Archives for May 2012

How To Get Started Composting!

There are lots of great reasons to start a compost pile right in your own back yard. Using compost will save you time and money. Since it helps the land hold moisture, you water less. Compost helps hold back weeds, so you are on your hands and knees pulling weeds less, too! And you aren’t purchasing compost or mulch from the garden center, but using from your own backyard stash. Convenient, huh? Oh, and it lessens the burden on our county waste facilities as well, so you can save yourself and your neighbors some money in the long run. How It Works Ever noticed how the floor of a wooded … [Read more...]

Greener Gardens in Iowa!

All these beautiful gardens I see really make our neighborhoods and Eastern Iowa look great! But all that pest control and fertilizer can take its toll on Mother Nature. Check out some of these tips to make your little piece of earth a bit greener! Coffee? Who said coffee!? The soil needs nitrogen to get those flowers, veggies, and grass growing strong, and a natural way to add nitrogen to your soil is with coffee grounds! Mix your used grounds in with compost or soil and watch your plants thrive. Salty Solution Salt isn’t just for the sidewalks in the winter! Try sprinkling some … [Read more...]

Check out your local Farmer’s Market!

Warm weather is all around and with Memorial Day Weekend coming up, the unofficial start to summer is right around the corner! Visiting your local farmer’s market is not only fun, but also supports the local economy, the environment, and builds strong communities. So head on out and see what your farmer’s market has to offer! Here is this year’s listing of markets in Benton, Iowa, Linn, and Tama counties. Can't find what you're looking for? Check here for more listings! 2012 Local Farmer’s Markets Benton County Belle Plaine, 5-7 p.m. Fridays; May 25 through Oct. 26, 13th Street and … [Read more...]

Farmland Rental Rates increase 18% for 2012

Good news for landowners, but tougher times for younger, smaller farm operators. As Farmland prices increase, according to an Iowa State University Extension survey, rental rates for Iowa farmland have also increased 18% to $252 an acre—even larger increases for higher quality land, up to $400 to $500 an acre! The $38 average increase per acre is in line with still-high commodity prices, with corn at $6/bushel and soybeans at $13.70/bushel this April. Comparatively, rental prices for Iowa farmland were $176 per acre in 2008, and commodity prices averaged $4.10/bushel for corn and … [Read more...]

10 uses for hydrogen peroxide. Who knew?

Most of us have heard of the common “green” cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda, maybe even used some castile soap. But here’s a super cheap and effective gem—hydrogen peroxide! Here are 10 uses for the 3% solution in all areas of your home: Kitchen 1. Cutting boards and countertops. Watch those bubbles clear away remnants of the meat or fish you made for dinner. Remember to store it in an opaque spray bottle, though– light will kill hydrogen peroxide’s effectiveness. 2. Refrigerator and dishwasher. Hydrogen peroxide is non-toxic, so it’s great for cleaning spaces that hold … [Read more...]

Don’t Miss these 5 Signs to Sell!

Most years, homes sell best during the Spring. The market revs up in March or April, stays busy until July, and then relaxes for the summer. However, in 2011, the seller’s market was active during the beginning of the year but stalled out in April. So if you waited until spring to list your house, you may have missed out. A contributing factor to the slow down was the end of the homebuyer stimulus package for taxpayers. But a look at the economic conditions explain why the real estate market flip-flopped last year and may provide insight as to how to spot a sellers’ market in the … [Read more...]

Why it pays to clear the clutter before showing

  I read this article and really wanted to share it with those of you who are considering putting your house on the market. It may seem like common sense that it is better to show a home that is neat and tidy, but these professionals from New York point out some very good reasons why that's so. Whether you are selling a small one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan or a large five-bedroom farm house in Iowa, clutter is clutter and getting it out of sight will make a much better impression on potential buyers. A report, originally posted by Tim McKeough,, April 18, 2012. Real … [Read more...]