Not true! Nita-Jo Rountree, garden designer and Past President of the Northwest Horticultural Society, will show how to use garden design principles to successfully incorporate a variety of roses into mixed landscapes and garden beds at a free seminar at Molbak’s on Saturday, February 25th, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
For more information visit http://www.molbaks.com/events.html.
Fruit tree basics
It’s hard to beat fresh fruit from your own tree.
Join Seattle Tree Fruit Society volunteer, Greg Giuliani at Molbak’s for a free seminar, Grow Your Own Fruit, on Saturday, February 25th, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Giuliani will focus on apple, pear, plum and cherry trees and will cover how to select the perfect fruit tree and variety for the right location as well as the importance of cross-pollination.
He’ll also share tips on how to successfully plant, prune and stake young trees and basic first-year care.
A short grafting demonstration will follow. For additional information visit www.molbaks.com/events.html .
For additional information about these free seminars or other events at Molbak’s, please call (425) 483-5000, 1-866-466-5225, or visit the Events page at http://www.molbaks.com/events.html
Molbak’s is located at 13625 NE 175th St., Woodinville, WA 98072.
Dale Nelson is owner and founder of Farmhouse Kitchens, a full-service specialty food development company in Washington State. Nelson has 25 years of experience in the food industry and a true passion in the artisan food environment. He serves as a volunteer on the Board of Directors for the 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living in Woodinville. As a faculty member of the School at 21 Acres, Dale is teaching a five week course titled, Introduction to Processed Foods, beginning on March 1. A free preview class of the course is offered Thursday, February 23, from 6:30-8:30. (For more details visit, www.21acres.org.) We caught up with Dale recently to ask him some questions and to hear his thoughts about the market potential for local processed foods.
Q: The world of specialty foods seems to be exploding. Everywhere you look there seem to be gourmet foods on the shelf. Why do you think this is?
A: Consumers are very interested in knowing where their food is produced. The very best gourmet foods are often made with the best ingredients, which I find are usually sourced directly from local farms. That’s not always true, but informed consumers know to read labels and see where the ingredients were grown. In fact, in this economic downturn when families are cutting back on household spending, the amount that people are spending on specialty foods is still going up – researchers are finding that people are selecting nice small gourmet treats, which is more affordable than larger splurges, and enjoying these delicious foods.
Q: Knowing where you food comes from, and “buying local” is really appealing to consumers these days. More and more farmers are considering ways to process their fruits and vegetables into value-added items and selling them at farmers markets, cooperative grocery stores and even at traditional venues. Can you describe what the future looks like related to this?
A: The future definitely looks like it will continue to show an upward trend for value-added processing of local farm products. Farmers are looking for ways to diversify their businesses and to lengthen their seasons. They can do this by processing their abundance in the high growing season into wonderful, flavorful products that consumers can buy year round.
Q: There are many people who seem to have special recipes that they like, and that they say everyone requests that they make it over and over again. Should they consider taking this on as a business venture?
A: It all depends. Does she have a reliable local source for high quality ingredients? Are other people, not just family members, willing to purchase the products? If so, and she’s able to spend focused time and energy thinking through all the steps that it takes to bring a good product to market, then I would highly encourage her to pursue the idea. Customers want new products and they are very interested in buying from local cottage industry businesses.
Q: If someone does decide to take this on, what are the first steps she needs to do to make this a reality?
A: Just like starting any business, it’s important to conduct proper business plan research and to pursue related topics such as local and state licensing, food safety and how to source ingredients. If someone is just starting out on this venture, it would make sense to begin thinking about marketing strategies and product development. I would add that the sooner someone focuses on how to distribute and sell their product, the sooner they will have business success. It’s good to think through how and who is going to be running the business on a day-to-day basis. All this planning and effort definitely takes some resources to get started; money and labor, to name a few.
I must stress that I strongly encourage the startup business to talk to others who have gone before, as there is much wisdom to gain from other people in the specialty food business.
With unusual colors and foliage, orchids have captured the hearts and imaginations of people for hundreds of years. Known for their long-lasting, gorgeous blooms, they make terrific gifts and are an exotic, elegant addition to indoor décor. By choosing a healthy plant, and giving it the care it needs, you can enjoy orchids for months on end. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Tips for buying:
1. Buy your orchid from a reputable nursery.
2. Look for a plant that is in proportion to its container. Make sure the plant’s roots are established in the media, and its foliage is clean, unblemished, medium green and free of pests.
3. Look for lustrous blooms held well above the foliage on a strong, well-supported spike.
4. Choose a plant that has some unopened buds at the top of the spike so that you can enjoy the flowering for as long as possible.
Tips for growing:
Orchids, like all plants, need the right balance of light, air, water and food to grow and flower well.
Light: Orchids love bright light. How much is too much? Look to the foliage for the answer. If the foliage is yellow-green and has strong upright growth, it is getting adequate light. If the foliage is dark green, it is getting too much light and won’t flower.
Air: From root to bud, orchids need plenty of air to thrive, though they dislike drafts. Make sure your orchid is planted in a potting media that offers exceptionally good drainage, and is capable of holding sufficient moisture to support the plant’s needs. It’s best to grow this plant in orchid containers that are designed to increase air circulation throughout the roots.
Water: Orchids should be watered just as they dry out. To see if it’s time to water, insert a finger into the potting mix. If the mix is dry, water the plant until the water drains freely from the drainage holes. This soaks the potting medium and flushes out salts that naturally accumulate. At a minimum, try to thoroughly water your plants at least every four to seven days, depending on the season and dryness of the home. Plants may require more frequent watering when blooming, and while growing, generally during the spring and summer months.
