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2006 Making plans for the new year

January 01, 2006

Before you know it, the end of 2006 will be upon us and we'll wonder where the year went and think about all the forgotten projects.

To help plan home, lawn and garden projects for the year, and know when to hunt for good bargains, here's a basic calendar to help keep projects on track.

January



Look for linen sales.

Jan. 8: The price of a first-class stamp increases 2 cents to 39 cents. A postcard stamp increases from 23 cents to 24 cents.

Order seed catalogs and plan vegetable garden.

Start planning spring home and garden improvement projects.

February



Look for discounts on winter clothing, luggage and leather goods.

Register children for Little League. Registration is usually due around mid-February, said Susie Hoffman, district administrator for Little League.

Remove bagworm bags from evergreens. They will hatch around June.

Feb. 23: Prune deciduous trees and shrubs. The Maryland Cooperative Extension suggests this general pruning rule: If the plant blooms before May 30, prune after blooming. If plant blooms after May 30, plant can be pruned before new growth begins in spring.

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Late February to early March: Plant seeds for lettuce, cauliflower, celery, broccoli and cabbage indoors. Transfer seedlings outdoors when ground can be worked.

Repair lawn and garden tools.

March



Reseed bare lawn spots or overseed lawn; through April.

Through April: Look for discounts on hair dryers, electric curlers, shavers and humidifiers.

Mid-March: Clean out birdhouses for songbirds or install new ones.

March 15 to 20: Plant seeds for tomatoes, peppers and eggplants indoors, to transplant outdoors after frost ends.

Late March: Plant trees and shrubs. Make sure soil is dry enough to work.

Late March: Clean out flower gardens and divide perennials.

Late March to early April: Clean out gutters before heavy rain season. Do this when the ground is dry to secure ladder.

May



May 15: Average last frost date for Franklin County, Pa.

Mid-May: Plant first crop of squash, cucumbers and beans outdoors.

Look for discounts on cameras and kitchen and dining items; through June.

May 26: Houseplants can be placed outside.

Fertilize lawn.

If broadleaf weeds are a problem, apply herbicide on calm day to prevent spray drift or use granular material.

Start exterior painting and caulking projects.

Plant seeds for Halloween pumpkins.

June



Pull young weeds out of flower gardens.

Apply mulch to control weeds and conserve moisture in soil.

Late June to early July: Look for discounts on linens.

July



Look for discounts on formalwear, jewelry and bathing suits.

Look for discounts on major household appliances such as ovens and washing machines through October.

Now through October is a good time to shop for a new car because dealers are often looking to clear space for new models, according to www.carbuyingtips.com.

Cutting back herbs keeps plants bushy and productive.

Keep an eye out for Japanese beetles, cabbage worms and tomato blights.

August



Order bulbs to plant in fall so they bloom in spring.

Mid-August: Seed new lawns and bare spots through mid-September.

Till soil to prepare for planting bulbs.

Late August: Look for discounts on grills, lawn furniture, beach paraphernalia and solar-powered garden lights.

September



Look for discounts on lawn and garden equipment, such as mowers.

Bring houseplants that were outdoors back inside before night temperatures reach below 55 degrees. Tip: Gradually reduce light to get plants used to being indoors again.

Late September: Apply broadleaf weed killer on a calm day to prevent spray from drifting.

October



Look for discounts on backpacks, sneakers, sewing machines and power tools.

Clean out gardens, removing diseased plant debris.

Plant bulbs before ground freezes. Don't plant too early or bulbs could sprout before winter.

Oct. 15: Average first frost date for Washington County and Franklin County, Pa.

Oct. 20: Average first frost date for Jefferson County, W.Va.

Oct. 29: Daylight-saving time ends. Change batteries in smoke detectors.

Clean out gutters; through early November.

November



Store summer wardrobe and get winter wardrobe out. Clothes that no longer fit can be donated to local charities.

Clean and oil garden tools.

If planning to keep a live Christmas tree after the holiday season, dig its planting hole now before the ground freezes.

Drain hoses and outdoor faucets.

December



Early December: Select cut Christmas tree and poinsettias.

Look for discounts to health clubs and on cars.

Dec. 6: Hagerstown ends its yard waste collection program for the year.

Dec. 26 and through January: Prices are usually drastically reduced on holiday supplies (wrapping and tissue paper, crafts and fancy food packages) and many gift items.

Start putting out bird seed.

- Sources: Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, West Virginia University Extension Service, Purdue University Consumer Horticulture, Anne Garber and evalu8.org, Consumer Reports, Robert Kessler with the Franklin County office of the Penn State Cooperative Extension and Julie Yenichek, spokeswoman for Lowe's.

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