Getting Started With Epoxy Cabinet Refinishing Kits

Apr 29, 2021Vincent Russo

What do you do when your kitchen needs a facelift? Those cabinets are solid, they’re functional, but man, are they dated! One option many homeowners are turning to is cabinet refinishing kits. Many of these pre-built kits use a water-based epoxy coating to ensure that the cabinets get the most rock-solid finish possible without investing in a lot of professional grade equipment. But there’s a lot more to refinishing cabinets with these materials than opening the can and getting to work.

Prepping for an Epoxy Finish

If you’ve never heard it before, take this away with you: The biggest predictor of success for your DIY project is how well you prep your surfaces and work area. It’s really that simple, even though prep work can be pretty involved. Creating a clean, smooth, ready to coat cabinet door takes a lot of effort, but yields magnificent results. This is the number one secret of the pros, besides having all that fancy painting equipment.

So how do you prep for an epoxy cabinet refinish? There are steps.

  1. Remove all the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. Label each and store them where they won’t get lost or damaged. Using sticky notes to track cabinet doors can be a really good trick, since doors may look alike but not actually fit the same.
  2. Fill any cracked surfaces with a compatible filler and sand it smooth. You can’t simply paint away problems in your cabinetry.
  3. Clean your cabinet fronts, cabinet doors, and exposed finish on cabinet bases thoroughly to remove oils, spills, and other messes that will interfere with paint adherence.
  4. Cover any surface that you don’t want paint on. This includes your backsplash and your countertops, and even your work area. This is not a material that you can necessarily just peel off should you have a drip.
  5. Set up areas for your doors and drawer fronts to cure. Curing can take several days per painted side, so ensure the area is super clean and free of any drafts that could deposit dust and other debris.

Only once you’ve fully prepped your area should you begin the task at hand. Taping your cabinet bases can help keep the paint lines sharp, but remember to remove the tape while the paint is wet for the best results. It’s not always necessary to paint the insides of your cabinets, but should you choose to, remember that the pre-built kits are only designed to cover outer surfaces, so you’ll need extra coating material.

The Right Equipment Matters

Another important thing to know about using an epoxy cabinet refinishing kit is that the right equipment really does matter. Buy the right tools, and don’t just settle for a single brush or a single roller; they come in a variety of options for different jobs. Because rollers and brushes both create different textures depending on their design, it’s going to be really important to make the right choices here. Ask experts if you’re not sure. Rollers are not all the same, and there are lots of differences in naps and roller density. And brushes made of natural material are very different from synthetics.

The size and shape of your rollers or brushes also matter big time. Brushes in particular come in tons of different shapes, each meant to do specific jobs. For example, an angle brush will help you get into corners better, though they can also be used on the flat, open areas too, if you’re careful. Rollers vary dramatically in width, and bigger isn’t always better.

Whatever you do, though, don’t mix brushes with foam applicators of any sort. The resulting texture won’t be consistent and will likely drive you to refinish your cabinets yet again long before the epoxy coating is in need of refreshing.

For a Faster, Harder Coating…

If you’re not sure you want to live with the excitement that is refinishing your cabinets, you’ve got another option: you can call in a painter. Professional painters often use harder coatings like lacquers and oil-based epoxies, as well as paint sprayers to ensure a smooth and even finish. Because they can take your cabinet doors away to their shop, it’ll also minimize the mess you have to live with.

Not sure where to find a painter? Just look in HomeKeepr for a recommendation! Make sure to choose a painter who has cabinet-refinishing experience, since there are often specialized tools and racks involved in the process.

Original Post: http://WinWithVin.kw.com/blog

Garden Walkway Lighting Basics

There’s not much that makes as big of an impact on a garden or other outdoor space as some mood lighting. Although your garden or walkway lighting won’t shine quite as brightly in the daytime, the lighting you choose can make a huge difference to the functionality and look of the space where you install it. There are several different options when it comes to outdoor lighting, so how do you begin to choose the right lighting for your space?

What’s Your Lighting Goal?