Fertilizer: Orchids will grow and flower beautifully without fertilizer, but you’ll get better results with some level of feeding. Typically plants are fertilized every two weeks in the fall and winter, and once a week during the summer. Choose a well-balanced fertilizer and follow label instructions on the packaging. Be sure and water the plant thoroughly before applying fertilizer.
Our homes are supposed to provide shelter and most would expect that keeping warm, dry and breathing healthy air while inside are a given. However, Mother Nature tests your home constantly, and in the winter months we are inside with the windows closed more often than not. Your home can and will make you sick if not taken care of. Just as you would not expect your car to run well without a tune up or for your teeth to be clean and healthy without a trip to the dentist, your home deserves attention to retain its value (it will surely devalue if dilapidated) and keep the inhabitants safe. Below are the top three areas (in my opinion) to watch in your own home and some of the signs that you have a problem.
1. Moisture – Where there is moisture, there is the potential for mold and mildew and the opportunity for water to damage your home. I, for one, get a terrible sore throat and the beginnings of a headache within about 10 minutes of entering a home with water issues that have resulted in mold. More often than not, the inhabitants are typically not aware that this may be causing a health issue because they have gotten used to the smell and or they feel better once they get to work and forget about it. What are some of the tell-tale signs? Stains on bathroom floors, around the toilet and at the entrance to your tub or shower (some floors have pressboard which may contain formaldehyde); cracked or missing grout in showers; windows in shower areas have a high failure rate for leaks; sweating windows and doors; chimney flashing (you’ll need to look in the attic for this one); overflowing gutters and signs of rotting fascia board or soffits; cracked or peeling paint and drywall around windows usually means the exterior caulking has failed. Keeping your home dry is paramount to a healthy environment. Make a habit of checking these areas regularly and address issues as soon as they arise to avoid costly repairs, not to mention being a trigger for asthma and many allergies. Treating only half the issue will not fix the problem. Hire a professional to do the tasks that are out of your expertise so that the work is warranted and the problem is eradicated.
2. Ventilation Fans – They don’t work if you don’t use them! Some common reasons you may not be using them are because they sound like a small jet taking off, or they are just underpowered and do not work.
You will find ventilation fans in most homes in the kitchen, laundry room and the bathrooms. Basically, anywhere there is moisture in the air, there should be a fan. If you live in an older home, you may be relying on a window to move air and might consider adding fans. One of the quickest ways mold and mildew collect are from hot water stagnating in a room and having no place to go. You may notice circles on the ceiling (yes this is mold whatever the color), drip stains on the walls and peeling paint on the ceilings. In the kitchen, not only are you working with hot water/steam, pan frying and deep frying move grease into the air and without a collection device to move the air, you are breathing it. You can reduce mold/mildew and improve your indoor air quality by addressing the fan issue and using them. I recommend installing Panasonic Whisper Fans with at least a 30 minute timer.
Ventilation fans must be vented to the outside, so if you are in the older home, check your attic to be sure it is not just sending hot air up there to collect. Consult your contractor or electrical supplier to properly size the fan for the size of your area and the application.
3. Drainage and Crawl Spaces – Water, basements and exposed dirt are a combination for extremely poor indoor air quality. Every year, it is a good idea to inspect the exterior perimeter of your home for water issues. You are looking for clogged downspouts, downspouts that drain towards the house and not away, landscaping that slopes towards your house and any standing water issues. Signs of an issue inside your home are wet carpets, the smell of mildew, cracks in the drywall or buckling millwork. If your home smells musty or has an odor resembling the garden, you have a crawl space issue. The crawl space should be completely covered with a vapor barrier and forced air ducting inspected to be sure it is sealed. A dehumidifier may do wonders for removing the excess moisture from the air. Contact your contractor or a waterproofing specialist to discuss and implement a full solution.
Your home is your haven. If you are more aware of the obstacles, you are more likely to head them off at the pass.
Nip Tuck Remodeling is a woman owned and operated general contracting company located in Woodinville.
Woodinville resembles a winter wonderland on a beautiful snow-filled day. Like many local families, we are taking advantage of the rarity to have fun. Regrettably for some, soon the snow will melt and life will return to normal. That is the time to be on top of any snow related mold and water issues.
We asked Craig to help us understand the potential risks when a lot of snow accumulates within a short period, especially to our roofs:
Question: If I have a typical pitched roof, all of the melted snow water should easily flow to my drainage system, correct?
Craig: The majority of our service work after a snow storm has to do with what is called the stack effect; The system to constantly circulate heat/air from the main home to the attic and out an exhaust vent on top of the roof. If the vents are blocked, moisture and dew can accumulate in the attic areas.
Question: What are some indicators that point to the potential of blocked vents?
Craig: In certain homes the moisture has accumulated in the attic, causing dripping water. An obvious sign is dripping water through upstairs can lights.
Question: Are their less-obvious signs of trouble?
Craig: It’s worth a trip to the attic to check for problems less easy to detect in the main house. We recommend that you open the attic access door to look for issues such as nails protruding from the roof, dripping water and otherwise wet nails. Insulation can also be damaged by drips of water coming from the nails and or accumulating and dripping from the sheathing. Check for little holes and uneven changes in sheathing color.
Question: If I do discover a problem, how do I choose a water/mold damage company?
Craig: The first step is to call your insurance company and also a water damage company.
I would use this checklist:
1. Guarantee — Look for a company that provides a guarantee for mold remediation after the water dry out is complete.
2. Experience — Make sure that the water damage/mold remediation company that you choose has the training and the certifications that are necessary for the type of job they are doing for you.
3. Containment — A 1-inch by 1-inch area of mold creates millions of spores that are released into the air during the cleaning process, which can be very dangerous to the health of everyone in the home.
Only water damage companies that utilize what’s called a HEPA Negative Air System to direct the contaminated air should be the ones you use.