Starting plants indoors – How about an indoor herb garden.

A cold and snowy day is a great day to start growing plants indoors and planning your garden this spring.  All you need are some simple indoor pots, with trays to protect windowsills from moisture, plus (most important) seeds.  You can grow from seed many herbs pick the ones you like and use to get the most enjoyment.  Basil, chives, cilantro and oregano are things that work in our kitchen. Select some pots, they can be as simple as yogurt containers or herb pots.  Urban Farmer has a great selection of Herb Kits with good looking and creative pots.  Good drainage is essential.  Place rocks in the bottom of the pots, then add your soil mix.  If using garden soil, mix it with peat moss, sand or perlite (1:1).  Then add your seeds and water.  Be careful not to overwater, monitor the soil moisture and add as needed.  The amount of water will vary depending on soil type and how dry your home is. This pdf from UMASS on starting seeds is helpful for your herb garden or starting plants for the spring. Remember that even south facing windows get cold at night so moving the plants away from windows at night (to become a table centerpiece) is a good idea.
  -Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Bullough’s Pond, Newton, MA

A customer on Commonwealth Ave in Newton gave Sean a great book on Bullough’s Pond in Newton.  For anyone interested in New England ecology and the connection to New England industry and settlement, Diane Muir’s book Reflections in Bullough’s Pond is riveting.  I had never heard of this book and now am grateful to have a hardcover copy.  The book is still available in paperback from University Press of New England or Amazon.com.  The book discusses many aspects of New England industry and ecology and returns to the Bullough’s Pond throughout the book.  Bullough’s Pond is located on the opposite corner of Commonwealth Ave from Newton City Hall and is bounded on the west by Walnut St, south by Commonwealth Ave, east by Bullough Park (home of some great groundhogs in the backyards of homes) and Dexter Rd to the North.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Rove Beetle

An Arlington, MA customer found a rove beetle inside.  The photos are below, note the serrated antennae.  Rove beetles feed on fungus, other insect larva, decomposing organic matter.  They normally are not a structural pest, but if an area is extremely wet and a food source exists, insects that are usually outside will be found inside.  The solution for this issue is site sanitation, vacuuming the areas inside the beetles are seen, making sure a dehumidifier is used in season and the roofing systems (gutters, flashing, downspouts) are all moving water away from the structure.  Around the foundation minimize decomposing organic matter like leaf piles.  For more information on this beetle family, follow this link to University of Florida Entomology page on the rove beetle.

  -Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Sebum

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Sebum is secreted by mammals.  It is also the material that rodents leave behind as they run across surfaces.  This material collects on hard surfaces and is visible on light colored surfaces like wires, concrete and wood. In this photo the light colored area is the stone wall and the dark wood beam is visible at the top.  The beam stops the progress of the rodents along the sill so they run down and under, leaving the sebum visible on the stones.  Securing or placing a trap right over the sebum marked runway will lead to success.  To make the trap more attractive, rub the sebum onto the trap trigger. -Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Sebum rub marks visible top right of photo

As we start January looking outside at quiet, grey landscape, it can be difficult to imagine the myriad of commensal rodents and insects living in and around our homes and businesses. Right now, the key pest problems in residential accounts are rodents, like the house mouse and deer mouse, and the indoor moths, such as the Indian meal moth, and webbing clothes moth. This time of year, the new year, might be a great time to go through your cabinets and make sure that no forgotten boxes of corn bread mix lie hidden behind other items in the pantry. January is a time of resolutions and renewal for many people.  Often goals are set to lose weight, stop smoking, and organize the chaos.  
Take advantage of the great sales this time of year on organization resources such as storage bins and racks and resolve to dig to the back of the closet, donate what you don’t use or need, and not have areas in your home that are the undisturbed habitat of insects and animals.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc. GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.