Before you so much as shop for lighting, it’s important to determine what it is that you want your lighting to do. Should it simply illuminate a path? Is it going to highlight a particular garden element like a nice plant or a fountain? Do you need to brighten stairs to help prevent falls? There are so many different types of garden and walkway lighting available today that identifying your needs can help to narrow your focus before you begin. That way you won’t waste a lot of time poring over options that will never be suitable for the job at hand.

Next, your lighting location should be considered. There are plenty of benefits to choosing a wired lighting system, but if your garden is far from your home, you may need to bring an electrician onto the project to properly run the wiring to the location in question. If that’s not an option, you’ll need to seriously consider solar lighting kits. Although a freestanding solar panel can be installed to power all your lights, there are many lighting kits made of lights fitted with individual tiny solar panels.

Solar Versus Wired Lighting

Solar garden walkway lighting is undoubtedly a convenient option, but it won’t work for every space or every need. Because solar lighting is powered by the sun, the location of your solar panels is vital. Bright, direct sunlight is best for charging these lights, so if you live in a location that tends to have a lot of cloud cover or your vegetation is dense, you’re going to lose a lot of potential lighting hours. Generally, solar-powered lights need to be recharged daily, making them difficult to rely on during the darker, colder months of the year, even if they’re in an ideal location.

Low voltage landscape lighting, on the other hand, receives continuous power from your electrical system, allowing them to work on demand. Some homeowners worry this means they’ll run all day long and create expensive electricity bills, but most lighting systems are designed to come on at or near dark and turn off at sunrise, or on demand, or both, depending on the system you’re using. On-demand systems come in pretty handy when there’s a weird noise outside and you need to go chase a raccoon out of the trash.

Many solar systems are also built to be disposable, so if that’s the way you’re leaning, be prepared to spend quite a bit more than you might expect for a low-end plastic solar light. There are solar lighting kits made to last much longer, but you should be looking for light sets made with metal bodies that allow you to change the bulb, should it need replacement.

Need Help Selecting the Right Outdoor Lighting?

There are a whole host of professionals who can help you make these important lighting decisions, based on your specific situation. For example, if you want to know if your site is suitable for solar lighting or needs a permanently powered lighting solution, calling an electrician into the project can get the right answers quickly. If you already know the type of system you’d prefer but aren’t quite sure about how to configure your lighting system to meet your goals, a landscape professional may be an excellent investment.

The good news is that no matter who you’d like to bring into your project, you can find them with the help of your HomeKeepr community! Just look for a recommendation for your situation or specific professional need, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to lighting the neighbors will envy.

Original post: http://WinWithVin.kw.cm/blog

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley

Whole Home Water Filtration Systems and You

Your home is your castle, but like a lot of castles in the days of yore, the water could probably be better. Unlike in those ancient castles, though, modern technology makes it possible for you to have clean, safe water, no matter what sort of problems plague your fortress’s water supply. Choosing a whole home water filtration system is a big commitment, but depending on your water quality and source, it can make more sense than using filters at specific end points in the house.

Many homeowners wonder what the advantages are to installing a whole home filtration system versus simply using things like tap filters and refrigerator filters. After all, aren’t those the only places where water quality really matters? Absolutely not.

Hard water, for example, can be very hard on any appliance that has water regularly run through it, from your washing machine to your toilet or dishwasher. Over time, sediment and mineral build-up can shorten the life span of any and all of these often expensive pieces of equipment. Installing a whole home water filtration system automatically removes problematic minerals and particulates from your water before it enters other points in your home, so you won’t have to take your chances on when an appliance will stop working or need repairs.

Water filters on specific appliances can be sufficient if you really just don’t like the taste of your water, or if you’ve placed in-line filters on your most delicate equipment. But remember that spot filters can only protect the items that are being filtered, and won’t cover other parts of your home that you may not have realized need filtering. They can also get expensive to maintain if you have many filters that need to be changed regularly.

What Can You Filter With a Whole House Filter?

