Sunday, August 12, 2012

Want fries with that?

If you want more out of life, try asking for it.

Apparently there was a time where people walked up to fast food counters and ordered what they thought they wanted. When McDonald’s trained employees to ask if they’d like fries, too, then sales went up, up, up. “The Power of Focus” is about how to apply this attitude to your own business opportunities. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are “Chicken Soup for the Soul” creators and Les Hewitt is “The Focus Coach.” With anecdotes and worksheets, these guys can make you believe in just about anything, even yourself. Pages are full of great tips, and the one I’m leaving you with is, if you want more business, just ask for it.

Cool weather crops are hot this fall

Everything fun about gardening is good in the fall, plus you avoid blazing heat. I haven’t yet built the keyhole garden I’ve been longing for, but has some tips to grow my fantasy.

July through August is the optimum time for planting cool crops, they say, so crops can mature before a freeze. If you haven’t tried this season, do this:

Tidy up: Remove spent plants, like early planted beans, cucumbers or lettuce, since they’re pretty much done for the season and can harbor pests. Clear away holes left from pulling plants, and get rid of weeds before they go to seed. Throw away anything distressed and compost the rest.

Discard any fallen fruits, rotting produce can attract pests. Take note of where everything was planted so you can be sure to rotate crops.

Set up the soil: Freshen garden soil by removing the existing layer of mulch and replace it. Straw makes an excellent cover because it’s easily scattered, it’s also a favorite home for spiders that will help control insect pests in your garden. You can also use a layer of shredded leaves for mulch.

Loosen compacted soil and fluff it up with a garden fork. Major tilling isn’t necessary; just move soil enough to allow new plant roots to settle in and let water get through.

Pick your plants: Starting with transplants will buy you lots of time. Since plants are six weeks or older when you put them in the ground, you’ll harvest sooner than if you start from seed.

Here are some of the company’s top crops for fall planting:

* Top Bunch Collards – This hybrid is heavy yielding, early maturing, and more uniform than traditional varieties. They grow best in full sun, tolerate partial shade, are rich in vitamins and sweetened by frost.

*Spinach – A cool-weather vegetable related to beets and Swiss chard, Bonnie’s Spinach is a fast-growing plant, yielding many leaves in a short time in fall. Although spinach prefers full sun, it’s one of the few vegetables that produce a respectable harvest in partial shade.

* Early Dividend broccoli - Popular, productive and easy to grow, this broccoli is high in fiber and calcium.

* Mustard greens – Offering spicy hot leaves, this is a very fast-growing, nutritious vegetable, and always tastes sweeter when nipped by frost.

Bug Band

Bug Band isn’t exactly a flea collar for the kids, but the band you can loop a round your wrist, ankle or belt is designed to repel fleas, gnats, mosquitos, flies and “no-see-ums. I got a sample of the bands, spray lotion and towelette after I ran into the whole pest menagerie while doing yard work. I wish I’d had the Bug Band.

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