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The Winter Weather Prediction for 2020-2021

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Nov 23, 2020


As we head toward the official start of winter in a month or so, you may be wondering about the weather. Are you going to have snow, ice, sleet, rain, or all of the above? I'm curious, too, so I did a little research and found some winter weather predictions for 2020-21.

A Warm Winter

The phrase "warm winter" may sound like an oxymoron, but that's what most states are going to see. So if you were just about to head out to the garage to put snow tires on your vehicle, not so fast! You may not need them this year.

Rising Temps

Weather scientists believe that our warmer winters are the result of gradually rising temperatures. Take one look at the data for the winter of 2019-20 and you'll find that it looks very similar to what we're expecting this winter.

Now, moving from west to east, let's look at the predictions for the winter of 2020-21.

The Western States

In Alaska, the winter weather is expected to be mild with some moisture and some snow. In the western part of Washington and Oregon, the weather is predicted to be mild and wet. Moisture will come in the form of rain or a below-average amount of snowfall. California's winter is predicted to be cool and dry. In Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, there's going to be snow, but it will melt quickly due to warm temperatures. The states of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado are going to see a mild winter with some periods of snow.

The Southwest

Arizona and New Mexico are predicted to see a cold, dry winter for the most part. The winter weather for Oklahoma and Texas is predicted to be warm with a low amount of moisture.

The Midwest

The western part of North Dakota is due to see snow this winter, while the eastern part is leaning toward wet conditions. This prediction is the same for South Dakota and Nebraska. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are all predicted to have more rainy days than snowy ones. Iowa and Missouri are due for warmer temperatures and a low amount of moisture.

The Southeast

The winter weather prediction for our southeastern states is about the same as for the Midwest. Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are predicted to have a warm, relatively dry winter. The only exceptions in the southeast look to be Virginia and West Virginia, where we'll see sleet in the winter weather forecasts.

The Northeast

Pennsylvania is due for a lot of sleet this winter along with Massachusetts, Delaware, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The upper northeastern states, including New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, are due to have heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures.

The long-range weather report in the Farmer's Almanac is helpful if you want to see more specific conditions in your area of the country. All you have to do is check out the map to see the details.

I hope you found some good news about the winter weather in your area. Thanks for reading. - Alan

How to Best Prepare Your Lawn for the Winter Season

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Nov 23, 2020


The arrival of fall doesn't mean the end of caring for your lawn. In fact, the truth is just the opposite: Preparing your lawn now is important if you want to keep your grass healthy through the winter season. Today, I have a few tasks to put on your fall to-do list.

Mow the Lawn

Don't put the lawnmower into the garage for the winter just yet. It's a good idea to mow your lawn regularly until the grass stops growing. This can prevent mold and fungus from forming on your grass over the winter months. Plus, you get to enjoy looking out your windows at a well-manicured lawn for a little while longer.

Get Rid of Weeds

This task always seems to make its way onto a list of lawn preparation tips. Did you ever notice that? Nevertheless, pulling weeds in the fall reduces the amount you'll have to deal with in the springtime. Be sure to get the weeds out of your garden as well.

Aerate the Ground

Aerate your lawn in the fall to keep the grass roots healthy. Aerating provides a way for sunlight, moisture, and oxygen to reach the roots of your grass. Leave the aeration plugs on your lawn so they can break down naturally and nourish your grass.

Put Down Seed

If you have bare spots on your lawn, put some seed on them. The fall weather has a lot of moisture, which helps the grass seed to grow. Spread some straw on top of the seed to discourage birds from stealing it for a quick snack.


Putting down fertilizer in the fall helps to strengthen the grass for the spring. The fertilizer moves to the roots of the grass and is stored over the winter months.

Put Down Mulch

If you raked this year, use those leaves to mulch the trees in your yard. Surround the base of each tree with mulch that's 3 to 6 inches deep. Leaves are natural mulch that can supply trees with nutrients and serve to control the temperature of the soil. If you have any shrubs in your yard, put leaves around those, too. Don't forget to put a thin layer of leaves in your garden to nourish and protect the soil.

Wrap Young Tree Trunks

If you have young trees in your yard, wrapping their trunks is another item to have on your to-do list for winter lawn prep. The wrapping protects a young tree from sunscald that can damage its bark.