A whole house filter can remove many common contaminants that may be present in your water. It’s a good idea to have a water test before you make a final decision on what you’d like your whole house filter to accomplish. A few things the most popular filtration mediums can reduce or eliminate entirely include:

  • Sediment
  • Chlorine and chloramine
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Heavy metals
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • VOCs

Most whole home filters consist of sediment filters, carbon filters, and, if you’re on well water, a UV lamp. However, because these are generally cartridge systems, you ultimately have control over what’s being filtered out. If your water tests show significant problems with heavy metals, you may need additional equipment for drinking water. Reverse osmosis systems can also filter out things like heavy metals and produce very pure water, but they use a lot of extra water and can be very slow, so they’re generally only recommended for spot usage. They’re often used only for drinking and cooking water, so you won’t necessarily need a huge add-on to your whole home filter.

Choosing the Right System for Your Home

The right system for your home is the system that both meets your needs for water usage and is able to filter out the contaminants that are in your water. This is why it’s so important to have a water test before you even start to look at whole home filter systems, even if you already have an idea as to what you think would be good for your lifestyle. You may discover that your water simply doesn’t contain the contaminates you’re most concerned about, which would be great news! Since both municipal water and well water can change over time, a system that allows for multiple interchangeable cartridges, from a company that will support your whole home filter over the long term, is always the ideal. The same can be said for a reverse osmosis system, should you need one in addition to a filtration system.

A professional can help you find the exact system that will meet your needs for many years to come. Don’t be shy, look in the HomeKeepr community for a recommendation for a water quality expert. You’ll have cleaner, tastier water in almost no time!

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley

Original post: http://WinWithVin.kw.com/blog

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist: Top Items to Watch

Spring is here, so that means it’s time to start getting ready for the months ahead. Chances are you’re looking forward to being outdoors, maybe firing up the grill, planting a garden, or spending some quality time in the pool. Before you get down to the business of enjoying the nice weather, though, there are a few things that need to be taken care of first. That’s right: It’s time to knock out some home maintenance tasks to make sure everything is ready for the changing weather.

Home maintenance is important throughout the year, but spring and fall are two of the top times to really hit some of the big points. In the fall you’re prepping for winter and making sure that your home is ready for icy weather, while in the spring you’re checking to make sure everything came through the winter ok and prepping for the heat and rain that comes with spring and summer. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some of the top items to check off on your spring home maintenance checklist.

Outdoor Maintenance

Cold winter months can really take their toll on the outside of your home. This is one of the reasons that spring maintenance is so important. By performing external maintenance early in the spring, you can identify damage caused by ice and snow and repair it before it turns into leaks and other problems when the spring and summer rains start up. Here are a few key areas that you need to make sure that you check:

  • Inspect your roof, looking for cracked or missing shingles or other signs of damage or leaks
  • Check around the foundation for cracks or other wear
  • Look at the bricks and siding on your home to see if you need repairs or new paint
  • Clean the outdoor unit of your HVAC system and inspect it for obvious signs of damage

This is also a good time to check any external fixtures, outdoor electrical outlets, hose faucets, and other objects on or around the outside of your home for signs of damage.

Indoor Maintenance

A lot of people think that the main thing to do indoors is a bit of spring cleaning. While a good deep clean a few times a year is important for keeping your home livable, there are a few specific maintenance areas that you need to be sure to cover. Here are some of the key points to hit:

  • Clean the condenser coils on the back of the refrigerator and check the temperature in both the fridge and freezer
  • Inspect the ceilings and walls for discolorations or cracks that could indicate water damage
  • Test your HVAC system to ensure that it functions properly when switched from heating to cooling
  • Lubricate the hinges and tracks on doors, windows, and other areas that will see a lot of motion or traffic in coming months

While you’re already in maintenance mode, this could also be a good time to replace light bulbs (possibly with more energy-efficient bulbs or bulbs with smart connect features), test outlets, and perform other basic maintenance tasks around the house.

Other Maintenance Tasks

There are a number of other maintenance tasks that don’t really fall into these two categories. Little things like lubricating the moving parts in your garage doors, changing the oil in mowers and other outdoor equipment, sharpening tools, prepping garden spaces, and similar tasks will go a long way toward getting you ready for spring and summer. It may also be a good time to do some deep sanitizing or moving around some outdoor fixtures to make it easy to have some friends over while giving everyone their space as well.

This all might sound like a lot of work, but fortunately HomeKeepr is here to help. From cleaning pros to roofers and HVAC specialists, you can use HomeKeepr to connect to professionals in your area that can help with all your spring maintenance and repair tasks. Sign up for a free account today to get started.

