America, based in Kirtland. Extra effort means providing supplemental light and attentive watering.


“Most herbs require six to eight hours of sunlight per day,” says Briscoe White, co-founder and head grower at The Growers Exchange, an all-natural, online garden center in Virginia that specializes in rare and traditional herb plants for culinary, aromatic and medicinal use. “We recommend an unobstructed, southwest or east-facing window.”

That advice is more likely to succeed in areas further south. In Northeast Ohio, growing zones 6 and 7, winter sunshine can be elusive. In fact, if sun powers the plant’s energy production, imagine reducing that power 78 percent, from nine hours per day in July to roughly two hours per day in January. Not only do days get shorter in Northeast Ohio, actual sun strength dwindles. Less sunlight means reduced photosynthesis, and sun-loving herb plants starve.

So, what might look like success in October and November, could fail in January and February. That’s fine, if you have Kennedy’s expectations. “My goal is to keep it alive through the holidays, when I use it most,” she says of rosemary.

Post-holiday success is when modern light sources become important. That’s because traditional incandescent lighting is too hot and lacks the blue rays that plants need to move electrons and produce their own food.

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Fast Fixes under $500 – Do-It-Yourself Projects Perk Up Outdoor Living Spaces

Keeping the outside of your home in good shape adds curb appeal and value while saving money on more expensive exterior fixes later.

Dozens of small, inexpensive do-it- yourself projects can revitalize outdoor areas.

Try these:

Refresh house paint. A gallon of exterior paint costs $25-$34, depending on quality. For a cheaper option, tackle this project yourself to touch up or to change the color on your trim, shutters or the front of your home.

“It’s one of the best improvements you can make in your home’s curb appeal,” says Duane Prokop, a Mentor contractor.

Change or paint your front door. If your front door is looking a little sad, replace it or repaint it. Choose a color that works with your home’s exterior.

Plant something. Noelle Akin, Petitti Garden Center’s director of communication and education, says creating flower boxes or beds are less time-consuming alternatives to painting.

Dirt, mulch, plants and a shovel are all you need for flowers beds. If you have a porch, patio, deck or courtyard, constructing or installing flower boxes will add a touch of color. Brighten curb appeal with container gardens, especially near the front door, Akin says.

“Container gardens are an easy DIY project,” she adds. “You can start with a recycled container, use inexpensive plastic containers or you could purchase something larger and more exotic, but (you) don’t have to.”

Akin suggests choosing flowers that “attract the eye, especially bright red and yellow flowers that pull the eye toward the entry way.” Pastel flowers can be used “to soften the approach” to the doorway.

Make your lawn greener and healthier You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on your lawn to make it attractive and healthy. Sometimes, all it takes is cutting grass the proper length and pulling weeds to help your lawn look good, Prokop says.

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Budget Friendly Ways To Enhance Your Living Space – Create an environment of well-being for comfort, safety and resale value

We are part of a generation that truly believes and often feels that 60 is the new 40 and 70 may be the new 50. The late author Napoleon Hill’s philosophy of “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe it can achieve” is a great mantra for a lot of people who are living and loving life to the fullest and experiencing the joy of being in their homes. It is only the times when our home environment is creating minor glitches that we start asking ourselves, “What can I do to make my environment more livable and adaptable to some of my physical challenges that are starting to creep up?”

Maybe it’s a microwave that is too high to reach. Or perhaps it is the extension of wood flooring from the kitchen to the carpeting in the family room that causes us to stumble or fall at times. Or it may be that we need to renew our living area but we don’t have the budget to have a Martha Stewart clone offer expensive design changes. There is a solution.



The first question is what is your budget? Ten dollars or ten thousand? The money you spend on making your home more comfortable should be an investment in your happiness that adds to the future resale value of your home.

As individuals get older, mobility may become an issue. Clutter causes safety concerns. Odors from an old carpet or upholstery can affect how you feel about your living space. The solutions can be as easy as getting rid of the throw carpets you trip over, purging trinkets and mementos that collect dust or steam cleaning carpets and furniture.

There are simple things that can be done relatively quickly, easily and inexpensively:

• Rearrange your furniture so there is more room if you need a cane or a walker.

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