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Category Tips From the Pros

Looking Back and Moving Forward

L.K. Benson & Company talks about looking back and moving forward

Thanks to L.K. Benson & Company for this blog on moving forward.

The past few months have been a strange and difficult time. We hope each and every one of you continues to stay safe and healthy. We want to thank all of our medical and essential workers who have put their own safety at risk for the rest of us. You are the true heroes of this crisis and we owe you all a debt of gratitude. 

Business Operations Update

We continue to work remotely and are available to you by phone or email whenever you need us. We are working on a plan to gradually reopen the office in the coming weeks in accordance with Governor Hogan’s guidelines. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime.

Life After the Pandemic

After weeks of quarantine and “stay at home” orders, we are starting to se...

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Gardens create beauty, food and hope

Thanks to the University of Maryland / Maryland Grows this informative article about gardens.

gardens create beauty, food and hope
Washington County Master Gardener Jessica Lantz tends a butterfly garden.

Fresh air. Sunshine. The smell of warm earth. The feel of tender leaves. The honest sweat of work. The imagining of tastes, fragrance, and beauty to come. 

How could gardening be anything but therapeutic? 

We who delight in plunging our hands in the soil, tucking in seeds and plants and gently tending them know that gardening feeds the body and soul. And a little soul-feeding is just what we need right now. 

Actress Helen Hayes said, “All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy and my spirits soar.”  

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What is a mobile wallet? What you need to know.

Thanks to Tom Benisch of State Farm for this episode of Tips from the Pros about mobile wallet.

Mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Paypal to name a few, are starting to appear everywhere. Learn how mobile pay works, and tips for keeping your information safe.Customer using a mobile wallet.

In our wallets, most of us have an average of three credit cards, a handful of gift cards and coupons, not to mention membership cards, a driver’s license and receipts. Mobile wallets, which you can use on a compatible smartphone, tablet or smart watch through an app, let you store your cards and coupons in digital form. They allow you to make purchases, apply discounts and use coupons, either online or in-store.

Although only 39% of consumers use mobile payment systems, that’s expected to increase i...

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Potatoes Grow in Bags at Project Spudnik

Thanks to the University of Maryland / Maryland Grows for this article about growing potatoes.

Spudnik Project features a fabric pot garden growing potatoes.
The Spudnik Project features a colorful fabric pot garden with a blueberry bed in the foreground.

Container gardening is wildly popular these days. Type “grow potatoes in containers” and your search engine will return over 7 million web pages. Six years ago, Sherrill Munn, a UME Master Gardener in Calvert Co., developed a fun and challenging youth gardening program he named Project Spudnik. It was designed to encourage a love of gardening, teach environmental stewardship, and raise fresh produce for people in need...

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Strive for comfort, not perfection

Strive for comfort, not perfection

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros with a blog about striving for comfort.

Strive for comfort

Being organized is not the same as being perfect. The goal is not perfection. You want to get your home to a place where clutter is no longer a problem. This will allow you to find what you need and feel more comfortable in your home.

Little things can be time savers like always leaving your keys in the same spot when you come in the house. A key rack, that is used every time you come in the door, can be huge. It takes a couple weeks to get in the habit, but one you get used to putting your keys in that spot you will never lose them again. No more searching...

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Let spiders help in your vegetable garden

Thanks to the University of Maryland / Maryland Grows this article on how to let spiders help in your vegetable garden.

A few years ago during the early spring, my brother, mother, and I noticed several quarter-sized, brownish-colored egg cases in our high tunnel. Our research taught us they were gifts from black and yellow garden spiders, Argiope aurantia. These spiders are also called yellow garden orb-weavers, writing spiders, or zipper spiders. This made sense, as the tomato vines are trellised to 8 feet high. They provide the perfect environment for these magnificent arachnids. Furthermore, these spiders spin large circular webs, high off the ground, which contain a highly visible, zig-zag pattern in the center that is called a stabilimentum.  

Four black and yellow garde...
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How to plant a container-grown tree

Thanks to the University of Maryland / Maryland Grows this article on how to plant a container-grown tree. It seems like an odd time to be talking about planting outdoors, but it’s not.

Late-winter through mid-spring and early through mid-fall are the best times to plant woody ornamentals. That makes this is a good time of year to start planning your process. In addition, it is especially true if you are interested in adding shrubs or trees to your landscape this year.

Take a look at this video showing you how to plant your container-grown tree. For more information, view the HGIC page on the planting process.

In conclusion, adding trees will add to the overall landscaping of your yard.

How to plant a container-grown tree from University of Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center
Image: University of Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center


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Do Gutters Change the Value of a Home?

Do new gutters change the value of a home? Find out in this article.

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about how gutters change the value of your home — or do they?

The average homeowner or home seller might not think too much about their gutters, but the gutters are a critical piece of every property. Without the right gutters, a home can have issues with basement. Problems with flooding, foundation cracks and other serious problems also can happen. Do the gutters that are on the home you are listing add to the value of the home or decrease it?

The Importance of Good Gutters

Every year, homeowners insurance companies pay out a whopping $2.5 billion in water damage-related losses. In addition, 37% of homeowners have claimed losses due to water issues...

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Grocery store game plan

Do you have a grocery store game plan?

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros with a blog about your grocery store game plan.

Going to the grocery store can be anything from a dreaded chore to an out of control shopping spree. Knowing how to make the most of your trip can save you time and money.

Plan meals ahead

Lots of things can help you plan a week’s worth of meals ahead of time. Check the grocery store flyer that I’m sure you get in the mail every week. See what is on sale. Chicken breasts? Plan a meal or two around them. See what coupons you have if you save them.

Check the pantry 

Before you head out see what you have in stock in the pantry and refrigerator.  While you are looking in the fridge, toss uneaten leftovers that have been around for five days ...

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4 Common Fall Chimney Problems

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about fall chimney problems.

Fall chimney problems can be a danger to your home.

Chilly nights and brisk mornings are here. That means many homeowners are suddenly noticing problems with their chimneys. Many chimneys can last for decades with regular preventative maintenance and repairs. And some homeowners forget about the importance of preventative maintenance until it is too late! What are the most common fall chimney problems?

The Most Common Fall Chimney Problems

  1. Obstruction: Blockage in your chimney can be the result of a broad range of things, including animals or creosote. Whenever blockage occurs, it can prevent smoke and dangerous gases from leaving through the chimney like they should...
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