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley

Original Blog: http://WinWithVin.kw.com/blog

Outdoor Structures Make Your Yard More Fun!

Although it’s barely spring, summer is right around the corner. And nothing says summer like better outdoor spaces to play and work in! Now is the time to plan and install outdoor structures so you can spend the hottest days of the year taking advantage of the breeze and shade, while still being able to spend time in the great outdoors.

A Short List of Outdoor Structures

Outdoor structures offer endless possibilities when it comes to sizes, shapes, construction materials, and intended uses. However, there are a few that are hardcore backyard staples, to the point that some might argue a home is completely bare without them. Of course, the outdoor structures you choose will depend greatly on how you use your home, but here’s a short list to get you started.

  • Patio covers. Already have a patio, but the sun’s putting the kibosh on your outdoor plans? It’s time for a patio cover. These very simple structures are essentially a roof for your patio, designed to seamlessly marry with your existing rooflines and structures. If a permanent roof isn’t possible, consider adding a shade sail, which can provide a great deal of shade with very little cost or maintenance.
  • Pergolas and trellises. Looking for a fancy place to run some plants for natural shade with the added benefit of flowers, fruits, or foliage? Pergolas and trellises provide spaces for plants to climb, as well as providing broken shade throughout the day. The tighter the construction, the more shade you’ll have, but if you plan to train vines on your structure, leave ample room for growth.
  • Decks. Of course, not all the best structures are aerial. There’s absolutely nothing like a nice deck. You get all the benefits of sitting outside without all the mud, grass, and bugs. What’s not to like? Decks allow for a lot of creativity and customization, too, with common add-ons like benches, fancy railings, and multiple levels to create even more interest.
  • Screen porches. If you already have a deck or a patio that you like, and a roof on it, you can easily convert it to a screen porch with a few weekends’ worth of effort. With a screen porch, you can still enjoy the great outdoors, but without having to worry about stinging insects or debris that may be blowing on the wind.
  • Gazebos. Looking for a freestanding structure away from your house? A gazebo or shelter may be a good choice. These largely open buildings feature a floor and a roof, and not a lot else, making them ideal for shady spots or poolside buildings. Hang a hammock inside and you’ve got the ideal summer relaxation spot.
  • Recreational sheds. By now, most of us have heard of the “she shed,” but freestanding recreational sheds can be hideouts for anyone. Not a garage and not a house, a freestanding shed is a structure that allows you to create any kind of year-round space you can imagine. Add electricity and a heater, and even winter’s chill is no match for your outdoor studio space or reading room.
  • Greenhouses. If you’ve got a green thumb, a greenhouse may be the perfect addition to your garden space. Even a small greenhouse structure will give you more room for plant-based experiments and somewhere to house your sensitive plants through the cold of the winter. Be sure to choose a model with excellent ventilation!

Now That You’ve Chosen a Structure…

… who’s going to install it? Although many outdoor structures come in kit form, they can be pretty complicated to build, especially by yourself. But don’t sweat it, your HomeKeepr community can help! You can find the best handymen, general contractors, or other backyard specialists in your area. Before you know it, your outdoor structure will be ready for all sorts of summer fun!

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley

Original post: http://WinWithVin.kw.com/blog

When Should You Get Your A/C Ready for Summer?

It may still be just barely spring, but summer is right around the corner. For a lot of homeowners, that means flipping the heat to air conditioning, and, potentially, discovering that their air conditioner isn’t working properly. This is why it’s so important to check your air conditioning system now, before you really need it. Not only will you be able to beat the rush for repairs, you’ll also get extra time to clean and prep your unit so it can perform at its very best all summer long. So when – and how – should you get that A/C ready for summer?

Now Is The Time for A/C Prepping

You can run a simple check on your air conditioner any time the weather is above about 50 degrees or so. You don’t need to leave it on all day, just long enough to make sure it’s blowing cold and there aren’t any weird noises or smells coming out of the outdoor unit. If you try this when it’s too cold outside, some units will freeze up, others may simply refuse to kick on at all, and both of these situations may lead to your calling out a repairman for absolutely no reason. But it’s also important to not wait too long to check your unit for problems, since HVAC experts get booked pretty solid as soon as it starts to heat up. Unless you really love waiting for service, check your unit when the days start to warm, but aren’t unbearably hot. You should be able to find someone to make a repair in a reasonable time if you beat the rush.

