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  • Manny Crisostomo / Bee file, 2012

    One way to welcome the light of spring indoors is to bring in some flowers.

  • Bee file

    Lighten the load of the chore of spring tidying by setting a timer for 15-minute stints.

  • Bee file

    If you've got your garden ready for growing, beets are one of the many crops that can go in.

Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Mar. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 7CALIFORNIA LIFE


It's officially spring – and time to freshen up the house. Welcome the new season by making rooms feel lighter and brighter, said Sally Morse, Hunter Douglas creative services director.

Morse and Hunter Douglas, makers of fine window coverings, offered these tips for spring refreshers:

• Take another stab at clearing clutter. OK, this may have been an ongoing project all winter, but spring cleaning starts with clutter control.

"Try setting the kitchen timer for 15 minutes per area, like the bedroom closet, pantry or foyer," Morse said. "Telling yourself you're going to de- clutter the home in one weekend sounds draining. Rather, split up the tasks into smaller ones, so you stay focused and don't get lost in the process."

Her suggestion: Make a list of all the areas you have to organize, then space it out over a few days. To each space, take three bags. Use one for trash, one for give-aways and perhaps one for a garage sale. Once sorted, remove those bags of stuff, then return items being kept to their proper place.

If something needs fixing, either repair or replace it right away or discard it, Morse said. Otherwise, that item will just linger in disrepair.

• Bring sunlight and nature indoors. Open the blinds and clean the windows. Consider new window treatment for brighter light in rooms; they'll look cleaner and feel larger. Bouquets of fresh flowers bring spring inside, too.

• Brighten rooms with lighter linens. Swap out heavier, darker fabrics and textiles – such as rugs, pillow covers and towels – for lighter ones, both in texture and color, Morse said. Top beds with a lightweight blanket. Fold the comforter and place it at the foot of the bed for chilly nights.

For more ideas, click on


• Happy first weekend of spring! It's officially time to get to work. Prepare garden beds by digging in compost, aged manure and soil amendments. Let it mellow for at least two weeks before planting those beds.

• Got ground ready for growing? In the vegetable garden, plant seeds for beets, carrots, celery, Swiss chard, endive, fennel, jicama, leaf lettuce, mustard, radishes and turnips.

• In the flower garden, plant aster, celosia, cosmos, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana, portulaca, salvia, snapdragon, verbena and zinnia.

• March 23 also represents the average last day of frost in much of the greater Sacramento area. That doesn't mean it's not cold at night. Protect early, warm-weather transplants with plastic 2-liter soda bottles or gallon jugs. Cut off the bottom and leave the top open for air circulation.

• Weed, weed, weed. Get them out before they go to seed. According to master gardeners, the most common weeds in Sacramento County right now: Filaree, wild geranium, bedstraw and such annual grasses as foxtail, barley, wild oats and bluegrass.

• Instead of pulling weeds, use a sharp hoe. Cut the weeds off just under the root crown; aim for about a half-inch below soil level. That method disturbs soil less than pulling weeds, and keeps new seeds from migrating to the surface where they can sprout.

– Debbie Arrington

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