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Tips and chores for gardening in August

TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

It's time to harvest some plants and sow others, but whatever you do, don’t take your eyes off your garden during what can be a harsh, hot and dry month. While you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor (hello, tomatoes!), get a jump on next year’s garden by keeping on top of weeds, relocating and dividing perennials, and ordering spring bulbs. And if you’re leaving for vacation, remember to arrange for a surrogate caretaker.

1. Sow seeds of lettuce, radish, spinach, peas and other cool-season crops right into the garden now for a fall harvest.
2. Yank weeds as soon as you notice them; that will prevent them from becoming unmanageable and reduce next year’s population.
3. Deadhead annuals and perennials, and many will put on a second (or third) show.
4. Stop fertilizing trees, shrubs and perennials.
5. Start relocating evergreens, digging up as much of their root systems as possible.
6. Keep watering trees and shrubs, especially those planted this year; they’ll need extra TLC until their first frost.
7. If you haven’t already, get your spring bulb orders in before catalogs sell out of your first choices. They should ship at the right planting time in the fall.
8. If cabbage heads split, bring them indoors. Those left on the plant will become inedible.
9. Keep mower blades set at 3 inches or higher; grass needs length to photosynthesize and thrive.
10. Don’t let zucchini grow too large; they taste better, and are more tender, when smaller.
11. For the best taste, let tomatoes ripen on the vine.
12. Apply a liquid seaweed product to hybrid tea roses (follow package instructions) to help prevent heat wilt.
13. Harvest onions when their foliage flops over, cure in a well-ventilated area for 10 days, then store in a cool, dark room.
14. Divide spring bloomers like Japanese and Siberian iris.
15. If houseplants were moved outdoors for summer and are outgrowing their pots, move them into the next size container.
16. Harvest beets when 2 inches wide. Don’t forget, you can sauté and eat the foliage, too (don’t try this with leaves of other crops; some will make you sick).
17. If you haven’t sprayed roses, you can use their hips to make tea and jam.
18. Water the lawn deeply when needed instead of sprinkling lightly every day. Aim for a total of 2 inches per week, including rainfall.
19. Remove fallen fruit from around trees, and clear leaves and debris to avoid pest and disease problems.
20. If you want to relocate spring bulbs, transplant them now.
21. It’s time to renovate the lawn!Remove dead patches, aerate, apply compost and seed. Water deeply just once, then sprinkle twice a day.
22. Collect seeds from daylilies, Cleomes, rose campions and other podding plants and store in a paper envelope in the fridge, away from fruit, until spring.
23. Move vacationing houseplants and potted tropicals into a shady spot for five days to acclimate them for their move indoors.
24. Divide and transplant peonies, keeping eyes no more than an inch beneath the soil.
25. Monitor container moisture levels at least once daily; potted plants need more water than those growing in the garden.
26. If electrical storms are forecast, remember to turn off pond pumps.
27. Make free plants with cuttings of geraniums and wax begonias, rooted indoors. Care for them as houseplants until spring, then plant outside in pots or directly in the garden.
28. Move houseplants and potted tropicals back indoors until Memorial Day.
29. Re-edge beds to tidy up their appearance.


How to create a winter-friendly outdoor living space


Waterloo Region Record 29 Jun 2019
 
Covering a deck or patio and/or adding a fire feature are two ways to make outdoor living spaces more winter-friendly.

For many homeowners, the arrival of fall and winter marks an end to time spent lounging and dining al fresco on the patio. But cold air does not necessarily mean patio furniture must be packed up until flowers bloom anew in spring. In its 2017 Home Design Trends Survey, the American Institute of Architects found that consumers continue to emphasize practical features that expand the functionality of their homes via heavy investment in outdoor living spaces. The survey found that the popularity of outdoor living spaces increased by 72 percent between 2012 and 2017, highlighting just how much homeowners enjoy spending time outdoors. By taking measures to make their outdoor living spaces winterproof, homeowners can enjoy these areas of their homes even more. • Cover your deck. A covered deck may appear to make the space less enjoyable during spring and summer. However, covered decks can protect residents from the sun on especially hot days while also making the space more functional in winter. An overhead shelter on a deck can be outfitted with heaters (and fans to provide a cooling effect in summer) and allow residents to sit outside and watch snow fall without getting wet.

• Plant the right trees. Coniferous trees prevent wind, which can be especially harsh in winter. Homeowners who are unsure about which direction wind typically comes from can consult a landscape architect to determine where to plant the trees to ensure they’re most effective.

• Fire up the patio. A firepit or fireplace can warm up an outdoor living area, making such a space warm and cozy even on a cold winter night. A patio with a builtin firepit can cost a pretty penny, but such an addition can withstand winter weather better than a standalone firepit, which might be vulnerable to being tipped over by winter winds.