How to Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Summer

Although much of what it takes to repair an air conditioner unit requires a licensed expert, there are plenty of things a homeowner can do on their own to get their system ready. Don’t ever take covers off of HVAC equipment without specific training, but here are some things you can do right now:

  • Trim the weeds. Weeds growing into and close to your outside air conditioner unit can interrupt the air flow that makes it possible for your unit to work efficiently. With the breaker turned off, remove any vines that have climbed inside, trim any weeds growing around the unit, and take advantage of this time to spray the weeds within a foot of the unit with a hearty weedkiller.
  • Rinse the condenser unit. The condenser is that unit that sits outside and hums along during the summer. If you look closely, you can see that the main part of the equipment is a huge bank of tiny metal fins set inside a metal cage. These fins are how the condenser removes heat from inside your home, so it’s really important to keep them clean and exposed to the open air. It’s an easy process to clean them, though it can be time consuming. Simply hose the entire unit down, both inside and out, until the water running out of the unit no longer has dirt or grit in it.
  • Check your condensation line. Another pain point for air conditioners can be the condensation line. Even though you may use this when your heater is running, a great deal more humidity is removed from room air during the warmer seasons, so a problem may not be glaringly obvious through the winter. You’ll find an access at or near your furnace that will allow you to run a little bit of vinegar or bleach through the line to destroy algae and mildew that can block up the works.
  • Clean your filters. You should be cleaning or replacing your filters at least once every three months, but sometimes those things slip a bit during the winter. Now is the time to get back into better habits. Check your filter and if there’s any discoloration or visible dirt, clean or discard it, depending on the type you have. Repeat this monthly through the end of the summer for optimal air flow to your unit.

Looking for Reliable A/C Help?

Look no further than your HomeKeepr community where you can find some of the best HVAC experts in the area for your big repair jobs. It’s just as easy to find someone who can clean your unit and get it ready before summertime rears its ugly head.

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley

Original Article: https://winwithvin.kw.com/blog

Ever-Rising Home Prices Hit a New All-Time High

The meteoric rise in home prices isn’t slowing down. The national median home list price hit $370,000 in March—a new record high, according to a recent realtor.com® report. The increase in prices, a 15.6% increase over last year, is a direct result of the severe shortage of properties on the market just as first-time and trade-up buyers seeking larger homes have flooded the market.

There were only half as many homes for sale in March as there were at the same time last year—when the country was already suffering from a gaping dearth of homes for sale. That translates to about a 52% decline year over year, or about 117,000 fewer homes going up for sale each month, compared with recent years. That’s partly a result of sellers holding off on listing during a worldwide health crisis and builders who haven’t been able to keep up with the demand.

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley

To read more, check out the full article here: https://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/home-prices-hit-new-all-time-high/

Is This the Year to Repaint Your Home?

There’s nothing like a postcard-fresh paint job on your home to make it look and feel brand new again, but it’s unlikely you’ll need a new coat of paint every year. So how do you know when it’s time to repaint? Let’s walk through some of the biggest signs that it’s time to break out the buckets and brushes.

The Purpose of Paint

Although paint is nice to look at, and the color you choose definitely tells a story and lends a mood to the whole neighborhood, paint serves another very important function as a waterproof barrier. For many homes, especially those that are older, there’s very little standing between the siding and the living space. This is why having a good paint really matters. Paint waterproofs that siding, and helps prevent moisture from crossing from the outdoors inward. This, in turn, helps slow the damage time brings, like wood rot and damage from insects drawn to a moist environment. So even though it’s a lovely thing to look at, paint is really one of your best defenses against the elements.

Painting isn’t limited to wooden siding, though. You can also paint many types of siding considered non-paintable with the right kind of preparation and primer. So, if your house is covered in a horrific color of vinyl siding, for example, all hope is not lost.

