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Category Blogs I Follow

Plants not behaving as expected: vegetable garden edition

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article on plants not behaving as expected.

Vegetable crops

Two of the vegetable crops I grew this year are known for loving the heat: okra and eggplant. I grow eggplant in pots on my deck, to avoid flea beetle infestation, and okra directly in the ground in my community garden plot. Both of them produced adequately over the summer. Now it’s fall; we’re having days in the 70s and nights in the 50s, and there are fewer hours of sunlight in the day. Time to pull the summer crops, right?

Except – boom! Both the okra and the eggplant are going gangbusters. More flowers, more fruits than in the hot summer months, by far.

Plants not behaving
Image: University of Maryland/Maryland Grows.

So why aren’t these plants following t...

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Make the most of your time

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros with her blog about time management.

In order to make the most out of your time, you need to take matters into your own hands. You make time for the things you have to do. What you do with the rest of your day and the quality of your actions is the question.

Make a schedule

Create a schedule for your day and stick to it. Put everything in there, including breaks and driving time. Write everything down. Cross things off as you do them and you can track your progress.

Get rid of distractions

You might have to put down the cellphone and ignore texts to get the job done. You can put your phone on vibrate so calls won’t interrupt you...

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Keep Your Home Safe with a Dryer Cleaning from Clean Sweep

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about dryer cleaning and home safety.

Image: Clean Sweep Maryland

Putting off dryer cleaning keeps our dryers from working at their peak efficiency at best and can cause dryer fires in our home at worst. Around 3,000 dryer fires are reported per year, and 34% of them take place due to a lack of routine maintenance. During the humid summer months of Baltimore, the risk of dryer fires is at an all-time low. As we move into fall and winter, however, the risk will only grow.

Signs That Dryer Vents Are Overdue for Cleaning

  • Clothes are not dry after a normal drying cycle
  • A lingering musty odor clings to your clothes
  • When you open the dryer, clothes are unusually hot to the touch
  • When using the dryer, the vent hood flap does n...
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Best Planning Ideas 2021

Thanks to L. K. Benson for sharing this blog about planning ideas 2021.

Since March 2020, the world learned just how dangerous the COVID-19 virus could be. We have all been mostly in reactive mode. Offices and schools were closed so we learned to work from home while the kids learned remotely. The markets plummeted so we harvested tax losses and rebalanced portfolios. Tax deadlines changed and stimulus bills were passed. We sorted through pages of new legislation to help our clients navigate the new rules. 

There are significant potential changes looming in the tax and estate planning area. Now is the time to shift back into proactive mode...

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Natural Lighting for Indoor Plants

Thanks to the University of Maryland / Maryland Grows this informative article on natural lighting for indoor plants.

Natural lighting for indoor plants
Image: University of Maryland / Maryland Grows

Key points

  • Light is probably the most essential factor for healthy indoor plant growth. The energy derived from photosynthesis depends on the amount of intercepted light by leaves.
  • Indoor plants can be classified according to their light needs and tolerances — high, medium, or low. Select indoor plants according to the availability of natural light in your home. Otherwise, you will need to supplement light with artificial lighting. 
  • The three important aspects of indoor light are intensity, duration, and quality.  Each one has a different impact on the plant.

Light intensity

  • Footcandles (FC) is the unit of measu...
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Things we stockpile for no reason

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros with her blog about things we stockpile for no reason.

Why do we stockpile things like soy sauce?

We learned from our parents not to waste anything that can be useful. Don’t waste food. Don’t waste money. Waste not, want not. It’s time to consider what you really need and what is clutter.

If you go to events, not that there have been many over the past year and a half, there are often giveaway items that can accumulate into clutter. Events like the State Fair, Towsontown Festival, senior fairs or other events often have vendors who will give away items that have their logo on them.

These items can include tote bags, lip balm, tape measures, drink cozies, note pads, chip clips, keychains and pens...

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The Importance of a Slate Roofing Inspection Before Selling or Purchasing a Home

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about getting a slate roofing inspection.

The Importance of a Slate Roofing Inspection Before Selling or Purchasing a Home
Image courtesy of Clean Sweep Maryland.

There are many types of roofing materials homeowners can select from when the time comes for a replacement. In the United States, asphalt roofing is by far the most popular choice. It has decent durability and competitive cost. As a realtor, there is a 100% chance you’ve worked extensively with homes capped with an asphalt roof. However, you may not run into more luxurious options like slate roofing quite as much. What should realtors know about slate roofing?

The Slate Roofing Advantage

There are a few key reasons why some homeowners make the jump to slate roofing for their space...

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Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments

L.K. Benson Tips from the Pros tax reform

Thanks to L. K. Benson for sharing this blog about monthly child tax credit payments with us.

The following is a summary letter outlining the changes to the child tax credit prepared by the AICPA:

Recently, there were changes made to the child tax credit that will benefit many taxpayers. As part of the American Rescue Plan Act that was enacted in March 2021, the child tax credit:

  • Amount has increased for certain taxpayers
  • Is fully refundable (meaning you can receive it even if you don’t owe the IRS.
  • May be partially received in monthly payments

The new law also raised the age of qualifying children to 17 from 16. This means some families will be able to take advantage of the credit longer.

The IRS started paying half the credit in the form of advance monthly payments be...

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DIY garden structures with materials you have on hand

Thanks to the University of Maryland / Maryland Grows this informative article on DIY garden structures.

I had a lot of goals for improving my garden since last year’s adventure which meant new things to build! The current prices of lumber and materials, plus my only basic carpentry skills are limiting. I didn’t want to go all out creating beautiful, sturdy, perfect designs and structures from new materials purchased specifically for these builds.

Next, I wanted to quickly build tomato support, floating row cover and a large trellis for climbing plants. I also wanted to make a deer fence, and a garden gate. The hope was that I could do it all without spending too much at the hardware store or spending a ton of time planning...

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Feng Shui and Organizing Your Home

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros with her blog about Feng Shui and organizing your home.

Feng Shui and organizing your home

Feng Shui is an ancient way of organizing your home to feel secure, happy and safe. Get in touch with your surroundings, they can make you feel better and calm. 

Most people say they don’t want to declutter their homes because it takes too much time and effort. However, in reality, it is usually because organizing can be stressful when purging items that have an emotional attachment.

Clutter is clogging up the energy of your home. There is no smooth flow of your Chi when there is too much stuff in the way. 

Feng Shui and organizing in the Bedroom

You release energy in the bedroom...

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