DIY and latest topics
DIY and latest topics
Spring is a great time to spruce up around the house and the easiest way to give your home a facelift is to paint. A good cutting-in brush, and a roller make painting a quick and easy project. But, who knew that there were so many different roller covers? What you are painting will determine the nap (thickness of the roller cover) you need to do the job. Roller covers come in different colors and materials and rollers create a smoother finish and better coverage than brushes.
Rough Textured Surface
If the surface is rough like a textured wall or ceiling, stucco, bricks, decks or masonry, you will pick up and distribute the paint best with a ¾ inch roller cover. The extra depth will pick up more paint and reach into the crevices for full coverage. It also holds more paint so you don’t have to go back to the pan as often.
The 3/8 inch nap is most often used for smooth surfaces like walls and ceilings. It is also used for painting some wood surfaces like shelves or boards before they are turned into projects. Small ¼ inch covers produce the smoothest finish and are best for furniture, metal, and anywhere where you want a very smooth finish.
Rollers are generally 9 inches long, 6 inches long, 4 inches long, or 2 inches long. These sizes correspond to the projects you are painting. If you are painting a large surface, the 9 inch roller will cover the quickest. You may use the other sizes to fit the width of your project or reach into areas where the longer cover won’t fit. In some cases, such as painting a dresser or piece of furniture, you might use several sizes.
Synthetic covers like nylon, polyester, and microfiber work very well for water-based latex paints. If using oil paint, a natural material like mohair or sheepskin works best because it picks up more paint. Blended materials such as a wool/polyester blend covers can be used with latex or oil paints. They have the absorbing ability of wool, and the longer life of the polyester material. There are also foam roller covers that work quite well for a seriously smooth finish.
Basil grown near tomatoes creates a strong scent that deters many pests. Basil loves heat and needs to be planted after nighttime temperatures stay at 55 degrees or above. The many varieties of basil will create a patchwork in your garden. Plant in full sun and fertile soil and you don’t need to add fertilizer. With shallow roots, basil needs damp soil, but only occasional deep watering. Snip out the growing tips to make it bush out and produce more leaves. Try these basil varieties: Purple Ruffles, Genovese Compact, and Italian Large Leaf. Makes awesome pesto.
Oregano is great for flavoring Mediterranean dishes. The Greek and Italian Oregano varieties are the most flavorful. Avoid fertilizing and don’t overwater. Harvest before the plant flowers. You can cut a leaf, or a stem, or cut the entire plant down to about two inches from the ground just before flowering and again about a month before first frost. Use leaves fresh or dried and stored in a jar.
Leaves of this plant are called cilantro but the seeds are known as coriander. They like rich soil, so before planting, amend the soil with some good compost. They don’t like being moved, so if you buy plants, plant them once and leave them there. You can plant from seed and repeat seeding every two to three weeks. This plant doesn’t like fertilizer but requires evenly moist soil. Use immediately after cutting as it loses flavor if stored.
Rosemary is a very fragrant herb resembling a small evergreen. The leaves are used to flavor stuffing and roasted meats. It is a very drought tolerant plant and loves hot dry climates and hates wet feet, so plant in well-draining soil and don’t overwater. Used for many centuries as a medicinal plant, it is reported to support memory.
This flowery, feathery, herb is essential if you are making pickles, seasoning seafood, and making chip dips. Dill attracts many beneficial insects to your garden with its aromatic scent. This plant grows best if left alone. Harvest the seeds by gathering the seed heads, putting them upside down in a paper bag and shake the seeds into the bag. Try Dukat, Hercules, and Fernleaf varieties.
Determine What Features You Want.
Is fragrance important? What about disease resistance, repeat blooming, or thorns vs no thorns? If you are planting it near a sidewalk or entrance to your house, thornless might be right. Do you want it to bloom repeatedly? Do you want to have to deadhead the blossoms? Do you want bare root or a rose already potted? Is it easy to grow or does it need some tending?
Where Will You Plant It?
Knowing where you want the rose to live will help you determine what type rose to buy. If you want it to grow up a trellis, you need a climbing rose. If you want it to cover the ground, you need a ground cover rose. If you want to create a hedge, you need a shrub rose. If you want fragrance, be sure the label states that it is fragrant.
Selecting Your Plant
Not all classes of roses have the same kinds of flowers. Some have petals spreading out rather flat from the center core and look nothing like the full, many petaled, cup like roses we traditionally consider a “rose”. Check the picture on the plant’s tag and read the tag completely to be sure you get the petals you want. If the tag has a name for the type of rose, you may want to research its information online before buying.
Planting Your Rose
Roses develop very strong roots and those roots grow deep, so when planting a bare root plant, dig the hole at least 18-24 inches deep and wide. Put six inches of well-composted manure or bagged compost into the hole and form a cone in the center of the hole. Gently arrange the roots around the cone and fill in with soil. If it is a grafted plant (which many roses are) be sure not to bury the graft union (where the new and old stock were attached). For roses in containers, plant no deeper that the top of the soil in the pot. Roses will benefit from a little bone meal added to the hole at planting time
Roses need Nitrogen for shoots above ground, Phosphorus for root growth and Potassium for the whole plant. This is the N-P-K you see on fertilizer products. Look for fertilizers that include other nutrients like sulfur, boron, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc. Plants use these trace elements along with N-P-K to stay strong and strong plants resist disease and insect damage better. You have two choices on types of fertilizers: organic or inorganic.
Organic fertilizers include manures, compost, alfalfa, bone meal, fish fertilizer, and kelp extract. Organics are better for the environment, improve soil texture and feed soil micro-organisms, but are usually more expensive.
Inorganics are synthetic or man-made fertilizers and include most of the products you will find at the store. They can be more concentrated, but less expensive than organics and are available in water-soluble, granular, and slow-release. They do not help condition the soil, however.
Whatever you choose, there is a rose that fits your needs.
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