Prepare the Lawnmower for Storage

After cutting the lawn for the final time this year, it's a smart idea to prepare the mower for winter storage. This involves emptying the gas tank, removing the blade, and cleaning the underside of the mower, among other things. Taking a bit of time to prepare the mower for winter storage can help streamline the process of getting it running next spring.

Remember that preparing your lawn for the winter months plays a part in how beautiful the grass will look next spring. Your grass will thank you! Thanks for reading. - Alan

How To Remove Mold and Mildew From Around The Home

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Nov 19, 2020


Mold can grow quickly in a home. It can show up in a washing machine, behind a wall, in a shower, bathtub or even in a cabinet under a leaky sink. Moisture, warmth, and a dark environment are all elements mold needs to grow. This week, I have tips on how to get rid of mold as well as ways to prevent it from growing. But first, check out some of the risks of having mold in your household.

The Dangers of Mold

Mold has the potential to cause a lot of health issues if it's not removed. For instance, black mold can aggravate a family member's allergies, asthma, or other respiratory condition. It can cause sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes, as well as skin irritation. Mold is an even bigger threat to a family member with a weakened immune system.

Tips for Getting Rid of Mold

White Vinegar

Pour undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the area of black mold. Give the vinegar an hour to soak into the spot while you enjoy the scenery from your backyard gazebo. Next, wet a cloth with water to wipe the vinegar away. The acid in white vinegar has the power to kill black mold. I like this idea because there seems to be a bottle of white vinegar somewhere in the house at all times!

Baking Soda

Did you know baking soda kills mold? It does! Mix tablespoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Spray an area of black mold and use the rough side of a sponge to remove it. Then, take a wet cloth and thoroughly wipe the moldy area. Next, give the area another spray and let it dry. This last step prevents black mold from growing back.


Squeeze four lemons into a cup and pour or spray the juice onto an area of black mold. Allow the lemon to stay on the mold for five minutes, then wipe it away with a moist towel. Once again, it's the acid in lemons that kills mold.

Preventing Mold and Mildew

The Bathtub

Mold/mildew in a bathtub takes the form of pink film or slime. Any of the above remedies can help you get rid of this mold. To prevent it, rinse your bathtub after finishing your bath. Then, dry the inside of the tub. This takes away the standing moisture that mold needs to grow.

Another way to prevent mold in your bathroom is to have a fan installed there. It circulates air and dries moisture on the walls and floor before mold takes hold.

The Washing Machine

If you leave wet clothes in the washing machine for more than a day, they can start to develop mildew. So, the best way to prevent this is to remove your wet clothes right away and put them in the dryer. Plus, leave the door of your washing machine open so it has a chance to dry after the clothes are removed. Bear in mind that white vinegar is handy for keeping a washer clean between loads of clothes.

Other ways to prevent mold growth in a home:

  • Get a dehumidifier to lessen the amount of moisture in the air
  • Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate throughout your home
  • Clean up spills on the carpet before the liquid has a chance to soak into the padding and develop mold

I hope these tips are helpful in keeping your home safe from mold and mildew! Thanks for reading.-Alan

Why Not Raking The Leaves Leads to A Healthier Lawn

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Nov 11, 2020


A layer of leaves in your yard provides a place for butterfly and moth pupae to survive during the cold months of winter. Butterflies and moths are both significant pollinators. So, you're helping your own garden as well as the environment in general by letting the leaves remain in your yard.

Provide Food for Birds in the Springtime

Some of those butterfly and moth pupae mentioned above will turn into full grown adults. Others will be fed to baby birds in the springtime. When you skip the raking, you're protecting a source of food for adult and baby birds alike. The robins, sparrows, and cardinals will thank you!

Boost the Health of Your Garden

A layer of leaves prevents weed growth on your lawn and in your garden. So, you don't have to worry about getting out the wheelbarrow and the bags of mulch. The job has been done naturally. Furthermore, as leaves break down over the winter months, they fertilize the ground.

Give the Critters a Home

Did you know many animals use leaves to make their winter home? Squirrels use leaves to build their nests high up in the trees. Turtles, salamanders, toads, earthworms, and other creatures make their home beneath layers of leaves. When you skip raking the leaves in your yard, you're providing shelter for a variety of animals over the cold winter.

Give the Landfills a Break

Millions of tons of leaves go into landfills every year. People rake them, bag them, and put them out on the curb with their garbage. These leaves take up valuable space in a landfill. What a waste! They can be used to make your lawn and garden healthier in the springtime. Don't miss the opportunity to put those leaves to good use.