• Install lighting. The sun sets early in winter, so homeowners won’t be able to rely on natural light to illuminate their outdoor living spaces well into the evening like they do in summer. Heat lamps can be used to both warm and illuminate a space, serving dual, budgetfriendly functions. With the right adjustments, outdoor living spaces can be enjoyed throughout winter. FH198136

 



Real estate is back as Americans’ favorite long-term investment

BY JAMES ROYAL, BANKRATE.COM

Stocks have long been the most glamorous of the major asset classes. Many a Hollywood film has centered around making fast money in the stock market and becoming a Wall Street big shot.
But despite their great long-term returns — they’ve averaged about 10% annually for decades — stocks are no longer Americans’ favorite long-term investment. What is? According to a nationwide Bankrate survey, it’s real estate.

Years after a housing crash that left the economy hurting, many Americans still see real estate as their top pick. Some 31% of survey respondents named real estate as their favored investment for money that they wouldn’t need for 10 years or more. It’s the best showing for real estate in the seven years that Bankrate has conducted the survey.

In 2018, stocks were the most popular investment. But this year they ran a distant second, with 20% of respondents naming stocks their top pick for holding periods of more than a decade.
Cash investments, such as savings accounts and CDs, finished third at 19%, while gold and other precious metals earned 11%. Americans picked bonds as their top long-term investment 7% of the time, while bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were favored by 4%. Meanwhile, 5% of respondents said that none of these options were the best way to invest.

MILLENNIALS ARE MOST DRAWN TO REAL ESTATE INVESTING

While some commentators have bemoaned the fact that millennials seem unwilling to buy housing, it’s not for lack of desire. Millennials in total scored the highest (36%) among all age groups
in their preference for real estate as a long-term investment.

While millennials might be the most drawn to property, real estate still remained the most popular investment among all generations, from millennials to Generation X (31%), as well as baby boomers (30%) and the Silent Generation (23%).

“Millennials are higher on real estate than any other age group, have cooled a bit on cash, and still aren’t keen on the stock market when investing for more than ten years,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst.

Strikingly, the preference for real estate is virtually identical in all
four income categories surveyed by Bankrate. Between 32 and 34% of the time it was the top investment choice for those who reported earning more than $75,000 per year; between $50,000 and $75,000; between $30,000 and $50,000; as well as less than $30,000.

Home — or least, real estate — is where the heart is for Americans.

STOCKS MORE POPULAR AMONG HIGHER EARNERS

While real estate outdistanced stocks in each age and income demographic, stocks were more popular with higher earners compared to those with lower incomes. In fact, stocks were two and almost three times as popular with the highest income groups in the Bankrate survey.
For the two groups with incomes of at least $50,000, stocks were their top pick 28% and 29% of the time, just behind real estate. For the two groups earning less than $50,000 annually, stocks were their top pick only 15% and 11% of the time.
In fact, the higher a respondent’s earnings, the more likely the choice of their favored investment was stocks.

Meanwhile, lower-income households showed a higher preference for cash investments such as savings accounts and CDs (22%), as well as for gold and other precious metals (12-17%).

CRYPTOCURRENCY MOST POPULAR AMONG YOUNGER INVESTORS

One notable result, though perhaps not surprising, is the extent to which younger generations prefer bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Millennials picked cryptocurrencies as their top long-term investment about 9% of the time — about triple the rate of Generation X. Earlier generations had negligible numbers of respondents selecting virtual currency as their top choice.

While many investors have written off cryptocurrencies, one of the world’s largest companies is setting up a project that may disrupt some more traditional payment networks. Social media giant Facebook is in the process of creating a virtual currency called Libra that may potentially be cheaper than traditional payment services. (Here’s what Libra is and how it works.)

DECLINING INTEREST RATES MAY NOT AFFECT INVESTING DECISIONS

The Federal Reserve has hinted that it may be open to cutting interest rates, and investors have been nearly unanimous in expecting a rate cut in recent weeks. With that as a backdrop, the survey also questioned Americans about how the expected decrease in U.S. interest rates would play into their investment decisions.

The surprising result is that declining rates would appear to have little effect at all. Declining rates are not likely to move them to invest in the stock market, borrow money or put money into savings accounts or CDs, say respondents.

“A Fed interest rate cut is unlikely to influence how consumers manage their finances,” says McBride. “Only a minority of Americans say they would save more, invest more, or borrow more as a result.”
For example, just 40% of respondents said they would be more likely to move money into cash investments such as savings accounts and CDs in response to declining rates.
Only 26% said they would be more likely to borrow more money in response to falling rates. Meanwhile, just 33% of respondents said they were likely to invest in the stock market as rates fell.

But the responses varied by income level. For example, households earning less than $50,000 were more likely (37-49%) than high-income households (31-33%) to move money into bank products as rates fell. The lower the income, the more likely the respondent was to move assets into the bank.

WHAT SHOULD INVESTORS DO TO MEET THEIR GOALS?

