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Growing mushrooms means drilling holes in a freshly cut hardwood log in which to place fungal plugs. (Henry Homeyer photograph)

Notes From the Garden: Growing Mushrooms at Home

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

About 20 years ago, I started growing mushrooms outdoors on logs. It’s a simple process that involves drilling holes in freshly cut logs and inserting little wooden plugs that I buy called plug spawn. Then I let them develop in the shade of a hemlock tree where they generally produce mushrooms in a year or less. Pretty easy. The best …

A Handyman for That Honey-Do List

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tired of waiting for that honey-do list to get done? Consider hiring a handyman instead to tie up all those loose ends around your house. Just make sure to follow these five tips: ∎ Understand pricing. Many handyman services, but not all, charge an hourly rate and a fee for travel. Yvonne Costin, owner of Grandma’s Handyman Service in Aurora, Colo., charges $75 …

Notes From the Garden: Tired of Winter? Time to Start Forcing Blossoms

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I’ve been hearing from friends who are sick of winter. We’re only about half way done with it, but we haven’t had a break — no January thaw this year — and the snow keeps building up. I have to admit that I’m a little tired of shoveling and paying to get my roof cleared. So what can a gardener do? There’s plenty. …

Pop Art Can Pack Big Design Punch

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mid-century modern style is now firmly planted in the home decor landscape. And one of its elements, pop art, is cultivating a 21st century following. Eye-catching, graphic, often tongue-in-cheek or sassily whimsical, pop art decor plays well off …

As Winter Gets Closer, Time to Organize the Garage

Sunday, October 19, 2014

With fall here and winter on its way, it might be time to straighten out the garage, so you can at least find the snow shovels when you need them. “Will it be another bad winter, Al?” you ask. I’ll tell you when it’s over. In the meantime, …

Notes From the Garden: Now Is the Time to Plant Garlic

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Garlic is one of those magical ingredients that give foods depth of flavor and the richness of another world. Italian food, French food, Indian food, these all include liberal use of garlic. Why the English decided on fish and chips and boiled dinners as their staples is a …

Outdoor Decorating for Fall

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Homes in the northern U.S. are treated to a measure of effortless outdoor decorating for fall: Nature does most of the work by turning the trees a vivid palette of reds, oranges and golds. Add a pumpkin or …

Notes From the Garden: Plant Daffodil Bulbs Now for a Pop of Color Next Spring

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Trees are turning brilliant colors, food from the garden is in the larder and it’s bulb planting time. Some bulbs have a bad reputation: Tulip bulbs, for example, are often food for squirrels, and their blossoms are often …

Additions to Make Yard a Comfortable Hangout for Winter

Sunday, October 5, 2014

As fun as summer at the lake is, Sue Vanderwiel and family also make the most of their Apple River, Ill., vacation home in the winter. That’s when “it is much quieter, and we can just hang out, …

Traveling Gardeners Discover New Plants

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I’m not much of a country music fan, but do love Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again — probably because I love to travel. Recently I’ve been on the road again, visiting friends and family in Pennsylvania and …

Decorating Mistakes Cramp Small Spaces

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In a small space, every inch counts — and every mistake can have big consequences. Five designers offer their go-to remedies: The mistake: Heavy window treatments. “I’ve walked into countless small spaces and discovered heavy, dark drapery that devours the space and makes it smaller,” said Trystin Kier …

Notes From the Garden: Planting Shrubs for Fall Color

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Some years ago, in a moment of enlightenment, the New Hampshire Legislature outlawed the propagation, transport and sale of three popular landscape plants: burning bush, barberry and Norway maple. All three had been proven to be invasive, seeding into the woods and crowding out native plants. Both Massachusetts …

Quechee Man Resurrects an Orchard

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Terry Dorman stands in his orchard at the top of a steep, south-facing hillside in Quechee. The morning’s showers have tapered off and the mountains to the south look azure in the patchy afternoon sunlight as the rain …