Wellness Words


Light words to use to lift you, your clients, colleagues, friends, and family’s mood:

  • Elated
  • Strong
  • Lively
  • Generous
  • Positive
  • Vibrant
  • Happy
  • Successful
  • Laughter
  • Create
  • Amazing
  • Enjoy
  • Smile
  • Confidence

Even though these are just words, once they enter the mind it becomes a ripple effect on your mood.

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Caruso Garden Tips: Cool-Season Greens


Inspired to try growing edible greens this fall? You don’t need much space or time to do it. Plant them in garden beds or grow them in containers to make harvesting easy. Greens can be grown from either seed or seedlings — the latter will give you a jump-start on the growing season. To get started, use this guide to select the mix that best suits your taste.

Choosing Your Greens

When choosing varieties to grow, you’ll want to consider how you’d like to use the greens (in salads, cooked dishes or both) as well as your available space for planting.

Cool-season greens fall into two loose categories: salad greens you would generally eat raw, and cooking greens that benefit from being braised, sautéed, stir-fried or steamed before eating.

Lettuces

Head-forming lettuces, such as romaine, butterhead and iceberg, are great for adding crunch to salads and should be harvested once the heads begin to form.

Loose-leaf lettuces, like ‘Oak Leaf’ and ‘Salad Bowl’, have a looser form and can be grown tightly spaced — great for a container or packing into a bed. Lettuces are all frost-tender and need to be either picked or protected with a frost blanket if night frost is predicted.

Great for: Salads, sandwiches, lettuce wraps, grilling. Example: romaine.
Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade. Partial shade is best in hot climates and to prevent bolting.

Endive and Escarole

For the pungent varieties, like curly endive, also called frisee, leaves harvested when young are less bitter, and adding leaves of any maturity to soup makes them taste very mild. You can harvest the leaves using the “cut and come again” method by cutting the whole plant down to about an inch; it will regrow in a few weeks.

Great for: 
Salads, soups
Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade. Partial shade is best in hot climates and to prevent bolting.

Arugula

This spicy green is a popular choice for adding bite to salad mixes and sandwiches, and as a topping for pizza. Arugula is easy to grow both from plant starts and seeds, and can be harvested using the “cut and come again” method or simply by snipping leaves. Either way, it’s best to harvest arugula often — if left unclipped, the plants can reach 3 feet tall and the leaves become more peppery and bitter.

Great for: 
Salads, sandwiches, pizza topping
Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade. Partial shade is best in hot climates and to prevent bolting.

Chard

 

One of the most dramatic of the edible greens, chard is easy to spot in the garden with its brilliantly colored stems in yellow, orange, red and pink, and with its upright habit and broad leaves. Harvest leaves for cooking when they’re about 8 to 10 inches long, cutting from the base of the stem. Snip small, immature leaves to add to salad mixes.

 

Chard plants can get big — up to 3 feet tall and 1½ feet half wide. Plant them at the back of an edible greens border or in groups of about three plants in a medium container, or work them into ornamental garden beds that receive full sun to partial shade.

 

Great for: Sautéing, braising, adding to soups; can be used in salads if harvested young

Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist

Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Spinach

This mild-flavored tender green is a favorite of home gardeners. Spinach is loaded with nutrients, and growing your own can be a great way to work more antioxidants and iron into your diet. Baby spinach leaves sold in bags or loose in a bin at the market are all very young — harvest when leaves are only 2 to 3 inches long if you want similar ones at home. Otherwise, pick the outer leaves of spinach when they’re 3 to 4 inches long or longer, and the leaves will be tender and the stems slightly crunchy.

Great for: 
Salads, soups, pasta dishes, quiches, smoothies
Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade. Partial shade is best in hot climates and to prevent bolting.

Kale

A few years ago kale would have firmly been considered a cooking green, but the popularity of raw kale salads proves that the leaves can be just as tasty eaten raw — particularly after being rubbed with olive oil. In mild-winter climates it can be grown all winter long. Harvest leaves when they’ve reached 8 to 10 inches long by cutting at the base of the stem. Snip small, immature leaves for adding to salads. Mature kale plants can reach 3 feet tall or higher, and 1 foot to 2 feet across. If you plan to grow kale over many months, be sure to give it a spot with plenty of room.

Great for: 
Sautéing, braising, adding to soups or smoothies, making salads with young leaves
Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade. Partial shade is best in hot climates and to prevent bolting.

Mustard Greens

These peppery greens can add a punch of flavor to salad mixtures or a mellower taste to soups. Choose from a wide variety of greens with oval-shaped leaves and serrated edges, in colors from bright green to deep purple. To cut down on the pungent flavor, cut greens when leaves are only 2 to 3 inches long; otherwise add larger leaves to soups. Mustard greens can tolerate some frost but should be protected in prolonged periods of cold.

