Monday, March 8, 2021


Mesonet at SD State Eagle Butte realtime weather web widget

Home Improvement Tips


Greetings everyone, I hope all is well with your homes and families. I hope you are enjoying the column, and thank you for following.

Garden planning for 2021

It’s the middle of January and the ground is still frozen, but this is a great time to plan out your garden and begin placing your seed orders.

With the pandemic still with us I expect garden suppliers to be seeing the same situation as last year, lots of new clients and shortages in stock due to the high demand. Beginning to order now will ensure you can get what you want at a lower price.

Garden seeds online: My favorite online company is actually SeedSavers.org, a nonprofit whose goal is to bring the garden back to everyone. The company sells at wholesale prices to the public and offers free seed to other organizations seeking to bring back gardening to everyone. There are many other seed companies online as well such as Burpee and Park Seed to name a couple.

What to order now and what to order later: I would pick out your corn varieties now and order as soon as they are available. Corn is the fastest selling garden seed. Next, I would choose your tomato varieties and squash as these sold out very quickly last year as well. Then decide what other plants you desire to grow from seed and pre-order them for March 2021.

Potted plant purchases and starts: There are several growers in our area who grow starter plants for vegetable gardens and I would place your order no later than February 14 for a May delivery or pick up. I think if you try to find what you want in the spring you be fighting for the scraps.

Flowering plants and color splashes: For these plants you still have time to decide and place an order in March. When ordering the flowering plants remember to keep honey bees in mind as well as plants that offer beauty and act as natural pest control.

Home improvement

Looking ahead to spring for the home is a good idea as well. If you are thinking of building a deck or patio or adding an addition, now is the time to do your homework.

Lumber availability: Lumber will be a hit and miss again this year if you go out on a whim. If you know what you want to get ahead of time it will be available by pre-order in the grades you desire.

Plumbing supplies: Last year saw a shortage as tariffs and other trade rules went into effect. So far it appears that the shortages are over and you will be able to find what you need when you need it.

Appliances: A shortage in home kitchen appliances is still going on due to reduced capacity at factories. Currently some high-end models are only available by online ordering and others, such as mainstay appliances like G.E. and Frigidaire, are taking anywhere from two to six weeks from the time you order online to the time it arrives. The best deals you will find will be online. More and more retailers are learning it cost to much to just let things sit in a showroom so they are offering big sales online to avoid this cost.

Choosing a contractor: I can’t ever say enough, do your homework and research who you hire. 

Get written bids and jobs over $5,000 need to have a contract. Basic contracts can be purchased and filled in online. Then before work starts have the contract notarized. Check the safety record of the contractor with your state labor and regulation office. Check their bonds and insurance. Never, ever, ever pay up front for more than materials. Have a good idea of what you want and a budget before you call. Get all plumbing, electrical and framing work inspected, even if your county or city does not require a permit or inspection. This protects your investment and the contractor.

Home purchases: I will go into more detail in another article, but remember some very basic things to protect yourself. There is no such thing as rent to own. It’s a scam. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage before you shop. Hire a realtor who represents your interest. Never waive a home inspection.

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