Tuesday, March 22, 2016

HOME ORGANIC GARDENING - 101


Have you thought about your Garden needs yet?  Yes, this is the time! I have begun to work in the garden with weeding and already had my soil delivered. I have been busy preparing for this years harvest season!  And so should you!



Did you know that each year your Garden Soil must be replenished?  Your plants drain the nutrients out of the soil and if you don't replenish them your garden will not be as strong or vibrant!  
Order your new soil each year first thing! It is BEST to order Soil from a Local Landscape Company (Soil,Stone, and Bark companies).  You will pay usually between $35 and $45 a yard. If you order 5 yards or more most all companies will waive that Delivery Fee, saving you $35- $50 - so ask!  Extra soil is great to have on hand.  I suggest adding to all of your plants at the beginning of each season. This will help them to thrive and stay healthy as well. 

I make a habit of throwing any veggies of bad or over ripe vegetables on the ground in my garden each season. The reason why is I will have plenty of volunteer plants by doing so.  I also take my Halloween pumpkins out to the Garden and let them decay there.  I will enjoy many pumpkins which I can then can or freeze for recipes later in the year. 

If you eat a Cantaloupe or Honeydew for breakfast, pull out the seeds and simply lay them on a paper towel. Once seeds are dry you can place them into a baggie and then plant at the beginning of the season.  Same method for Butternut Squash and Watermelon. Use these money saving tips!  It's so easy!!


I hope this weekend you will begin your gardening needs for this season, and start preparing your garden.  The time to plant will be here before you know it and you will be READY! I have always planted earlier than most of my friends. I have had great luck with an early garden and enjoy a longer growing season. Rule of thumb is AFTER the last Frost.  But I usually can judge after most of the rain is gone it is time to get those plants in the ground.I think a light rain or two is better for the plants for they won't be challenged after being transplanted by the hot sun immediately.  This allows the roots to develop and take hold before they are hit with that hot sun!  





 I have a long time Client who swears by my Tomatoes!!  About 3 years ago he had his wife stop by on the way to his having Surgery to pick up some Tomatoes, for he didn't want to miss out on them. LOL.. I gladly deliver tomatoes to him, he's a long time past client and I enjoy his appreciation for my gardening.  What wonderful treats you will find each day in your own garden! It's like Christmas each morning and such a fun delicious surprise!




 Happy Gardening~ 

      Leslie  


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Friday, March 11, 2016

One of the #1 Best Tips I can give you ....

I have been Flipping Homes and helping Homeowners Sell their Homes for 16 years now locally. Return on Investment is what we all want to concentrate on for making money. 

Landscaping is a BIG part of home value and something to think about when you FIRST buy your home, not when you are ready to sell it.  Here is a SIMPLE but one of the BEST tips I can share with you, IRONITE!  

A great friend of mine shared this secret with me many years ago, (thanks to Lorraine) and I have been using it ever since. I apply this like clockwork, Quarterly in my yard. Apply this to your Trees, Shrubs, Flowers, to dramatically increase their potential growth and health as well. I think of it like STEROIDS for plants!!  I swear by it. It can be used on most all things. But I use it mainly for the 3 that I just mentioned. 




You can purchase Ironite at Lowes, Home Depot, and Green Acres, as well as most any home store that I am sure carries it or Nursery. However, I find it least expensive at Home Depot and Lowes. Ironite can be purchased in liquid form or granules. I find the granules are the best bang for your buck so I have been buying those. Just grab a small handful and apply to the base of your trees shrubs, etc and water. Just nothing edible, I believe in NO CHEMICALS in my garden.  Organic gardening ONLY.

Right now you can apply it and Mother Nature will water it for you - so GET OUT THERE and get your Ironite today and apply it in your yard and watch how much this helps increase the growth, it's crazy - awesome!!

I always tell my Clients one of the FIRST things you should do on your NEW home is PLANT TREES as SOON as you move in. Since trees take the longest to grow, you need to do it immediately. I don't suggest purchasing small tress yet a medium tree. If you need to block traffic or a 2 story home behind your home, buy a good size tree or only the New Buyers when you sell it 10 years down the road will see that improvement. Lol...  

Most ALL companies will give Contractor Discounts and usually Home Supply Stores as "Green Acres" will give a Landscaping Contractor an even better discount. So go get a Landscaper to add you to their account and save up to $50 off on a $250 Tree!  I did this last year - bought $3000 worth of trees!  Made a HUGE difference in my yard. In just 1 year my trees are double the bulk that they were a year ago, if not triple!! Yes I said TRIPLE!