How to Tell It’s Time to Paint

Knowing when it’s time to paint your house is as much an art as a science. There are definitely things you can look for that indicate the time is coming near, but you’ll also need to balance that with the expense and effort involved. Here are a few clear indicators to watch:

  • There’s chipping paint. Most people know that chipping paint is a sign it’s probably about time to start considering a paint job. But there’s a fine line between a little bit of acceptable flaking and serious chipping. If you’re only noticing a few very small flakes falling off here and there, you should be working on picking a new color, but you don’t necessarily need to stop everything to get to painting. On the other hand, if big chips of paint are shedding off in multiple places, you’ve probably waited too long.
  • Your waterproofing is failing. If your paint no longer keeps water from soaking into your siding, and instead it seems to be absorbing more water, your waterproofing has failed. Generally, you want water to bead up on your siding, then work its way down and onto the ground. If the paint is so far gone that your siding is soaking up rainwater, a paint job is needed ASAP. Waiting risks further, more serious damage.
  • There’s damage. Visible siding damage is a good sign it’s time to paint. After all, after you’ve fixed the holes in the siding created by woodpeckers, or by falling trees during storms, you’ll want to ensure the paint matches. Sometimes you can get away with just painting that side of the house, but large patches or siding replacements will usually not match existing paint, even if you use the same bucket. UV light breaks down the pigments quickly; just how quickly depends on the colors you’ve chosen.
  • You’re ready for a change. Look, you can paint your house just because you hate the color. It’s totally legit and, frankly, can be a much easier process than painting to deal with damage or worn out paint. Just make sure you’re preparing the surface just like you would for a coat of paint meant to be a repair so it’ll adhere properly.

A Little Painting Help From Your Friends

If it’s time for some paint, but you don’t have the energy, skills, or schedule opening to do the job yourself, you’re in luck. Your HomeKeepr community knows lots of great painters. They can even help with those not-so-typical paint jobs you’ve been thinking about! Just look for a recommendation and you’ll soon be on your way to fresh paint, and a fresh jewel in your neighborhood.

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley

Blog originally appears: https://tinyurl.com/3zm7u76n

Is Your Yard Equipment Ready for Spring?

As spring finally starts to arrive, there are likely a number of tasks around the house that will be kicking off in the coming weeks. Whether you’re mowing the lawn, prepping the garden, or refreshing those flower beds, it’s time to break out your equipment and get to work. One question, though: Is all your yard equipment actually ready for spring?

If you’re like a lot of people, at the end of the year you just clean up your equipment a bit and put it into storage. If you don’t do anything else with it, though, this can actually shorten your equipment’s life and increase the likelihood of breakdown during the busy spring period. Before you dive into all those spring tasks, here are a few things you should do to keep your mowers, tillers, and everything else running smoothly.

Change Those Fluids

When was the last time you changed the oil in your mower? How old is the gas in your trimmer? As the spring arrives, you should start your equipment out with fresh fluids. Not only will this ensure that your engine is properly lubricated when you start your various spring tasks, but it will also prevent potential problems that can result from old gas breaking down over the long winter months.

Depending on the equipment you use, this can also be a great time to lubricate other moving parts or grease any bearings that might have dried out while things were in storage. Check your owner’s manuals to see if there are any other fluid or lubrication recommendations for your equipment while you’re working on your spring prep. If you can’t find the owner’s manual, check the manufacturer’s website or other online resources for tips.

Sharpen Your Blades

There are many pieces of yard equipment that feature blades or other cutting surfaces. These can get dull as time goes by, and in some cases may even pick up a little bit of rust over the winter depending on where you live. This can cause some serious problems heading into a new year, resulting in uneven cuts and potentially even contributing to blade damage or other failures. Before you fire things up for the first time this spring, spend a little time sharpening those edges to make sure that everything’s working like it should.

Of course, not all blades can be revived by simple sharpening. While you’re checking them out, look for cracks or other signs of damage in the blades that can’t simply be buffed out or sharpened away. If a blade is cracked or damaged, replace it completely instead of trying to sharpen it. Cracked or damaged blades can break while under the stress of use, potentially causing damage or injuries in the process. The cost of a new blade is a small price to pay for staying safe while working around the house.

