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Peppersaren’t toopeppy

Question: I’ve grown bell peppers for years. This year the leaves are light yellowish-green instead of the usual dark green. Otherwise the leaves look normal — no spots or holes. The plants aren’t growing quite as fast as usual either. Should I fertilize? — L.D.

Answer: Lots of rain and saturated soils can lead to abnormally light green leaves on vegetables and flowers. Check to see if the roots of your pepper plants are healthy. With your fingers, carefully dig into the soil near the plant. You should find lots of cream colored roots. If not, root damage from wet soil and associated root rots are to blame for the light colored leaves and poor growth. There is no cure for root rots. If the roots are not badly damaged the plants may still produce peppers but not as much as previous years.

The other possibility for light green leaves is low levels of nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen (first number on the fertilizer bag) washes deeper into the ground with heavy rainfall, which moves the nutrient out of the reach of most vegetable and flower roots. If the roots are healthy, you might try fertilizing the plants to replace lost nitrogen. Damaged roots will have difficulty taking up supplemental nitrogen, so additional fertilization will be a waste of resources.


Peppersaren’t toopeppy

Question: I’ve grown bell peppers for years. This year the leaves are light yellowish-green instead of the usual dark green. Otherwise the leaves look normal — no spots or holes. The plants aren’t growing quite as fast as usual either. Should I fertilize? — L.D.

Answer: Lots of rain and saturated soils can lead to abnormally light green leaves on vegetables and flowers. Check to see if the roots of your pepper plants are healthy. With your fingers, carefully dig into the soil near the plant. You should find lots of cream colored roots. If not, root damage from wet soil and associated root rots are to blame for the light colored leaves and poor growth. There is no cure for root rots. If the roots are not badly damaged the plants may still produce peppers but not as much as previous years.

Prune, protect, divide, deadhead: Tips for keeping the garden in shape

Summer is here, finally, and here are some garden tasks/tips to keep the garden in the best shape.

— Following a spate of wet weather, organic mulches may grow a flush of mushrooms. These simply grow on decomposing plant material and cause no harm to the mulch or to plants. Simply knock down the mushrooms and rake the mulch a bit to loosen and aerate it.

Tiny worlds: Exploring the magic of fairy gardens

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Some people are downsizing their gardens big time. They’re moving from whopping perennial borders to terrariums, tiny Zen gardens and fairy-gardens-in-a-pot. In these little landscapes, a watering can is typically the size of a quarter and a layer of moss serves as ground cover. They require little maintenance and can be enjoyed on a deck, patio or balcony.

The world of itsy-bitsy settings attracted Katie Elzer-Peters as a child. “My grandma and I used to make shadowboxes and mouse houses, and I had an American Girl doll that I loved,” she said. “I couldn’t buy a whole lot of stuff for my dolls, so I made my own things — dishes, furniture, clothes, quilts — you name it.”

Cutting back: A summer solstice assessment of the garden

The summer solstice is my traditional time to do a garden assessment. It seems I’ve spent all my time weeding in the past few weeks, so now it’s time to step back and refocus. I need to decide what needs to be done to have the best garden for the rest of the summer.

In most cases, this means starting to cut things back. I become fairly ruthless because I know a little unhappy-looking plant now will produce a beauty to finish out the summer. Most plants simply need stems cut back to an existing leaf, and they will send out new growth from that point.

Do roses change color?

Question: A year ago I planted two climbing roses with beautiful yellow flowers. The plants are blooming now, but one of them has red instead of yellow flowers. Another rose, which I?ve had in my garden for a number of years, used to have coral flowers, but last year the flowers turned red. Do roses change color? Is there a special fertilizer I should use to change the flowers back to their original color? — T.R.

Answer: Floribundas, hybrid teas and climbers are almost always grafted. A bud (i.e. scion) of an ornamentally desirable rose is inserted into a cane of another type of rose (i.e. rootstock), near the ground line. After the bud grows, all the stems of the rootstock plant are cut off near the graft union or joint. You can usually see the graft union if you look near the junction of the roots and stem.

Fresh colors: Summery, fruity hues perk up decor all year

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Ah, summer — the season when oranges are transformed into ice pops, limes add zing to slushies, peaches become pies and berries take over nearly every dessert from June to September.

Citrus and other fruity hues look fresh and energetic in summer decor, and there’s no need to remove them once fall approaches. Their upbeat nature makes them a smart choice all year round.


Love My Ride

Parts & projects

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

About seven years ago, Kenosha resident Steve Schneider held a family vote to determine whether he should keep or sell his 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, which he had owned for more than 30 years.

Deere Hunter

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PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Ever since his childhood, John Serzynski has been a big fan of John Deere tractors and riding mowers.

“My stepfather (George Paulausky) owned a landscaping business, and I used to play out in the sandbox all the time, all day long, with my cousin,” said Serzynski, a Waukegan, Ill., native who moved to Kenosha County in the late 1990s.

‘Kenosha Cadillac’

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

A bit of nostalgia prompted Peter Wenglowsky to obtain his 1961 Rambler Classic about 20 years ago.

Wheeling through Wisconsin

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BY JEREMY REEVES

jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Mercedes-Benz makes driving painless

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If there’s anyone who appreciates having a luxurious car like a black 1999 Mercedes-Benz S420 more than David Gregorski, good luck finding him.

Gregorski, 56, was a local barber for 28 years who was forced to retire about a decade ago because of back problems. He’s since had eight back surgeries.

Masi the Matador

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Jim Masi, his older brother Jeff Masi, Dennis Curnes and Butch Funk were all Kenosha teenagers in the early 1960s. And their passion was cars.

Taking flight: ‘As soon as the wheels leave the ground, it’s exhilarating’

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Whenever John Munson gets behind the controls and lifts off in his 2006 AMD Zodiac CH601XL factory-built, special light-sport aircraft, he experiences emotions unlike any other.

“As soon as the wheels leave the ground, it’s exhilarating,” said Munson, 66, a Kenosha resident. “You’re airborne, and it’s a whole different feeling. It’s the most enjoyable recreational activity I’ve had. I like it a lot.

British imports become part of family

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

KENOSHA — What started as a gift for his wife, Mary, more than 30 years ago has evolved into a type of extended relative for Kenosha resident Jim Hawkins.

Skully’s ‘Last Ride’

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Kenosha resident Jason Beiser, 30, has been welding for about seven years and started his own business, “Skully’s Welding,” a couple years ago.

Firebird fulfills promise

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

SALEM — It took Mike Vandeville about 25 years but he finally made true on his pledge to himself.

A lifetime of Nashes

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — When it came to his first car, Eric Nelson Jr. didn’t have many options.

Proud Centurion

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Kenosha resident Florian Kreft, 84, has owned about 25 cars in his lifetime, covering most American manufacturers (Chevy, Ford, Buick, Chrysler and Dodge).

Jeff and Mary Albrecht’s 1991 Four Winns 325 Cabin Cruiser

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Whether on Lake Michigan, inland lakes or even the Gulf of Mexico, Jeff and Mary Albrecht have been boating enthusiasts since they were kids.

‘Regular guy’ drives a Mercedes

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Wayne Walker isn’t the type of person you’d immediately expect to own a Mercedes Benz, especially one imported from Germany.

This ’72 Chevrolet Monte Carlo even better than first one

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

SALEM — Judy Grasser said her husband of 26 years, Mike, isn’t much of a sentimental type.

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