Starting the Seeds of summer

Mild winter, right? Before we know it, we gardeners are thinking beautiful gar­den thoughts: compost, veggies, flowers, worms, seeds . . . And, because we can’t help it, we forget that the last frost date for many places is usually around the end of April and we start seeds indoors.

Try these four points for successful seed starting:

Plan ahead

Decide which vegetables you would like to grow, and which you will be starting from seed indoors. Some plants may be purchased fully grown. Other seeds will be planted directly into the garden. Use local nurseries and seed catalogs.

Research

Find a good reference book, go on-line and read the catalog description and the seed packet. Check out www.growit.umd.edu for all the information you will need. You must know when the seeds should be started; temperature and light requirements; and depth of planting the seed.

Get planting

Put similar seeds with similar requirements in one tray. Create a labeling system and a calendar for organization. Use seed starting soil with peat pots, or peat pellets. Mist or water lightly, keeping soil moist, but not wet. Provide adequate light 12 – 14 hours a day. After the true (second set) of leaves emerge, treat with a diluted soluble plant food.

Transplant

Move into larger pots as plants develop true leaves – watch for gnats, mites and aphids. |

How to Get a Lower Mortgage Rate

Lenders make a lot more money when they renew your mortgage than on your initial term.

That’s partly because they don’t have to compensate anyone for re­ferring your business or compensate them as much. But it’s also because many clients fail to contact a mort­gage broker.

According to a recent Maritz survey, only 56% of borrowers negotiated their mortgage rate at renewal. A remarkable four in 10 took the first rate their bank offered. That’s a scary statis­tic considering banks rarely, if ever, offer their lowest rate up­front regardless of how long you’ve been a customer!

That’s why it’s so important to con­tact a mortgage broker at renewal as well.

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