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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
September 26, 2012     The New Era Paper
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September 26, 2012

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:1 =, "r,, - September 26, 2012 FaLL lloML aNb GaRBEN Page 11 Tired of tilling? Consider a different method By Tiffany Woods Oregon State University Writer Now is the time to plan your no-till gar- den for next year. "The crux of no-till gardening is to pile on enough mulch so that weeds don't ger- minate and grow up through it," said Barb Fick, a horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service, who has kept her large vegetable garden viable with the no-dig method for years. To establish a new no-till garden in the fall or winter find a sunny spot and outline where the new beds will be. Use a garden hose or rope if the borders are curved. Be- cause you won't be tilling, you won't need to confine your garden design to straight lines. Be sure to lay out the vegetable beds so that you can easily reach any part of the bed from a path while kneeling. It's important not to step into the bed and compact the soil. If you put your new no-till garden into an existing lawn and want the paths to remain as grass, don't forget to make them wide enough for your mower. After that, start heaping on the mulch. Fick prefers to pile on aged mint straw in the fall. "Whatever you use, don't skimp on mulch," she said. "A heavy layer not only keeps weeds from growing, it also keeps the underlying soil moist, greatly reducing the amount of watering you need in the sum- mer." If you use leaves, grass clippings or straw, you might need as much as eight to 10 inches of them, Fick said. If you use cardboard or newspaper as mulch, you'll need less of it, she said. You'll want to add a couple of inches of organic matter over it though. Over time, the 'mulch layers you keep adding will help loosen up the clay soil. The soil formed by the addition of so much organic matter will likely be loose+ full of earthworms and teeming with healthy mi- crobes that make nutrients available to your plants. When you're ready to plant in the spring, push aside the mulch layer where you want to put your seeds or transplants. For the first year or so, you may need to dig out old roots and add topsoil or compost in the hole where you want to plant. An advantage to no-till is that you turn over a small amount of soil only where you'll plant seeds or starts. This keeps old weed seeds down in the soil, mak- ing it harder for them to germinate. If you're growing large transplants like melons, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, in the spring you can lay down heavy black or red plastic to warm up the soil faster, con- serve moisture and reduce weeds. One cau- tion though: depending on its weight, plas- - mulch Photo courtesy EESC Leaves make excellent mulch for no-till gardens, as shown in this enclosed garden bed. tic sheeting eventually breaks up into tiny pieces as it deteriorates from exposure to the sun. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation - the best ways to water a no-till garden - should be placed under the plastic. As your crops come to an end, incorpo- rate the dead vegetation into the mulch. - "Adding organic matter or mulch is the best way to insure a healthy garden," Fick said. "If the prospect of a vegetable garden blanketed under huge mounds of organic matter or mulch doesn't fit your vision of a perfectly tended garden, remember that when soils bake in the sun, weeds grow and plants become dehydrated and die." For more gardening tips from the OSU Extension Service, go to http://extension.or- egonstate.edu/gardening. creases the odds of the tree's fail- ure or death; the amount of dam- age a tree suffers from root loss depends in part on how close to the tree the cut is made. Also, remember that tree roots larger than 4 inches in di- ameter are usually structural roots, and cutting them creates a potential for the tree to fall over later on. Again, be careful not to smother the roots by adding soil. Tree roots need air to breathe and grow and it takes only a few inch- es of added soil to kill a sensitive mature tree. Consult a certified arborist It's not usually wise or fea- Following storms, beware 'helpful' unsolicited contractors Extreme storms may be Ameri- ca's new norm so homeowners must doubly protect against bogus repair work by shady contractors, warns the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. Climate change means more frequent and intense storms may be coming, reveals a new study. The biggest rain and snow storms are getting bigger, jeopardizing more property and lives across the U.S. Most home contractors are hon- est. But extreme weather will at- tract more shady operators whose bogus repairs can cost homeowners thousands of dollars, the Coalition