Helpful Tips to Remember

  • If you walk through your yard on the way to your shed, carport or mailbox, rake aside a small section of leaves to create a neat path. This can prevent you and others from slipping on wet leaves while moving from point A to point B in your yard. Use the leaves you collect as layers for your compost pile or place them around a tree.
  • Run your lawn mower over the leaves in your yard to cut them into small pieces. Leaves that are shredded and chopped up into small pieces are even more effective at fertilizing your lawn.
  • If you have drainage pathways on your lawn, be sure to remove leaves from them so rainwater and melted snow can move away from your property. For example, make sure the paths leading away from your home's downspouts are clear of leaves.

I'm pleased to provide you with a different way of looking at your leaf-filled yard this autumn. Enjoy the colorful view! Thanks for reading.-Alan

The Best Ways To Keep Connected When You Can't See Family and Friends

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Nov 7, 2020


Are you having trouble keeping up with friends and family during this strange year? If so, you're not alone. This week, I have some fun ways you can connect with loved ones from a distance.

  1. Virtual Game Nights. A virtual game night can take place via Zoom or another web conferencing site. One idea is to play a trivia game. One person is elected to ask the questions while players type in their answers. The person who is first to type in the correct answer is the winner. A virtual Bingo game is another fun idea. Simply send the players links allowing them to access a bingo card. You or another member of the group can be the number caller. Be sure to get some gift cards or funny items to use as prizes for your games. Pictionary and Scattergories are two other virtual games for you to try with friends and family.
  2. Weekly Zoom Chats. Schedule a weekly or even bi-weekly Zoom chat with a group of friends or your family members. A weekly chat gives you the chance to see the faces of your loved ones and vice-versa. You don't have to play a game or have a funny story ready to tell. Sometimes just chatting about day-to-day things can be comforting.
  3. Group Emails. Starting a group email is another way to stay connected. People can share their daily activities, accomplishments, information about new hobbies, and anything else that occurs to them.
  4. Online Book Club. Joining an online book group is another great way to stay in contact with friends and family. It could be a book club organized by the local library that meets via Zoom, or you could start your own book group. Ask for input from group members on what books to include on the list, and then set a meeting date once per month to discuss it.
  5. Writing Letters. Reconnect with family and friends by writing letters. Choose some attractive stationery or note cards for your correspondence. This is an especially good idea for family members who aren't tech-savvy. Everyone loves to find a personal letter in their mailbox, am I right?
  6. Sharing Photos via Social Media. Sharing photos on Facebook or another social media website is another easy way to stay in touch with loved ones. Sometimes seeing the face of a niece or nephew or even seeing a funny picture of a friend's pet can go a long way in brightening someone's day.
  7. Cooking Group. Start a weekly cooking group where one person demonstrates how to make a particular dessert or snack while the other members follow along in their own kitchens. Be sure to tell your group members what ingredients to buy and what supplies they'll need to work the recipe with you. Making a dish together can give way to a lot of laughter and fun.

Until we're able to gather with friends and family for a nice long visit on the porch or in the backyard gazebo, there are ways to stay connected in 2020.

10 Squash Varieties and How To Best Prepare Them

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Oct 24, 2020


Is squash a favorite food in your family? If so, you already know it's delicious. As a bonus, squash is also full of nutrients such as vitamins A,C, and E as well as potassium, fiber, magnesium, protein, and iron just to name a few. This week, I'm highlighting ten types of squash and the best ways to prepare them.