Other Equipment Maintenance

Depending on the equipment you have, there may be other maintenance tasks you need to perform as well. Changing oil filters, fuel filters, and spark plugs are great beginning-of-spring maintenance activities that go a long way toward getting your year off on the right foot. If you use electric equipment, test-charge any batteries to make sure that they can still hold a good charge after being in storage for the winter. Pneumatic and water hoses should be checked for leaks before use, and any nozzles or sprayers should be cleaned to remove dust and other gunk.

If you find that there’s more to do than you have time for this spring, you might also consider hiring a landscaper or other professional to cover a few of your normal spring tasks. HomeKeepr can help you find the perfect pro to meet your needs. Sign up for a free account today to find professionals who have the skills (and the equipment) to take some of these tasks off your plate… and you can bet that their equipment will be well-maintained and ready to roll.

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley

Blog originally appears: https://tinyurl.com/k2m8cc75

Seed Starting 101

Planting a garden in the spring is a great way to have fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Even homeowners who don’t have space for a large garden plot often plant a few things in containers or small raised gardens on their property. While it’s not quite time to start planting in a lot of places, that doesn’t mean you can’t get the jump on gardening season by starting your seeds. Depending on where you live and what you’re planting in your garden, there are a few different ways to get seeds started for your garden this year.

Starting Seeds Indoors

Before starting your seeds, be sure to read the seed packet to get an idea of how long before planting you should get your seeds started. In many cases this will be six to eight weeks, but it could be longer or shorter depending on exactly what you’re growing. In addition, the packet should give you an idea of when is best to plant based on where you live; you can then time you seed starting based on that guideline.

Prepare a growing medium by using a seed-starting mix or other potting soil. Break it apart to loosen it, then dampen it slightly with some water. Avoid using outdoor garden soil or soil with added fertilizers, as seeds won’t need the extra fertilizer or organic materials from the soil and having too much of these can actually cause problems.

Once you’ve prepped your growing medium, fill some seed-starting trays or other containers until they’re around 2/3 full. Place a few seeds in each cell or container, covering them with more of the dampened mix. Add just a little bit of water, then place the containers in a warm, sunny place. Cover them with a thin sheet of plastic wrap or plastic seed-starting domes to help control the humidity until the seeds sprout.

Starting Seeds Outdoors

Some plants, including a lot of flowers and certain vegetables such as squash and beans, do better when started outdoors. In many cases these are referred to as “direct sow” seeds because they are typically planted directly into the ground instead of being started in pots. This is often the case with plants that germinate and grow quickly, since they can rapidly outgrow indoor growing spaces. If you want to get a jump on these seeds, you’ll need to start them outdoors.

If you have a greenhouse set up, you can start a variety of seeds in it, including seeds that you might otherwise start indoors. Even if you don’t have a dedicated greenhouse set up, cutting the bottoms off of gallon water or milk jugs can still give you the benefits of a greenhouse without the dedicated structure. Failing that, you can also use plastic sheeting to construct a greenhouse tent to achieve the same end.

If you don’t wish to plant directly into the soil, use small individual flowerpots filled with the same seed starter material you would use for indoor starting. This provides more room for root development while still fitting inside of a greenhouse (either static or makeshift) for warmth and weather protection. Once the plants start to outgrow their greenhouses or fill out their pots, they are ready to transfer to the soil.

Planting Time

When it comes time to plant seeds that were started indoors or in pots, the process is pretty simple. Indoor plants should be placed in a partially shaded area that’s protected from the wind for a few hours each day, gradually exposing them to more sunlight and wind for around seven to ten days before planting. Once you’re ready to actually plant, dig a hole slightly larger than the container you started your seed in and add more starting soil to the bottom of it. Remove any excess sprouts from each starter, leaving the strongest plant as you transfer the plant and its surrounding soil to the hole. Fill in around it with soil, then water.

Growing a garden can be very rewarding, but there’s a lot of work involved early on. If you need help getting started, need additional plant starters, or need some assistance building a raised garden, HomeKeepr is there for you. Sign up for a free account today to connect with nurseries and other pros in your area who can give you all the help you need.

#WinWithVin #KWMerrimackValley #Herbs #SeedStarting

Originally posted at https://blog.homekeepr.com/seed-starting-101?sharedby=vincent-russo