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Mildew hits basil

Question: I love basil and have grown it for years without problems. This year I don’t know what happened. Some leaves started looking a little yellowish. Shortly after black spots appeared on the leaves. Some of the basil plants are older and a couple are quite young but all are infected. What is happening? R.C.

Answer: Basil downy mildew is a widespread problem this summer. I’ve seen infected basil samples from home growers with a few plants and from commercial producers with hundreds of plants.

The first symptom of basil downy mildew is sections of light yellow discoloration between large leaf veins. As the disease progresses the yellow sections turn very dark brown to black. Infected leaves may be cupped, puckered, or curled downward. When you turn an infected leaf over, the underside will have fluffy gray mass of spores. (Downy mildew and powdery mildew are different diseases with different causative organisms. The fuzzy spore structures in downy mildew are only on the underside of the leaf in contrast to powdery mildew diseases which produce white to gray fuzz on the upper and lower leaf surface.)


Mildew hits basil

Question: I love basil and have grown it for years without problems. This year I don’t know what happened. Some leaves started looking a little yellowish. Shortly after black spots appeared on the leaves. Some of the basil plants are older and a couple are quite young but all are infected. What is happening? R.C.

Answer: Basil downy mildew is a widespread problem this summer. I’ve seen infected basil samples from home growers with a few plants and from commercial producers with hundreds of plants.

Garden myths

We all want to be the best gardeners we can be, and sometimes it’s tempting to jump at something that seems to be the answer to our problems, even if it doesn’t make logical sense. Here are a few garden myths that float around periodically, and the actual science (or lack of it) behind them.

Why your next great home accessory might come from the sea

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Under-the-sea themes are a constant of coastal design. But one marine motif especially transcends styles, as a rich boost to almost any kind of decor, and that is coral.

We love its connection to the sea as well as its organic feel — all branchy, tangled tentacles, tubes and plumes extending. Brain coral with intricate mazelike patterns. Soft coral sea fans, some with a lovely transparency and leaflike veining. And, of course, its namesake hue, which is a brilliant accent in neutral interiors.

Perennial beauty

I’m not giving up on warm weather, as we all know that September can hold some interesting days. This time of year the excitement of school beginning and the occasional red leaf peeking through in the woods make it a spectacular time. Best of all, there are so many wildflowers and perennials in bloom that it’s hard not to appreciate the beauty along the roadsides, in our perennial gardens, and best of all in the prairie.

The perennial sunflower is in full bloom right now. This 6-foot native has golden yellow flowers whose seed heads are prized by finches and other songbirds. There are many cultivars of this plant that can be introduced into the garden, but a simple walk along any road will give you a glimpse of how beautiful our native wildflowers can be.

Planting garlic

Question: Can I still plant vegetables in my garden? J.W.

Answer: Mid-September is late for planting most vegetables but you might be able to successfully grow leafy greens and similar frost tolerant crops. Choose varieties with a seed-to-harvest interval of 45 to 50 days or less. Some crops, like leaf lettuce, can be harvested before full maturity by cutting off side leaves as they grow. Floating row cover, low hoops, or similar frost protection can extend the growing season into November.

Tips for fabulous fall tables

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One of the best places in your home to showcase the bounty and beauty of autumn is on your dining table. It’s a ready-made stage that’s just waiting for a show-stopping presentation that celebrates the colors, textures and iconic images of fall.

— Consider mixing rustic and refined elements together to create a multi-layered display that’s rich and rewarding to view. A casual table can set the tone, then build from there. Start with a dramatic centerpiece, tall and breathtaking, but not so large as to make cross-table discussion impossible.


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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