More Thoughts While Weeding: Working out the bugs

By Ann Bennett

It has been a remarkable run of classic July weather this past week, accompanying a gorgeous full Thunder Moon. Eighteen of the first 23 days of the month have seen the mercury climb into the 80s or above, and periodic thunderstorms, some of them delivering torrential downpours and damaging winds, have brought local farms and gardens back from the edge of drought.
Precipitation still lags well behind the monthly average of 4.43 inches, though the recent moisture coupled with steamy heat have pushed crop production into overdrive. Cucumbers, beans, summer squash and broccoli are in, as are the new potatoes.
The successes and failings of this particular season are also becoming apparent here in the third week of July. Plant diseases associated with persistent heat and humidity are surfacing, and weeds are either in check or completely out of control.
It's also the point when insect pests have either been dealt with, or they've taken charge. Few things are as frustrating to a gardener as discovering that just as the potatoes hit full blossom, Colorado potato beetles take over, or that Cabbage Loopers are reducing the brassicas to lace-like leaves.

More Thoughts While Weeding: The second half of summer


By Ann Bennett

Classic July weather, hot and steamy, has dominated the middle of the month here in the mountains of New Hampshire. Last Saturday and Sunday's soaking showers on the 9th and 10th were a game changer, bringing local gardens back from the brink of drought. The moisture, coupled with a run of 80-plus degree days, fueled remarkable progress. Finally the beans are coming in, along with summer squash, cucumbers and new potatoes. The weeds are thriving as well, and the battle is on to keep ahead of them.
Weeding is just one of myriad chores vying for attention. Succession plantings head the list, since hard as it to believe, a mere six weeks remain before possible first frost. A number of cultivars can be planted now for late season harvest, including beans, broccoli, snow peas, beets, Swiss chard and, of course, lettuce. Sown and watered well, these second and third plantings will grow quickly to mature just as the main crops of summer give up the ghost.
Of course these successive sowings are sometimes a matter of sandwiching plants into an already full garden, but in some cases, rows of early lettuce and other greens make way for new plantings. For my part in laying out the garden in early spring, I hold space from the beginning for these later crops, either planting a green manure or simply keeping the area mulched for use now in mid-summer.

Home of the Week: Views and privacy

EFFINGHAM — Views and privacy are what you get with this Adirondack Cape-style home in Effingham.
Built in 1999, the two-story home has three bedrooms, three baths and 3,296 square feet of living space.
The homes sits on 28 acres of open fields and woods. Views for the property encompass the Ossipee Range and Ossipee Lake, sweeping past Mount Chocorua to Mount Washington.
"Relax and enjoy the views from the open farmer's porch, the recently-enclosed four-season porch or from just about every room in the house," says the MLS listing sheet for the property.
Features of the home include radiant floor heat, a stone fireplace, wood floors, a first-floor master bedroom suite with a walk-in closet and central air conditioning. There is also an attached two-car garage.
Price is $499,900.
Listing agent is Paul Wheeler, of RE/MAX Presidential in North Conway. He can be reached at (603) 356-9444 Ext. 206, (603) 801-4149 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
MLS number is 4431290.

N.H. rental rates rise 15 percent over past five years

Low vacancy rates and rising rents mean an increasingly tight rental market for the state.
BEDFORD — New Hampshire's housing market continues to pose challenges for renters, a recent survey finds. New Hampshire Housing's annual residential rental cost survey, which canvasses market-rate units across the state in order to gauge the condition of the rental market, found that vacancy rates dropped while rents increased — a continuation of a long-term trend. The state vacancy rate fell to 1.5 percent, while the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment, including utilities, is at $1,206.
Half the counties in the state show vacancy rates at well below 2 percent. A rate this low is viewed as just turnover rather than true vacancies. Most industry experts consider an average vacancy rate of 4 percent to 5 percent a balanced market. Below 4 percent constitutes a "landlord's" market and above that rate it is a "renter's" market. In comparison, the national vacancy rate fell to 7.1 percent in 2015, which was the lowest rate since 1985.
Seven of New Hampshire's 10 counties have lower vacancy rates than last year. Vacancies are significantly lower in the state's most populous southern tier, where the bulk of New Hampshire's rental housing is located. Hillsborough, Merrimack, and Rockingham counties all have vacancy rates below two percent and are lower than their 2015 rates.

Jason Robie: Things our parents didn't teach us

By Jason Robie
I distinctly remember hearing the words "we can't afford it right now" on numerous occasions growing up. While we weren't "poor" by American standards, we lived on a tight budget and were taught at a young age that money doesn't grow on trees. We were very fortunate to have parents who were ski instructors, so we could ski at Mount Cranmore for free and enjoy some of life's little other little pleasures that our parents' creativity and work-ethic afforded us (including free college tuition — thanks, mom!). That said, there are still a few things that slipped through the cracks regarding our education on credit.
"Everyone knows that your credit score, if you ever care to purchase a car or home (and get a decent interest rate), is of paramount importance," said Badger Realty agent Linda Walker. "But there is so much more to one's finances that we're simply not taught in school or by most people's parents."