Saturday, July 11, 2020

Eagle Butte
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy

Gardening and home improvement tips

Hello everyone and thanks again for your continued support.

Today I will cover some gardening tips and add a new segment that will continue into the fall.

Garden Tips

We are about six weeks from the official start of fall and now is a great time to start getting ready. About this time, I begin with my compost bin and see how it is looking.

If it is about ready to use, I just leave it alone, until I am ready to use it.

If it is not breaking down as fast as desired, this would be the time you turn it over. This means putting the top layer on the bottom and the bottom on the top.

If it is soggy, add some wood chips or small twigs to help with aeration. You can also add some bone meal to it if there are a lot of materials to break down. Keep turning it weekly from now on to ensure the best results.

In the beds that are done for the season, you may also consider mulching those beds either permanently or as a seasonal solution for weed control until weed germination is no longer an issue.

Permanent mulch would be wood fibres such as bark or a mixture of compost and sand.

Temporary mulch would be things like straw or other dried plant material that you would remove before the first snow.


There are plenty of harvest days left for this year. Keep harvesting your squash before they get too big, and they will continue to produce.

Harvest things like beets now, and if you desire more, this is the best time to start a new crop between now and the August 25. This will give you a call harvest, for example, beets around October 10 and that would end the garden season in most years.

Your corn should be ready in about four more weeks. If growing corn for popcorn, leave it in the stalk until the whole stalk is dry or as late as you can wait.

New Segment: Home Improvement

As well as having many years of experience as a gardener in the Pacific Northwest, I also worked as an estate manager under the same license, so I will be covering some of the basics of home repair as well.

Some of you may be asking what an estate manager is since there is not much call for this profession in S.D.

An estate manager is someone who works in a private estate. An estate is a residential property of over one acre and has dwellings of over 4,000 square feet. The manager has his normal daily duties, but also oversees the running of the entire estate as the homeowner is normally someone who travels over 200 days per year for their work, but also wants to enjoy their home when he or she returns without needing to do all the work to maintain the property.

The manager ensures seamless operations of the home so the family can enjoy it. In the past and still today in Europe, the manager is also known as the “Butler,” but he does not always live in the home. The manager may run a private business himself or work as an employee with a larger company.

DIY or For hire?

If you have minor jobs to do and can’t do them yourself, there are plenty of youth in our area willing to do off jobs as well as adults with lots of experience looking to make ends meet.

Minor jobs would include touch up painting, cleaning gutters and storm drains, caulking bathtubs and toilets. If it’s a job that takes less than an hour and does not involve pipes under pressure or wiring, it’s a minor job.

Jobs I recommend you hire a professional to complete are electrical in nature and any plumbing involving sewer or drinking water.

You can save money by doing your own work such as digging out a trench, but unless you know for sure what you are doing, you should hire a licensed contractor. Other types of work you will want to hire out is anything structural: subflooring, wall framing or fixing a sagging roof. There are many things that go into planning a job done right — not only for the integrity of your home, but also for your safety long term.

Choosing a contractor

If your work involves many different trades, such as a remodel, hire a licensed general contractor who will bring in the right subcontractor to do specialty work that can include tile or specialized concrete finishes. If they say they can do it all, that’s a warning sign. They may not have you in their best interest. Most contractors will do all the major work, but if you have an unusual request, and they don’t know an expert, they may only be after your money.

Check to make sure their license and bond are current and will not expire until your work is done.

If the job will cost overn$10,000, be sure to get a contract surety bond. This protects you from a job going unfinished.

If the job is over $500.00 in labor, and they expect full payment up front, move on to someone else. If material cost is their issue, ask them to place an order and you can pay for it over the phone with a card, dealing directly with the merchant.

Only pay a contractor for labor upon completion of the job. Most licensed contractors have accounts set up to charge materials.

If you are in the reservation, permits may not be required, but hire an independent inspector of your own to sign off on all work over $5,000.00. This protects the contractor, you and ensures your home is safe.

Inspection fees range from $300.00 for a project to under $3,000.00, and large projects may run as much as $600.00 since multiple visits for various stages of work may be needed, such as framing, electrical and plumbing, before the internal work is covered up by drywall.

In future weeks, I will cover more topics on the care of a home.