warns. Routine home fixups and re- modeling also invite seams. Homeowners must be alert to costly repair seams, starting now. Rainstorms, hail, tornadoes and wildfires already are causing consid- erable home damage this year. Some may reflect climate trends, and more disasters are likely before the year ends. Dishonest drifters often go door-to-door, espe.cially after disas- term Fixing bad repair work also can take months of headaches, and the victim's homeowner policy may not cover fraudulent repairs. Roofer inquiries have ranked No. 1 for five straight years by the Better Business Bureau. Homeowners can better ensure that repairs are done right by know- ing how to find an honest and repu- table contractor. Six Worst Scams • Disappearing downpay- merit. The contractor demands a large downpayment, then disappears after doing little or no work. • Shoddy work. The work is low quality, using cheap materials. You may have to redo the entire job, often at your own expense. • Phantom damage. A con- tractor invents storm damage. Nick- ing sidewall or roof shingles with a screwdriver to mimic hail damage is one come-on. • Worsens damage. Con- tractors enlarge holes in a roof to increase their billings. Billing for phantom work is another ruse. • Pay your deductible. Offer- ing to pay your insurance deductible is a con to lure your business. • Insurer go-between. The contractor elbows in as the go-be- tween with your insurer. You lose control over your valuable claim. Six Ways to Fight back • Avoid door-to-door drift- ers. Stick with reputable contractors based locally or in your region. • Verify license. Contact your state and local licensing agencies to ensure the contractor is licensed. • Contact local Better Busi- ness Bureau. See if the contractor has a history of complaints, and a BBB review. • Work with your insurance company and agent. Don't let the contractor do the talking. Work di- rectly with your insurer and agent to ensure the repairs are done right and covered damages are paid. • Insist on a contract. Have a signed contract specifying exactly what work will be done, plus the price and repair schedule. • Watch for red flags. No business cards or referrals_.EO. Box instead of a street address...van looks rundown and has no company name...poor personal appearance... can't show proof of workers com- pensation insurance or surety/per- formance bond. Santiam Feed and (;arden 367-5134 Need Water Services? sible to try and save every tree. If in doubt, consult with your city forester or a certified arborist to help you with the evaluation pro- cess. For more information about tree care, or finding a certified arborist, visit www.treesaregood. corn or www.pnwisa.org/hire-an- arborist.html Cynthia Orlando has a de- gree in forest management and is a certified arborist and public affairs specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry. ( 1141 Long Street • 541-367-2938 Large, Fall Mums Variety of colors $4.99 EA. I Like-N00 APPLIAN E, Inc. - Reconditioned large appliances • New & used parts • Fast repairs • 90 day warranty on ALL • Free pick up of un-wanted appliances 2711 S Main Road, Lebanon, OR 97355 (541) 259-1131 I Thursday - Saturday 9-5 By Cynthia Orlando Oregon Department of Forestry Building or remodeling? Protecting your trees now can save you time and money later. Trees provide a vast array of benefits including clean air and water, lower crime rates, even higher residential and commer- cial property values. What are the more common ways trees become damaged dur- ing construction, and what simple measures can we take to protect them? Torn bark and branches Trucks, graders and equip- ment can injure a tree by tearing bark, wounding the trunk and breaking branches. These injuries often prove fatal later on. By all means, work to pre- vent trucks and machinery from injuring trees' crowns or trunks - plan ahead by talking to all work- ers on site about tree protection. Hard ground, fences and more Compaction of soil is a se- vere problem where trees are concerned because their roots need oxygen, nutrients and water to grow. That's why, if soil be- comes compacted around a tree, it's only a matter of time before the tree will decline and die. Placing 4 to 6 inches of mulch or wood chips into the "drip zone" around the trees will help, as will placing construction fencing around all trees that are to remain. The "drip zone" is the circle that could be drawn on the soil around a tree directly under the tips of its outermost branches. Watch out for roots Protect the tree's roots, which extend quite a ways out from the tree. A tree's roots are found mostly in the upper 6 to 12 inches of the soil, and in a mature tree, extend far from the trunk; in fact, roots can be found growing a distance of one to three times the height of the tree. Cutting or disturbing a large percentage of a tree's roots in- When doing building projects, factor in impacts on nearby trees