Great for: 
Salads, soups
Water requirement: Regular, keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Mizuna

Technically a type of mustard green, mizuna is known for its deeply serrated leaves and peppery flavor. Grow green and purple varieties to add color, pungent flavor and interesting texture to salad mixes. Mizuna can be grown similarly to loose-leaf lettuce, packed tightly into a container or garden bed. To harvest, cut as many 2- to 4-inch-long leaves as you need, or use the “cut and come again” method.

Great for: 
Salads, soups
Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade. Partial shade is best in hot climates and to prevent bolting.

Pak Choi

Also called bok choy, this leafy member of the cabbage family is a popular choice for many Asian dishes. The leaves are juicy and tender, with spinach-like flavor and crunchy stems; some come in a rich bronze-purple color. Harvest 2-inch-long leaves to add to salads, or wait until leaves are 3 to 4 inches long to harvest for soups and stir-fries.

Great for: 
Salads, stir-fries, soups, braising
Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade. Partial shade is best in hot climates and to prevent bolting.

Beet Greens

You can use the “cut and come again” method, harvesting leaves when they’re only about 2 inches long to add to salads. This method will delay the formation of large beets underground. Alternatively, grow beet plants as you would grow them for the roots (allowing 4 to 6 inches between plants), and harvest a few outer leaves from each plant throughout the season. Once you eventually pull up the beets, save the greens for adding to soups or braising.

Great for: 
Salads, soups, braising
Water requirement: Regular; keep the soil moist
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Maintenance For Cool-Season Greens

 

Most cool-season greens benefit from some frost protection on cold nights, except as noted, such as with kale and mustard greens. Tender greens, like lettuces, require it. You can invest in a cold frame to extend your growing season, or simply cover tender greens with frost blankets at night, removing the covering in the morning. It’s best to use frost blankets with some type of support (PVC pipes, curved metal poles or wooden stakes) to keep the blankets from touching the leaves.

Source: Houzz.com

Caruso Home Maintenance Tips for Fall


Can you believe fall is almost here? Time flies! The beginning of fall marks the perfect time to give your home a maintenance checkup.

Inspect and Repair Your Roof

Your roof endures a lot throughout the year, and regular maintenance is essential to prevent major damage and costly repairs. Experts recommend having your roof inspected twice a year, ideally during spring and fall.

  • Look for loose, missing, curling, or blistering shingles, and replace any missing or broken shingles right away.
  • Check for soft spots, which indicates rotting wood beneath the shingles.
  • Reseal flashing around chimneys, vents, and skylights with new caulk, or replace them if they are beginning to rust.

NOTE: If you have a tile roof, talk to a professional before climbing up on your roof as tiles are fragile and can break easily.

Seal Out Air Leaks

Cracks and gaps around your home’s exterior allow air to seep in and out, resulting in wasted energy costs and consumption. This also allows moisture to enter your home, which can cause mold, mildew, and wood rot.

  • Prevent potential air leaks by applying weather-stripping around windows and door frames, and caulk any openings where plumbing, wiring, air ducts, and AC units enter the house.

Repair Cracks in Driveways and Walkways

Allowing cracks in your driveway to grow not only opens you up to more damage and expensive repairs, but it also diminishes your curb appeal. During harsh winters, your driveway is susceptible to cracking caused by freeze/thaw cycles.

  • Fix cracks in driveways and walkways before the end of fall.
  • Use a water-based acrylic filler to fill fractures in asphalt, and
  • Use a cement mixture or vinyl patching to repair cracks in concrete.
  • If necessary, apply a sealer to prolong the life of your repairs and help reduce future damage.

Have Your Furnace Serviced

Furnace maintenance is an item that’s commonly overlooked by homeowners, but it shouldn’t be.

  • Having your furnace checked by a professional once a year ensures it’s working properly and efficiently and also helps to control heating costs.
  • Furnace checkup can identify deadly carbon monoxide leaks or potential fire hazards.
  • Replace air filters, which should be done at least every three months.

Tend Your Garden

Fall is just as important a time for gardening as spring and summer. A little bit of prep work in autumn can make things easier come springtime and provide you with a more beautiful, vivacious garden.

  • Plant spring bulbs, such as tulips and irises, as well as cool season plants.
  • Remove weeds, dig up non-hardy bulbs, remove annuals, till the soil, and rake mulched leaves onto your flower beds to act as a fertilizer.

Ready Your Lawn

If you want a healthy, attractive lawn in the spring, aerating and fertilizing in the fall are a must.

  • Rent an aerator or hire a lawn care service to take care of it; just be sure to use a plug aerator over a spike aerator, which actually removes plugs of grass instead of simply poking holes.
  • Fertilize your yard to allow your grass to absorb vital nutrients and promote root growth. Doing so will result in a healthier, greener lawn in the spring.

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