Saturday, June 19, 2021

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Home and Garden Tips

Greetings, everyone, and thank you for your continued following. This week I will cover some garden tips as well as home repair and maintenance tips. I will start off with home repair and maintenance.

Home maintenance

AC units and air handlers: Now is a good time to check your AC unit and air handler to ensure a trouble-free summer. Before you do any equipment maintenance, always shut off the power.

1. Change air filters.

2. Vacuum the fan (also known as the squirrel cage) to remove excess dust.

3. Vacuum out floor and ceiling registers.

4. Look for any loose wires or burned circuits. These will be obvious; no need to dig into the board of the system.

5. Run AC for five minutes when the air temperature is above 60 degrees outside just to make sure everything comes on as it should.

6. Grease any fittings that can safely be reached. 

7. Clean off AC grills to avoid system icing.

8. Use a pump sprayer with soap and water to wash exterior AC fins. This may take two or three tanks of water and soap. Do not use any harsh detergents. Dawn dish liquid and water is great, just three drops per gallon.

If you have had mold issues in the past, lower the AC thermostat by just two degrees and there will be some improvement. If you encounter any problems, or are just not sure of how to perform a task, call a professional.

Pest control: The best defense against pests is to remove the places where they like to live.

1.Trim trees and shrubs back from all exterior walls. An 18-inch distance is the minimum distance recommended by most pest controller companies.

2.Swap out mercury lights for sodium vapor lights or LED bulbs for outdoor lighting. These are less attractive to mosquitos.

3.Keep all wildlife feeders 30 feet from your home and make sure only the intended wildlife can reach them.

4.Remove any stagnant water sources so mosquitos have nowhere to lay eggs.

5.Set up a pest control plan for spiders with a local provider. I do not recommend doing your own spraying.

Garden tips

Planting: The upcoming weather for the first weeks of June will be warm enough to get starter plants in the ground between now and the tenth. You can begin to sow in seeds, too.

Animal/pest control: Get your rabbit and grasshopper fences up now, before you need them! But make sure all your irrigation is in place first.

First harvest: The first harvest of asparagus should already be in or ready to harvest. This is the die-hard first crop of the year and it inspires people to get out into the garden. (It’s also one of my favorite foods.) Baby lettuce may also be ready now if you chanced an early seeding.

Mowing: If you have started mowing already you are way ahead of some people in keeping your yard in check. Do not cut your lawn too short. Unless you plan to water your lawn this summer, it will stay green longer in this drought if you mow it 1 1/2 to 3 inches high.

Start off right with a new blade, oil and air filter in your mower. Wash the mower deck weekly to avoid acid damage on the deck from a buildup of grass clippings. Mow weekly. If the grass gets too high it may require two cuttings in two different directions to get the desired look. Alternate the mowing pattern weekly to avoid developing wheel ruts.

As discussed last week, fertilize with a long-acting lawn food, not weed and feed. I recommend Scotts® products due to ease of use and their recommendation of what products to use season by season.

Start with Scotts® Turf Builder® Green Max™, a 27-0-2 lawn food that will get you that green you desire quickly. Then follow up with a 18-24-12 or equivalent food two weeks later. This should complete your feeding schedule until fall, unless you have a specialized lawn such as bent grass.

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