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Springtime Brings Home and Garden Inspiration


The first burst of warm sunny weather always seems to inspire people to do wonderful things to their homes. And whether they’re embarking on a major spring cleaning project, or doing some light construction and painting, or landscaping and gardening, most can benefit from visiting the 2024 Spring Home Expo this weekend https://deexpos.com/home-expos.

It takes place at Cape Henlopen High School on Saturday, April 6th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, April 7th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can get a lot out of the experience, even if you just want to learn about ways to make your current home more comfortable and attractive. Here are some of the major categories of products and services offered by more than 100 exhibitors:

Learn about homebuilders and renovators who can build you a new home or make important improvements to the one you live in. 

Get smart about financing by talking with on-site mortgage brokers, insurance firms, and financial advisors. 

Create comfort with the right home heating and air conditioning system, and with the latest and most environmentally-sound ways to save money on utility bills. 

Get some beautiful inspiration for your kitchen and bath renovations by checking out the latest appliances, plumbing fixtures and design ideas. 

Get a lot more enjoyment from the outdoors by learning about all kinds of paving, landscaping, pool, and planting options.

Purchasing a new home?  As always, that's what we are here for!  You don't need to attend the expo to contact us and get expert advice on Delaware communities and homes, including new construction.

Admission is free, and there’s lots of free parking. You’re also just steps away from fun restaurants, including Crooked Hammock https://www.crookedhammockbrewery.com/, Big Oyster Brewery https://www.bigoysterbrewery.com/, and all of the wonderful places in downtown Lewes. 

And while we’re on the topic of gardening, there’s also inspiration to be had in very helpful story by Kate Morgan in the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/home/2024/04/01/beginner-guide-starting-vegetable-garden/ It’s one of the most practical guides I’ve seen for growing the vegetables that thrive in our Mid-Atlantic climate. Here’s some of the great advice she shares:

Start now. The best time to begin a garden in our climate is in the early spring. Try to plant when you’re fairly sure there won’t be any more overnight frosts. And don’t plant if the ground is still too cold – the author suggests that if you sit on the ground and it feels cold during the day you need to wait. 

Find the sunniest spot. If possible, put your garden in an area that gets 8 to 10 hours of sun a day. 

Tailor your garden to the space you have. If you have a big yard and big ambitions, you can carve out space on your lawn or create raised beds. You can also grow a lot of vegetables – such as tomatoes, peppers, squash and peas – in containers if you live in a townhome or condo https://growinginthegarden.com/20-best-vegetables-for-container-gardening/

Choose the right soil. The best results come from rich and loose soil without rocks or roots. And you want to make sure you have adequate drainage. Planting in a raised bed is a good way to do that. You’ll probably also need to feed the soil with organic fertilizer. 

Pick the right plants. As I noted in last week’s post, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has created a map that lists different growing zones across the county, along with average first and last frost dates https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/. The article notes that even longtime gardeners can benefit from looking at the map if they haven’t during the past 10 years or so because climate change is altering the zones. 

The author also recommends that beginning gardeners start with vegetables that are the most resilient, including cherry tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini, hot peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, garlic and bush beans. She recommends staying away from broccoli and onions. 

Give your plants the best chance to survive. You can reduce fungal and bacterial growth by not planting vegetables too close together. You can reduce weeds with ample mulching. Net covers can help protect your garden from birds and squirrels. And planting marigolds, geraniums, petunias and several kinds of delicious herbs can help deter bugs and other pests https://www.masterclass.com/articles/garden-plants-that-repel-pests-naturally.

The author ends with some other good advice for your self-esteem. The best way to become an expert gardener is with years of practice, so your first few seasons are a great learning experience. And if you don’t get bountiful harvests during those first few seasons, keep in mind there are fabulous farmers markets all over Delaware, and many supermarket chains that source from local farms. 

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