Around your house 5/23/07

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gas grills

You don't have to hand over a lot of bills to get a good grill. That's the finding from Consumer Reports, which tested and rated 30 liquid propane grills, commonly known as gas grills, for its June issue. The magazine picked the $450 Blue Ember by Fiesta (FG50069-U401) and $300 Char-Broil Commercial Series grill (463268007) as its best buys, offering best performance for price. The Weber Genesis (E-320) and Vermont Castings Signature Series' (VCS3507P), both priced at $700, were rated the best overall among mid-size grills. (The Genesis E-320 was recently recalled because of a fire hazard with a gas hose. Weber will replace and install the hoses.) Testers grilled more than 160 pounds of beef, chicken and fish on large, mid-size, small and portable grills as part of the ratings process.

-- The Associated Press

Pool prep

A swimming pool needs regular care and maintenance. A few simple steps taken when you open the pool for swim season will ensure safe and healthful conditions. First, clean out any debris in the pool using a pool brush and vacuum. Tighten bolts at the diving board, ladder and slide, and give each a good going-over with detergent and water. Check the pool lining for cracks and tears, make needed repairs and raise the water in the pool to the middle of the skimmer opening. Check to make sure the pump, filter and heater are operating properly and are free from leaks. Take the filter apart and clean it for the season. Start the filter, run it for at least two hours and collect a water sample for analysis by a pool-water professional. Adjust pH and chlorine as needed and begin routine maintenance.

-- The Associated Press

Scale crawlers are active now. Infested pines and euonymus should be treated at this time. Begin fertilizing annuals. Continue at regular intervals. Trees with a history of borer problems should receive their first spray now. Repeat twice at three-week intervals. If spring rains have been sparse, begin irrigating, especially plants growing in full sun. Bulbs can be moved or divided as the foliage dies. Pinch back mums to promote bushy growth. Set out peppers and eggplants after soils have warmed. Plant sweet potatoes now. Make new sowings of warm-season vegetables after harvesting early crops. Prune unwanted shoots as they appear on fruit trees.

-- mobot.org

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