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Reducing disease in the vegetable garden

Question: Last year I planted a small vegetable garden, but the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables had spots on the leaves and some of the fruit. I talked with some experienced gardeners and I?m sure my plants were diseased. Is there anything I can do to prevent diseases in my garden this year? I don?t want to use sprays if I don?t have to. — E.C.

Answer: I?m glad you contacted me before the growing season because prevention is the best way to reduce disease in your vegetable garden.

Garden location is of primary importance in disease reduction. Vegetable gardens should receive eight to 10 hours of direct sunlight per day and have good air movement in and around beds. Soil should be well drained and fertile with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. Plants growing under optimum conditions resist disease better and are more likely to recover than plants already stressed by poor conditions.


Reducing disease in the vegetable garden

Question: Last year I planted a small vegetable garden, but the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables had spots on the leaves and some of the fruit. I talked with some experienced gardeners and I?m sure my plants were diseased. Is there anything I can do to prevent diseases in my garden this year? I don?t want to use sprays if I don?t have to. — E.C.

Answer: I?m glad you contacted me before the growing season because prevention is the best way to reduce disease in your vegetable garden.

Things to avoid in the landscape

With the warm weather, we’re all eager to get out into the garden and landscape. I’d like to give a few reminders about some things to avoid in the landscape as you eagerly start nipping and tucking your yard. Sometimes we just don’t realize what we might be doing wrong, so perhaps I can help prevent costly mistakes with a little advice.

The first landscape practice I see frequently is the mulch “volcano.” This is quite common in public landscapes that are managed by non-professionals, but I’ve seen a good bit of it in home landscapes as well. The intentions are as good as the mulch, but the method leaves a bit to be desired. When mulch is applied to a circle around a tree trunk, it should be about three to four inches deep and should taper down toward the soil level as you move in toward the trunk, the opposite of a volcano. Mulch heaped against the trunk or stems holds moisture and can cause fungal problems.

Leaks not the only sign a roof might need repair

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A harsh winter has taken a toll on many roofs.

Maybe there’s a tell-tale leak, but sometimes problems are harder to spot.

Grow up: You can build a vertical planter with a shipping pallet

Have you ever considered building and planting a vertical garden? Not just a trellised plant, but an actual vertical planter. A popular method uses a shipping pallet as the container. With a few simple materials, you can have a beautiful, utilitarian planter to hang on a wall or stand up next to a wall.

When choosing the pallet, make sure to find one that is not broken and is made of pine or other wood that has not been pressure-treated. There are actually some oak pallets out there, but you’ll have to do some searching. Clean it up and remove any loose wood or splinters.

Help your staircase rise to the top

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An entry hall offers a home its interior curb appeal. And while the front door, foyer dimensions, flooring, furnishings and colors can combine to provide a gracious welcome, the staircase is key in making a statement.

Yet too often it’s among a home’s last-decorated features. “So many clients say we have to get to it, but put it off until stage two,” says suburban New York designer Lori Elder Dyner, who writes a blog, Return to Home Interiors.

Your list of spring tasks

We made it to April! Not that it won’t get cold again, but winter’s back is broken and now we can really look ahead to the gardening season. Let’s put a list of tasks on the fridge so whenever we have half an hour, we can accomplish something in the garden.

— Gently remove dead foliage from around perennial crowns (no need to remove it entirely). Cut back to the ground all perennials and ornamental grasses that were left standing for winter interest.


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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