Best way to care for mums
Chrysanthemums are the perfect flower to brighten fall landscapes. WikiHow offers the keys to a vibrant plant:
Plant or place mums in full sun: If you don’t have an area that gets a full eight hours of sunlight everyday, put mums where they will get at least five hours. If you have a choice between morning or afternoon sun, choose morning sun..
Use a fertile soil that drains easily when planting mums in containers. Mums don’t do well with “wet feet,” so try to avoid soil that retains a lot of water. For in-ground planting, choose an area where water doesn’t accumulate.
Plant mums where they will receive plenty of air circulation. Placing them against walls or other structures, or placing them too close to other plants could hamper their growth or cause root competition. Mums should be planted 18 to 30 inches apart so that they have room to grow.
Water mums sufficiently but don’t allow them to stand in water. Mums’ root systems cannot handle too much moisture. Mums planted in containers will require more water than those planted in the ground, as mums in the ground can absorb natural water like rain and dew. Don’t let your plants wilt between waterings. If the lower leaves wilt or turn brown, water more often. Avoid splashing water onto the foliage, which can promote bacterial growth or cause disease.
Fertilize mums frequently. Feed them especially during the vegetative growth period to prevent premature flowering. At each watering use a 20-10-20 fertilizer formulation or equivalent solution. When the blooming season begins, switch to a 10-20-20 fertilizer or equivalent.
See these tips and many more at http://nando.com/lc.
Best Halloween luminarias
Make some spooky and festive luminarias to light the way on All Hallow’s Eve with this craft found on the Jedi Craft Girl blog.
You will need:
Mason or other jars (pickle, relish, spaghetti sauces, etc.)
White school glue
Vinyl motifs cut from Cricut or Silhouette Mod Podge
Step by step:
1 Remove labels; wash and dry the jars.
2 Put a fair amount of glue into a paper bowl and add some paint. The blogger didn’t measure – but she said you should use more glue than paint. Mix the two. You are just trying to tint the glue. The glue helps the paint to be transparent so you can see the flicker of the candle through the paint.
3 Start painting the inside of the jars. You can be real precise and get the glue/paint even, or make it look drippy and spooky.
4 Let the jars dry.
5 Cut out trees, pumpkins, bats, spiders or other Halloween shapes on a Cricuit or other cutting machine. (If you don’t have a cutting machine, black Halloween silhouettes available at dollar stores will work.) Using Mod Podge, affix the silhouettes to the outside of the jars.
6 Put candles (real or battery-operated) into the jars and let the glow showcase your work. You can view step-by-step tutorial at http://nando.com/ld.
Beth Weimer of Raleigh shares a recipe for a simple appetizer that’s a hit at social gatherings.
You will need:
1 (16-ounce) package of Lit’l Smokies sausages
1/2 pound bacon
1/3 cup brown sugar
Cut bacon into thirds. Wrap one piece of the cut bacon around a Lit’l Smokie and secure it with a toothpick. Place in a baking dish. (You can stack the Smokies until the dish is full.) Sprinkle with brown sugar. Use more or less brown sugar, depending on your preference for sweetness. Bake at 250 degrees for two hours. Serve hot.
Best home tours• See award-winning, architect-designed homes Saturday on the AIA Triangle Tour of Residential Architecture. Houses are open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Get ideas for your home, ask questions about architecture, materials, construction, technology. Architects, designers and docents will be on hand. Tickets range from $5-$20. Get tickets and list of the homes at aiatriangletour.com.
• Close to 200 homes are on display Saturday and Sunday and Oct. 17-19 on the annual Wake County Parade of Homes tour. For details, http://nando.com/le.
Send news and photos to The News & Observer, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; email email@example.com.