Think about what you are needing and why. Look to see which Trees grow the fastest and are best situated for your needs. Are you hiding a busy road, providing shade, wanting fast growth, drought tolerant, yes research what you are thinking and keep in mind about our environment.  I like buying the established trees.  I find you get what you pay for also when it comes to trees. A small tree can take 5 years to mature, so not a good investment if you have an immediate or big need. As I said do your research and then select the BEST you can for your needs. I just got a GREAT deal at COSTCO on trees however they were Sold out in days. So when you see them, JUMP to take advantage of those deals!!

Color is a BIG consideration for your yard. Providing an assortment of color is best for making a GRAND yard. You will enjoy and add value as well. I love Purple Plum trees and get the fruitless ones for less mess. I just like the color against the rest of my yard.
Also make a good Plan.  Group certain varieties. Make a design on paper and google landscaping ideas.  HGTV is a great resource for design and google your purpose. Fast growing, Shade provider, drought tolerant, the internet is a great resource. Use it!!

OK I hope you will be purchasing your IRONITE this weekend and take advantage of all this FREE water we are enjoying.  =)  Have a fantastic weekend and remember I am here to answer any of your Real Estate questions, and of course - your BUSINESS!  Many Thanks!
Leslie





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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Curb Appeal...and how to raise your value and your neighbors as well

I like to hand deliver my Newsletters in my marketing areas at least once a year.  Most Agents don't do this but for many reasons I think this is mandatory. It gives me the chance to learn so much about the area that I am marketing and someday sell in. This knowledge is so important. I learn the good areas, the not so good areas (lol), and much about the people who reside there thus allowing me to know about who my Buyers will be for more effective marketing.

While I am out delivering, going door to door, walking across your driveways, to your front door, looking at your house, I learn so much.  This enables me to have the knowledge to pass onto you about simple improvements for CURB APPEAL. Below are my suggestions for improving and raising area values as well.  Who doesn't want to make more money on what their home is worth and there are very simple things you can do NOW to improve this.

1. CLEAN up your Yard, Driveway, Landscaping, gutters, fence line, everything looks so much better when it is clean! Get rid of Oil stains on your driveway, rid the weeds in your yard. Yes, we may have a drought however maintain the weeds by mowing them down. Some homeowners just let their yards grow weeds 3' high. This is really unfair to your neighbors and their decreased home values by not maintaining your yard - so lets all do our part.


2. IMPROVE your Front Door. Paint. Replace your Lock and Door Handle. Again CLEANING goes a long way. Replace the door with a more stylish door. Get rid of all the CLUTTER at your front door and walk way as well. Those pots or statues may have been pretty years ago but old dead plants and faded out fixtures should be tossed!  LESS IS MORE, keep it simple.  A wreath of some type is always nice as well, just make sure it's not your Xmas wreath and it's still there mid Summer! A clean front door entry FREE of any debris and clutter is best...
Don't pick a BRIGHT color that will shock the neighborhood - be careful!  This will NOT add value but will take it away instead.  You can pick a nice color that will brighten your doorway up without it degrading your home.  When you go to your local paint store to be safe - look for the brochures/charts featured on the shelves that have beautiful color combinations that flow nicely together to safe and not sorry!  
I love a Red door but be careful NOT to go too bright and make sure it matches your combination of colors again. Many colors do work together so just make sure you have a winning one. 
  
3. DRY ROT repair or replace.  It is a cost to upkeep but worse if you don't maintain your home. It can spread and sometimes that spreading will invite Termites to jump on board and then you REALLY have a mess.  Termites need to be treated by usually spraying a chemical to kill them.  It is NOT cheap for the treatment or repair. So the best measure is to call a Handyman out and have that damage repaired while it is still cheap! Staying on top of this is the only measure. Make sure to walk your home each Spring and make a List of items that need attention.  I have names and numbers of people I use in my daily work to help you out as well. These people are inexpensive and their work is good.  Just give me a call and I can refer you.  I want to help you to maintain your home - it is the biggest investment in your retirement, make sure to keep it maintained, so it can later take care of you!

Dry Rot often is a result of earth to wood contact which can easily be avoided by installing metal flashing to protect the environment by eating up your investment. When you FIRST see a sign of any of this, CALL a handyman out and have it taken care of for it will grow, and eat up the value of your homes potential.  I was recently called out on a potential Listing and I can't tell you how disappointed my Seller was to learn by NOT maintaining his home, he now decreased what value he had hoped for. It now was going to take away from the dollars in his pocket when selling his home.  All because he let that dry rot go many years before. If you think you can't afford it now- just wait till you go to sell or need to replace it - it's going to cost you MUCH more! Get it done TODAY.

