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The author's meager harvest of sour cherries has called into question the future of his cherry tree. (Henry Homeyer photograph)

Notes From the Garden: Fruit Trees Need to Produce

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I try not to be too compulsive, but I admit that I counted every sour or pie cherry I picked from my tree this year. Give or take a few I ate while picking, I got 111 cherries — not enough for a pie. I planted the tree some 15 years ago, and this was my best crop. Last year, …

By Any Other Name...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Will Radler was still just an amateur rose breeder — a basement hobbyist, really — when he walked out of his home in Milwaukee carrying that fateful baby rose in a soil-stuffed cup. He didn’t realize it then, back in 1989, but he held in his hands a flower with such remarkable qualities …

How to Stop Mold After Water Damage

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Homeowners who experience even a small amount of water seeping into their homes either from flooding or a broken pipe should be concerned about mold. It doesn’t take much water for mold to grow and do a lot of harm. “All it needs is a little moisture and a little dark space, and …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Outdoor Furniture’s New Looks for 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Outdoor living spaces have come a long way from the days when “outdoor furnishings” meant a few inexpensive folding chairs around a flimsy plastic table. Today’s outdoor chairs might be wrought iron or wrought aluminum, with upholstered seats. The table might be stone or wood or an elegant …

Notes From the Garden: Even Mature Trees Can Be Uprooted and Replanted

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The snow is deep, the temperatures well below freezing. It’s a good time to think about what projects to undertake this year. My friend Evan Schneider, who was in the Peace Corps with me in Cameroon, recently bought …

Notes From the Garden: Growing Your Own Food Can Mean Healthier, and Safer, Eating

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We’ve come a long way from the day when most families grew their own vegetables and had a few chickens and a cow. From the day when fertilizer was manure of some sort, and when bug control consisted largely of picking them off garden plants by hand. My …

Making the Kitchen More Germ-Free

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Even the tidiest kitchens might be harboring harmful bacteria, and often where they’re least expected. Paying more attention to a few often-overlooked places can help keep your household safer, experts say. For starters, home cooks should have four watchwords, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: …

Notes From the Garden: Flower Shows Offer a Respite From the Cold and Snow

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This winter, I’ve been a bit spoiled: Spending 10 January days in Maui will do that. You would think that I’d be ready for all the icy roads and driveways, having been given some respite. But I’m not. …

Snow Removal Gets a Lot Easier

Sunday, January 25, 2015

That familiar refrain of winter is back. Do you hear it? Metal shovels scraping snow-covered driveways and sidewalks. The industrious whir of snow blowers. The grating sound of scrapers chiseling cars out from beneath layers of ice. Snow …

Notes From the Garden: Raising the Next Generation of Gardeners

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My love of gardening comes from my grandfather, John Lenat. He introduced me to his garden and fed me tasty things right from it. He never made me pull weeds, a sure way to discourage young gardeners. In …