While a person should choose the investment that works best for their own individual situation, there are smart ways of accomplishing your goals regardless of what you choose — stocks, bank accounts, bonds or something else entirely.

If you’re moving your assets to a bank, then it makes sense to find a bank that offers higher yields. An online bank can offer many of the benefits of a brick-and-mortar rival, while still paying much higher interest rates.

Similarly, if you’re looking to move into stocks, you should consider a broker that meets your needs, not necessarily the cheapest or the flashiest. For example, many brokers offer research and education, including research reports, that help when making investment decisions.

Bankrate commissioned SSRS to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from SSRS. Total sample size was 1,015 respondents. Fieldwork was undertaken on June 25-30, and the survey was carried out via telephone. Data are weighted to represent the target population, and margin for error for total respondents is 3.35% at a 95% confidence level.


 

Recessions Typically Have Limited Effect on the Housing Market


Other than the housing-led Great Recession, recent national and statewide recessions have not caused widespread home value declines
- U.S. home values plummeted during the Great Recession, but broadly continued to rise faster than inflation during the dot-com crash in 2001.
- Excluding the Great Recession, annual home value appreciation across all states since 1997 has averaged 4.6% during times of economic growth and 4% during recessions.
Aug 6, 2019

SEATTLE, Aug. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Other than the housing-led Great Recession of the late 2000s, home values have typically continued to grow through national and statewide recessions over the past quarter-century. This according to a new analysis by Zillow®.

The U.S. reached its longest-ever economic expansion this summer, though growth is slowing. A recent survey sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLC found that a panel of housing experts and economists most often expect the next recession to begin in Q3 2020. Demand for homes is expected to cool during the next recession, but few believe a housing slowdown will be a significant factor in causing it.

As some market observers predict a recession on the horizon, an analysis of recessions from the recent past shows that they often have a limited effect on the housing market. In the past 23 years, there have been two national recessions – the dot-com crash from March to November 2001 and the Great Recession from December 2007 to June 2009i – and several statewide or regional recessions ii. Home values broadly fell across the country during the Great Recession, but in most other cases annual home value growth remained positive.

Excluding the Great Recession, there have been 1,039 instances since 1997 of states being in a recession during a given month. Annual home value appreciation was positive 81% of the time in these months – an identical rate to months in which states were in economic expansion. Appreciation averaged 4.6% during economic growth and 4% during recessions. This indicates that while recessions do have an impact on the housing market, the widespread collapse of home values during the Great Recession is an outlier.  

"The housing crash during the Great Recession left a lasting impression on our collective memory," said Zillow Economist Jeff Tucker. "But as we look ahead to the next recession, it's important to recognize how unusual the conditions were that caused the last one, and what's different about the housing market today. Rather than abundant homes, we have a shortage of new home supply. Rather than risky borrowers taking on adjustable-rate mortgages, we have buyers with sterling credit scores taking out predictable 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. The housing market is simply much less risky than it was 15 years ago, and our experience in recent localized recessions shows how home prices can weather normal economic headwinds."

As an example, several states with large energy sectors – Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming – experienced local recessions starting in 2015 when oil prices fell dramatically. Home value growth was positive year-over-year across all five states and only Alaska turned negative month-over-month during this time period – the largest monthly loss in value for the median home in Alaska was $700. Nationwide, annual home value growth averaged 4.3% during these recession months compared to 5.2% average growth during months of economic expansion in 2015 and 2016. 

About Zillow 

Zillow® is transforming how people buy, sell, rent and finance homes by creating seamless real estate transactions for today's on-demand consumer. Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace and a trusted source for data, inspiration and knowledge among both consumers and real estate professionals. 

Zillow's proprietary data, technology and industry partnerships put Zillow at nearly every major point of the home shopping experience, helping consumers search for and get into their new home faster. Zillow now offers a fully integrated home shopping experience that includes access to for sale and rental listings, Zillow Offers®, which provides a new, hassle-free way to buy and sell eligible homes directly through Zillow; and Zillow Home Loans, Zillow's affiliated lender that provides an easy way to receive mortgage pre-approvals and financing. Zillow Premier Agent instantly connects buyers and sellers with its network of real estate professionals to help guide them through the home shopping process. For renters, Zillow's innovations are streamlining the way people search, tour, apply and pay rent for leased properties. 

In addition to Zillow.com, Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG) and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow and Zillow Offers are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

i Dates according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

ii The Bry-Boschan method was used to estimate statewide recessions, based on monthly State Coincident Indexes published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. In this analysis, we allowed for a minimum business cycle of 12 months and a six-month threshold for each phase of the business cycle. We then reviewed Zillow Home Value Index movements at the state-month level during these estimated statewide recessions to assess what has historically happened to home values during recessions.

 SOURCE Zillow

For further information: Alex Lacter, Zillow, press@zillow.com