  1. Acorn. If you're looking for a fiber-filled squash with a nutty flavor, your search is over. Roasted acorn squash is delicious. Simply cut an acorn squash in half lengthwise, cut off the stem and scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside of the squash with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon, or brown sugar. Put them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour.
  2. Butternut. Put aside your mashed potato recipe this fall season and make mashed butternut squash instead. Add melted butter and brown sugar to your mashed squash and this may become your new go-to side dish.
  3. Spaghetti. Push aside the boxes of spaghetti at the grocery store and try making spaghetti squash. After roasting the squash, scrape the soft fleshy part out with a fork to make your strings of spaghetti. Cook some ground beef, combine it with your spaghetti squash and diced tomatoes, top with shredded cheese and bake for 20 minutes to make a casserole. Give your usual spaghetti dish a little dash of flair!
  4. Delicata. Roasted delicata squash is simple and tasty. Cut a squash in half lengthwise and remove all the seeds. Next, cut each half into slices measuring about a quarter inch thick. Coat each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put them on a baking sheet and cook them at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. These slices can instantly dress up a plain salad.
  5. Kabocha. The skin of a Kabocha squash can be either green or red. This squash has a rich flavor that is perfect for making squash soup.
  6. Carnival. Roasted carnival squash is great when paired with maple syrup and walnuts. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, cut off the stem and clean out the seeds. Brush them with melted butter, drizzle in some maple syrup and roast in a 400-degree oven for an hour. Sprinkle walnut pieces into each squash half and put them back in the oven for ten minutes to toast the walnuts.
  7. Sweet Dumpling. Enjoy your sweet dumpling squash in an unusual way by making squash bars. Cinnamon, ginger, and ground cloves make this an even more flavorful dessert.
  8. Blue Hubbard. Roasted Blue Hubbard squash with parmesan cheese is a unique side dish for any meal. Cut a Blue Hubbard squash in half, clean out its seeds, cut off the stem and cut the squash halves into one-inch thick slices. Coat each piece in olive oil and roast them in a 400-degree oven for one hour. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the roasted squash before serving.
  9. Buttercup. Buttercup squash is wonderful when paired with apples. Cut a buttercup squash in half so you have two bowl shapes. Put them on a baking sheet and brush the insides with melted butter. Put half a cup of chopped apple in each bowl and sprinkle with brown sugar. Roast them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Eat the apples with a spoon, and then eat the squash bowl!
  10. Red Kuri. Roast Red Kuri squash and shallots and add them to your salad. Cut the Red Kuri squash in half, remove seeds, then cut the halves into one-inch thick slices. Slice up four shallots and place them onto the baking sheet with the squash slices. Drizzle all of the items with olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast them in a 400-degree oven for 40 minutes.

So, instead of putting all of your squash out in front of your home and garage as fall decorations, consider putting some on your dinner plate. Preparing your favorite squash in delicious ways can help everyone in your family benefit from all of the nutrients this fruit has to offer. Thanks for reading.-Alan

12 Things You Never Knew About Pumpkins

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Oct 24, 2020


Pumpkins. This time of year, you see them in huge piles, lined up on porches, sitting next to trees and even on the kitchen table. But do you know everything there is to know about these familiar fall fruits? This week, I have some pumpkin facts that may surprise you.

  1. A Winning Pumpkin. As of 2018, the record for the biggest pumpkin grown in the United States is 2,528 pounds. It was grown by New Hampshire resident Steve Geddes.
  2. The Pumpkin Capital of the World. The city of Morton in Illinois is known as the Pumpkin Capital of the World. Why? The Nestle Food Company's pumpkin processing plant is located in Morton. This is where more than 85% of the world's pumpkin is canned this time of year. I'd say that certainly earns them the title!
  3. Pumpkins are Worldwide. Pumpkins grow on every continent throughout the world with the exception of Antarctica. I don't blame them, do you?
  4. A Potato Jack-o'-Lantern? In Ireland a few hundred years ago, early jack-o'-lanterns were carved out of potatoes and turnips. But, as the Irish immigrated to America in the 1800s, they discovered pumpkins were much easier to carve into jack-o'-lanterns.
  5. Yummy Pumpkin Flowers. The pretty yellow flowers that grow on a pumpkin vine are edible just like the pumpkins.
  6. Pumpkins Like a Cool, Dark Place. Pumpkins that haven't been carved can be stored for up to three months. They need to be stored in a dark, cool and dry place like a shed or cellar. Just imagine having pumpkin in January!
  7. Hundreds of Pumpkins. There are hundreds of varieties of pumpkins available. The Kakai, Cinderella, Crown Prince, Lakota, and Autumn Gold are just a few examples.
  8. Pumpkins Are Good for Your Hearing. As we get older, our potassium levels can drop. Low potassium levels can be responsible for hearing loss. Pumpkins contain lots of potassium and they're delicious to boot!
  9. Pumpkin Tall Tales. At one time it was believed that a pumpkin could cure a snake bite. Not true. It was also thought that rubbing pumpkin flesh on freckles could get rid of them. No, but that can definitely make your face smell like a pumpkin.
  10. Farm Animals Love Pumpkins. Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the leftover pumpkins at the local pumpkin farm? Well, they are most likely fed to local farm animals. Pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, cows, dogs, and ducks are just some of the farm animals that love to dine on leftover pumpkins.
  11. Pumpkin Trivia. Many people think pumpkins are vegetables. Perhaps this is because they are often pictured alongside vegetables. But pumpkin is a fruit. Remember that for your next trivia game.
  12. Pumpkin Spice Without the Pumpkin. Pumpkin spice flavor is everywhere this time of year. It's in coffee, ice cream, donuts and more. But pumpkin spice doesn't have any pumpkin flavor in it. Pumpkin spice is actually a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.

