Sum­mer tips for your home, lawn and gar­den

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - REENA NER­BAS

IT’S fi­nally time for sun and fun so get ready to soak up these easy sum­mer-lov­ing hints! Clean up the grill with cit­rus. Heat up the grill and slice an or­ange in half. Take the sliced or­ange and rub on grill racks. Brush grill af­ter each use with a stiff brush or steel wool and coat the cooled grill with oil to pre­vent fu­ture rust. Alu­minium foil can also be used to keep your grill shiny. Gen­tly rub the grill with a crum­pled-up ball of alu­minium foil. You will no­tice the grime and build-up dis­ap­pear. If you are des­per­ate, clean the grill with half a cup of wash­ing soda and enough hot wa­ter to cover the grills. Leave overnight. In the morn­ing rinse and scrub with wa­ter and wipe with vine­gar, or ap­ply oven cleaner, but be sure to re­fer to the in­struc­tions in the man­u­fac­turer’s man­ual. To re­move rust on bike chrome wet a crum­pled-up ball of alu­minium foil, then rub it across the frame. Cleans well, with­out scratch­ing. Make your own rain gauge from a flat-bot­tomed plas­tic bot­tle. Cut off the top of a plas­tic two-litre bot­tle and place it up­side down in­side the bot­tle. Mea­sure the bot­tle in inches or cen­time­tres. Mark the out­side of the bot­tle with a per­ma­nent marker. Fill the bot­tom of the bot­tle with wa­ter to the point where the mea­sure starts. Set the bot­tle out­side where it can catch the rain when it falls. You can’t go wrong with the pur­chase of a sprin­kler timer to wa­ter your yard. Set the timer to wa­ter be­tween mid­night and sunrise from May to Oc­to­ber to min­i­mize wa­ter lost to eva­po­ra­tion. Tip: Ad­just your au­to­matic timer to co­in­cide with weather changes. Don’t set it once and then leave it for the en­tire wa­ter­ing sea­son. Grass is a fast-grow­ing, high-main­te­nance ground cover that “browns off” quickly in dry weather. Ground cov­ers such as clover and other spread­ing plants re­quire less main­te­nance and are more drought-re­sis­tant. Your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre can ad­vise you on al­ter­na­tives that will thrive in your area. Ex­am­ples of ground cov­ers in­clude anemone, clema­tis, hops, lady’s man­tle, creep­ing Jenny, Solomon’s seal and ele­phant ears. Don’t over­wa­ter. Ex­cess wa­ter­ing means that fer­til­iz­ers and pes­ti­cides will move out of the root zone of the plant, ren­der­ing them in­ef­fec­tive. Those tox­ins can pen­e­trate into the ground­wa­ter, im­pact­ing wa­ter qual­ity and in­creas­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal bur­den. Mulch It! A good, thick layer of mulch cools flower beds, in­hibits weed growth, and slows the eva­po­ra­tion of wa­ter from the soil. Place mulch around the bases of trees, shrubs and flow­ers to re­duce eva­po­ra­tion. Mulch warn­ing! While mulch does carry many ben­e­fits, there are all kinds of fungi that tend to grow in mulches, one in par­tic­u­lar is called “shot­gun fun­gus”. These tiny lit­tle brown specks will fly as high as three me­tres into the air, and once they stick to the house or win­dows, they stick like glue. Do your best to pre­vent this fun­gus from grow­ing. Keep the mulch loose so air can cir­cu­late. Don’t add layer af­ter layer of mulch around your house. Skip at least ev­ery other year and loosen the mulch you al­ready have. Loosen at least once a year and rake flat to make it look like the yard was re­cently mulched. Noth­ing says sum­mer like a gor­geous wa­ter­melon cav­ity filled with de­li­cious fresh fruit. To be­gin, take a sharp knife and slice a small thin piece off the bot­tom of the wa­ter­melon (so that the fin­ished bas­ket sits flat on a plate). Next, take the tip of your knife or gar­nish­ing tool and score the wa­ter­melon in half, hor­i­zon­tally. Then mark a strip of about one and a half to two inches wide that will form the han­dle of your bas­ket. Us­ing a small knife, cut around the melon on the lines. The gar­nish­ing tool nat­u­rally makes V shaped cuts, which makes the job very easy. Sep­a­rate the cut sides from the body of the wa­ter­melon. If you used a mark­ing pen and there are any resid­ual marks left, a handy way to get rid of them is to use a new emery board and gen­tly sand them off. Take a melon baller and hol­low out the in­side of the wa­ter­melon. Af­ter re­mov­ing all the ed­i­ble parts, take a large spoon and gen­tly scrape out the sides. Be care­ful not to scrape too thinly on the han­dle, as you want it to be sta­ble. Mix the wa­ter­melon balls with other ripe fresh fruits. To make the han­dle gar­nish, use a tooth­pick to af­fix it to the wa­ter­melon. Tip: To pre­vent liq­uid from the fruit from fill­ing the bas­ket, put drainage holes in the bot­tom of the wa­ter­melon af­ter hol­low­ing it. Note: Ev­ery user as­sumes all risks of in­jury or dam­age re­sult­ing from the im­ple­men­ta­tion of any sug­ges­tions in this col­umn. Test all prod­ucts on an in­con­spic­u­ous area first. I en­joy your ques­tions and tips, keep them com­ing. Need a Pre­sen­ter on the topic: Ef­fec­tive Speak­ing or The Power of

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