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Category Blogs I Follow

The green tomato dilemma; or, will this fruit get any riper?

Thanks to the University of Maryland / Maryland Grows this article on the green tomato dilemma.

Does it ripen on its own after being picked?

I was reminded on social media this morning of an article published back in June by John Porter on the Garden Professors blog. It’s about which fruits (some of which are vegetables in a culinary sense) continue to ripen after being harvested, and which don’t. Using more scientific words, which are climacteric and which are non-climacteric. There’s a useful list — bookmark it!

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Unripe Siberian kiwis in May
Image: University of Maryland / Maryland Grows

I referred to that list this summer to confirm that kiwis are among the fruits that will continue to ripen once picked. I have three Siberian kiwi plants (Actinidia kolomikta), two ...

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Creosote 101

Get a lesson about creosote and how it can be a danger to your family.
Image: Clean Sweep

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about creosote in your chimney.

Every year, there are over 25,000 chimney fires across the United States. These fires lead to over $125 million in property damage. Aside from the property damage, there are numerous lives lost and harmed as a result. One of the most notable causes of these tragic chimney and house fires is creosote build-up inside of the chimney or fireplace. What does every homeowner need to know about this hazardous substance?

What Is Creosote?

It is a corrosive and flammable substance that builds up on the inside walls of chimneys and fireplaces. This chemical is made when ash, other gases and wood particles combine on the way out of your chimney...

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Gardening Tips for September

Thanks to Maryland Grows for letting me reprint these gardening tips by University of Maryland experts and master gardeners.

Image: Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii by University of Maryland

Houseplants

  • Before bringing houseplants back into the house: Check plants for antsearwigspillbugs, and other nuisance insects.  Wash off insect pests or apply a labeled houseplant insecticide to control any plant pests such as aphids, scales, spider mites, and mealybugs.
  • If the plants have outgrown their pots repot them into the next size pot or remove them, trim back the roots and repot in the same container. Use lightweight, well-drained soilless potting mixes...
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DNA testing privacy: what you need to know

Thanks to Tom Benisch of State Farm for this episode of Tips from the Pros about DNA testing privacy.

Understand the basics of how DNA testing works and learn how to remain vigilant over your data.

A scientist is looking in to a microscope doing DNA testing.

Genetic testing has gone from a novel curiosity to big business. More than 26 million people have taken an at-home ancestry test, which uses DNA to analyze their genomes. The explosion in testing companies and use have a lot of people asking about at-home DNA testing privacy and wondering about the risks. Here are the basics and what you need to consider.

How DNA testing works

Wider availability and advanced technology have made DNA testing much more affordable and much less intrusive...

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Lawn and Garden Tips and Tricks for August

Thanks to Maryland Grows for letting me reprint these garden tips.

For Ornamental Plants:

  • Late August through September is usually a good time to transplant, divide and plant perennials such as daylily, liriope (photo left), and echinacea. (HG 99) Be sure to keep them well watered during dry periods.
  • Annuals and perennials, like yarrow and salvia, may have grown spindly and are not flowering well. Cut them back to encourage re-bloom. Deadhead the spent blooms of annuals like zinnias and marigolds. This will encourage them to continue blooming more vigorously.
  • Plant hardy mums for fall color this month so they will become well established prior to the winter.
Enter Dormant lawn. Photo: University of Illinois Extensiona caption

Garden Tips For Lawns:

  • In dry periods grasses go d...
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Markets Stay Strong in 2019

L.K. Benson in Tips from the Pros talks about markets

The second quarter of 2019 ended about the same way it started, with positive returns across financial markets. In our 2nd quarter market commentary we’ll recap what happened, what we learned and where we go from here.

Best Planning Ideas for 2019

Each year at the annual AICPA Personal Financial Planning conference, Lyle moderates a panel discussion with leaders from the CPA financial planning profession. These leaders discuss the best planning ideas they are implementing with clients right now, and there always a number of great takeaways.

We’ve touched on many of these topics in our writing over the past couple years, but here’s a reminder of the top planning ideas to consider now.

The Kiddie Tax

The tax on the unearned income of children has long been a pai...

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Why is your chimney leaking?

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about reasons your chimney might be leaking.

Image: Clean Sweep

The recent thunderstorms and downpours have led many area residents to wonder if their chimneys have a leak problem. While the rain is awesome for cooling us off and keeping the lawn watered, the last thing that you want to encounter is a leaky chimney.

The Symptoms of a Leaky Chimney

Some people assume that every chimney with a leak problem will have a puddle of water sitting in the flue or fireplace. However, since most chimney systems are complex, leaks are often not found until they have already caused serious damage. Some of the signs of a leaking chimney include:

  • Water or condensation present in the firebox
  • Moisture, leaks or water damage on t...
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Lawn and Garden Tips and Tricks for July

Thanks to Maryland Grows for letting me reprint this gardening advice.

Every month, we will highlight a few timely, key tips for Maryland homeowners’ lawns and gardens.

Fruit Growers:

Lawn and garden tips
Image: Maryland Grows
  • Fruit plants have shallow root systems which are easily damaged by cultivation. Do not cultivate or dig into the soil around small fruits or tree fruits. Hand-pull the weeds and then apply organic mulches to control weeds.
  • Practice good sanitation by removing and discarding all fallen leaves and fruits.

Vegetable plants:

  • Squash vine borer larvae are feeding inside squash and pumpkin stems. Monitor plants for signs of wilting and entrance holes on lower stems. You may see sawdust-like frass around the hole. Stems may contain more than one larva...
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Bring Your Dreams to Life With a Vision Board

Bring Your Dreams to Life With a Vision Board

Bring your dreams to life with a vision board. A vision board is a great way to transform your dreams into reality. When you constantly see your aspirations in front of you, it’s a reminder of what you will achieve with all your hard work. 

A vision board can show the goals you have for your work, personal life or health. 

Even if arts and crafts aren’t your jam, there are some steps you can take to visualize your dreams without breaking out the scissors and glue. Choose a medium, then follow these tips to craft your vision board and bring your dreams to life! 

Create your vision board from magazines, photos or hand written text. You can create a digital vision board if that works better for you.

Put the vision board somewhere you spend a lot of time...

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How to Make Your Gutters Last as Long as Possible

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about your gutters.

Make your gutters last as long as you possibly can by taking care of them.
Image: Clean Sweep

Whenever you make an investment inside or outside of your home, you want to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. This is especially true when installing devices that help to protect the structural integrity and safety of the rest of your home, like gutters.

Your roof gutters help to protect your home from water damage caused by rain. They reduce the likelihood of mold growth on the side of your home. How can you ensure that your gutters last as long as possible?

Have Your Gutters Professionally Cleaned

Your gutters should be debris-free throughout the year. Clogged gutters are one of the most common causes of basement flooding in the country...

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