I hope you learned a few new things about this beloved autumn favorite. Thanks for reading. - Alan

7 Ways To Add Major Curb Appeal To Your Home In Just One Weekend

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Oct 24, 2020


Do you want to increase the curb appeal of your home? Well, if you think you need to repaint your house or repave your driveway, think again! There are plenty of simple, quick things you can do to boost curb appeal. Check out these ideas to get you started!

  1. Light Up Your Front Walk. One of the easiest ways to boost curb appeal is to put in some pathway border lights. This project can be done in less than a day. Most home improvement stores have an inventory of solar-powered LED pathway lights in a variety of designs. Purchase an even number of them and push them into the ground about one or two feet apart on both sides of your front walk. These pathway lights soak up sunlight during the day and pop on when the sun goes down, creating an appealing glow people can see from the street.
  2. Paint Your Front Door. Painting your front door takes about half a day and makes a big difference in your home's appearance. You could select a paint color that creates a dramatic contrast to your home's exterior or go with a color that complements your window shutters. Or simply choose a color that makes you happy!
  3. Invest in Seasonal Doormats. A doormat for your front porch is a practical item, but that doesn't mean it can't add to the curb appeal of your home. Take a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon to check out the inventory of seasonal doormats in your local home décor store. One of the best things about this idea is that you can put a different and unique doormat on your porch every few months. Be sure to purchase a mat or two to put in front of the door to your garden shed as well.
  4. Paint Your Mailbox. If you have a plain, silver mailbox at the end of your driveway, think about refreshing its look. Painting your mailbox involves removing its flag, sanding and priming, and painting. This is a creative project that's sure to set your mailbox apart from all others on your street. Be sure to paint your mailbox flag a different color than the body of the box so your mail carrier will see it. This project takes only a few hours to complete.
  5. Create a Double-Duty Planter. Take some time on a Saturday or Sunday to look for an unpainted wooden planter at your local garden store. Before putting your favorite flowers in it, paint the planter and use fancy stencils to put your house numbers on its side. As the flowers change throughout the seasons, your colorful planter will help folks find your house when cruising down the street. This project takes about half a day to finish.
  6. Jazz Up Your Garage Door. Add interest to a plain-looking garage door within minutes. Check online for magnetic decorative hardware designed for a garage door. A variety of styles and designs are available. Once your order of decorative hardware arrives, you can arrange it on your door in minutes. These embellishments don't scratch your garage door and endure all types of weather. A few little additions can give your garage door fresh new style.
  7. Disguise Your Garden Hose. If you have a garden hose hooked to an outdoor spigot in front of your home, it can be an eyesore. So why not find a stylish pot designed to store your neatly coiled garden hose? A brass or copper pot on the porch could add a small dash of flair to your property while keeping your garden hose in excellent condition.

Try some of these easy ideas and delight in the renewed look of your home. Thanks for reading. - Alan

15 Fun Fall Ideas For The Whole Family

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Oct 24, 2020


Falling leaves, pumpkins, and caramel apples are just a few of the things to love about autumn. It's the perfect time to enjoy fun activities with your loved ones. Today, I have some ideas for ways that you can get out there and have some fall fun with the family.