4. PAINT - Yes, I know HGTV teaches us to be our own designers however bright colors are not good color choices. Lol..  Many people have become their own designers and this is not a good thing. I feel sorry for many of the neighbors of these kind folks that are only trying to make their home look really nice - however they must be color blind.  Oh my... it will also DECREASE your homes value. So be careful when you decide you are a great Designer. I say if it were a pair of pants and you would have to think twice about wearing that color or only wear it in a Tropical location - it is NOT a color to paint your home!!  Why spend money on something that is NOT going to come back to you in return??  Be careful and instead add bright beautiful flowers instead.  You will thank me on this one.



5. LANDSCAPING AND BARK. Yes we throw some bark out there and plant some beautiful flowers then forget it. Years later the plastic underneath the Bark is showing thru, weeds are growing up as well and the once beautiful landscaping has now died off leaving an awesome MESS to be cleaned up.  Also the winter months of rain have now carried your beautiful design down the gutter with the rains. So now would be the time to take a look at it. I think first you must make a good plan, then MAINTAIN that plan.  If you put bark in your yard, remember it is something that needs to be maintained as well. You can watch HOME DEPOT and they always carry a Sale around Spring and Summer where you can pick up 4 bags for $10.  Crazy cheap! Just watch for those Sales and then spruce it up.
6. COLOR to your yard will always give it the MOST APPEAL and is the best choice for improvement.  Plum Trees are one of my favorites along with Redwoods and Privets to block neighbors or provide privacy. The privets have red leaves in the Spring so they can be very colorful and grow fast as well. 

7. TREES Be careful as not to plant trees to close to cement, remember these have large root balls and especially near a pool - these trees will cost you money later when they have uplifted your cement and you now have a trip hazard and have to not only take the tree out but repair your cement. Remember tree roots spread wide and are often very deep as well. 

The least expensive way to take care of these trip hazards are to repair it by patching it with tar or by shaving it down with a rented machine from your local Equipment Rental Supply Store. You may not realize if someone trips on that sidewalk you may be sued!!  So maintain the area around your home. 
  
8. BACKYARDS LAWN vs GARDENS. Even in a drought there are great ways to have a beautiful yard. Tear out the lawn and build a simple Garden Box in front of your main window so you can also enjoy the flowers and trees from inside your home. I love a yard with decomposed granite and a raised bed of flowers and a few trees. And think of the money you will save by not paying for water.
I've long been a fan of having just 1 yard for the kids to play in being front or back and having a garden instead.  I am an AVID GARDENER.  I love it!  My stress relief from Real Estate when the deals get tough (which they most often do).  I am a fan of the raised bed and can away those veggies for my Winter months when they are impossible to find. Save on your grocery bill by planting and canning your own food supply and be healthier as well. 
I heard from an older couple once that they put a new 2x6 around their beds every few years so as they grew older, they didn't have to bend down so far to reach those beds and saved their backs. I have always LOVED that concept and plan on flowing their advice, how nice to save our poor backs. 
9. GARDEN MAINTENANCE You MUST bring in NEW DIRT each year. Many gardeners don't know this or follow this step and have terrible production or sick plantings.  The plants suck the nutrients out of your soil each year and that now needs to be replenished.  Sounds logical huh, but most of us would never think of that.  Lol.. So grab some miracle grow planting soil, or if you are like me and have a LARGE garden - get your dirt delivered from your local landscaping supplier. They usually offer a deal as well on over a certain amount the fee delivery fee is free so INQUIRE for the best deal. ALSO remember to buy the BEST ORGANIC DIRT for the BEST results.  I often hear from people they can't grow a garden but it really isn't rocket science however, you must start smart and maintain it. If you are a gardener or want to be WATCH FOR NEXT MONTHS - GARDENING TIPS BY LESLIE article I will be publishing.  I have great luck in my garden harvesting so many tomatoes!! I will gladly share with you those tips!!  My pleasure,I love to help others on their garden.

10. RAISING YOUR NEIGHBORS VALUE. Some of the best advice I can give you is to lead by example.  Yes this is so true.  If you have an unsightly neighborhood or a few neighbors, I find by improving your home it can often help to motivate your neighbors as well.  Improving will show them how beautiful their home can be as well - so lead by starting with your home first. Just make sure and follow the above tips so you are actually leading by showing a GOOD example and not a bad one!  It will only be appreciated if you have made a good choice.  Thanks and happy gardening and improving t you!  Spring is almost here so make your checklist and do your home maintenance items before you get into spending money on upgrading and adding style to your home. 

Many Thanks!  Leslie  ~






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author

This post was written by:

Leslie from Northern California.
Yes.. I am a Bay Area transplant, long before everyone starting moving up here from the Bay Area and Southern California in 1977. I believe this helps me to understand what you may be looking for. And can help you adapt to our “Country Lifestyle”. Yes, I know the greatest hiking/ boating/ camping/ fishing spots and the best places to relax! If you are moving from another area, just ask me for one of my helpful Relocations Packages by clicking on the link

I hope you enjoy your visit.

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