  1. Camp in the Backyard: Who says you have to drive to a campground to go camping? Set up a tent or pull out the sleeping bags to spend an evening or night in the backyard.
  2. Carve Pumpkins: Make time this fall to grab some pumpkins at your local farmers' market and do some creative carving together.
  3. Go Leaf-Peeping: Leaf-peeping can be done on foot or from a seat in your family's car. Drive to a local park or walk some trails to take in all of the changing colors of the leaves.
  4. Make S'mores: Set up a line of s'mores ingredients on a kitchen counter so each family member can build their own. For some extra fun, try making a few delicious s'mores with a twist.
  5. Bake a Treat With an Autumn Theme: Gather with family members in the kitchen and make an autumn-themed treat together. Caramel apples, pumpkin cookies, and candy corn magic bars are a few tasty suggestions.
  6. Decorate Your Yard for Fall: When you go to decorate your yard and carport for the fall this year, get everyone in on the fun. For example, little kids can arrange pumpkins around the carport, teens can stuff the sections of a scarecrow with hay, and adults can hook up eerie lighting.
  7. Make a Bird Feeder: Make a bird feeder out of items you have around the house. This is a craft you and your family (and the birds) can enjoy throughout the year.
  8. Go for a Hayride: Keep your eyes open for farms in your area that are hosting hayrides this fall. They're usually inexpensive, and it's an exciting activity for kids and adults.
  9. Roast Pumpkin Seeds: This is a simple activity that helps you make good use of those seeds after carving pumpkins. Each family member can sprinkle in the ingredients they want, whether it's salt, cinnamon, chili powder, or another spice.
  10. Go See a Drive-In Movie: Going to a local drive-in theater is a socially distanced way to see a movie with the family. Be sure to bring some snacks if the theater isn't serving them.
  11. Rake Leaves Into Piles and Go Jumping! This activity never gets old. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn with family and share some laughs at the same time.
  12. Go Bicycling: Round up your family members and hop on your bicycles for a ride around the neighborhood. Enjoy a breath of fresh air and exercise all in the same outing.
  13. Walk Through a Corn Maze: Navigating a corn maze can be a really entertaining activity for kids of all ages.
  14. Visit an Apple Orchard: Do you have a farmer with an apple orchard in your area? If so, it may be open to visitors who want to pick apples or just enjoy a walk around a unique place.
  15. Enjoy a Fall Picnic: Put together a picnic basket full of sandwiches, potato salad, and other favorites and go for a picnic in a local park. The cool air and leaves falling all around will make it a memorable afternoon for you and your family.

I hope one or more of these ideas appeal to you. Have some fun this fall, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Can You Use This Year's Seeds in Next Year's Garden?

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Oct 17, 2020


We are dealing with a good question in this week's blog. Can you save vegetable seeds from this year to use next year? The answer is, yes! Aren't you glad you asked? I have some great information on which seeds to save and how to store them.

Seeds to Save and Use Next Year

The seeds from tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, peas, and beans can all be saved to use in your garden next year. Focus on saving only open-pollinated seeds as opposed to seeds from hybrid vegetables. Open-pollinated seeds will produce the exact same type of vegetable they came from.

Preparing Seeds for Storage

Some seeds are a little easier to prepare for storage than others. For instance, to prepare the seeds from a red or green pepper, you simply brush them out of the inside of the vegetable and put them onto a ceramic plate to dry. Sometimes it can take two to three days for the seeds to dry completely. Alternatively, taking seeds from tomatoes requires a few more steps. You are probably familiar with the watery substance that comes out of a tomato when you chop it in half. Tomato seeds need to be free of this watery substance, or gel, before they can be stored away.

Seed Storage

Once the seeds are prepared, they should be put into an airtight container such as a piece of Tupperware or a sealable plastic bag. Find a cool, dry place for them out of the sunlight. The optimal temperature for stored seeds ranges from 32 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a small refrigerator in your garage, that would be an excellent place for storing your seeds. You could even put them in one of the vegetable drawers to make them feel right at home!

A Word About Expired Seed Packets

Along with storing seeds from this year's vegetables to use next year, you may want to take a look at your seed packets. Perhaps you have some packets with expiration dates that will come and go before planting time in the spring. The good news is you can safely plant seeds from expired packets. However, the expiration date means there's a question as to whether they'll be viable.

A simple test can tell you if they're likely to grow. Take ten of the seeds out of the expired packet and put them onto a moist paper towel. Next, put the paper towel into a sealed plastic bag and leave the bag to sit at room temperature. After ten days, take a look at the seeds. If at least half of them are starting to germinate, then it's likely you'll get some good results from the rest of the seeds in the expired packet.

Reusing Grass Seed

If you have some grass seed leftover, you may be tempted to use it again. The truth is that grass seed must be stored in cool, dry conditions away from the sunlight in order to remain viable. Grass seed stored in the appropriate way can be reused for up to a year. However, you're going to have to use a larger amount of the older seed to get the results you want.

Harvesting seeds from this year's vegetables to use next growing season means you can look forward to enjoying your favorites again in the spring and summer. Plus, the more seed you can reuse, the less money you have to spend at the garden store next year. A win-win! Thanks for reading. 


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