Spring into action

Daylight saving time is coming up on Sunday, March 10. Don’t forget to spring forward an hour. As Reno basks in the false spring of early March, though, it occurs to us here at the world headquarters of the Reno News & Review that false spring is a fine time to make and execute a plan for what you want to do with your personal environment this summer. Many of us will do most of our outdoor-work stuff in the early warm days, and so if chores don’t get done by Memorial Day, they don’t get done.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Consider your outside world: Now’s a good time to think about how you use water around your home. Xeriscaping—use of water-efficient plants in your landscaping—is a great way to go, and installation is easier before you turn on the sprinkler system for the summer.

Going to plant a vegetable garden this summer? If you’re taking over part of your lawn, spread cardboard boxes or other organic materials over the area you want to cover now, and you won’t be tempted to use herbicides later in the season.

Speaking of lawns: While some staff members here particularly love their grass, most Renoites have to pay for watering it. Increasing flower bed areas allows for less broadcast irrigation, and they’re nice to have around. In Nevada, though, move the gravel or lava rock coverings away from the house as rock absorbs and releases heat. The money you save on water may just cause increased spending on electricity for air conditioning.

And speaking of air conditioning (and heating), spring is also a good time to replace the filters on the heating system and to inspect the air-conditioning system to make sure it is working properly. It’s a lot cheaper to fix it now than at the height of summer when everyone else’s goes bad, too.

Even people without yards may want to do some things to get ready for an outdoor spring. Some vegetables grow quite well in pots or old five-gallon buckets. Tomatoes, for one, do great. Just cut a two-and-a-half inch diameter hole in the center of the bottom of a five-gallon bucket. Lay the bucket on its side and thread the tomato plant through so the leaves come out the bottom. Carefully pack dirt around the roots and hang the bucket from the handle from your eaves. When watering, just put water in until it begins dripping out the hole where the tomato plant hangs down. No land necessary. No bugs!

Another job that’s much nicer during the spring is installation of a line on which to dry laundry. (Although, yes, you can dry clothes outside in the winter.) Older clothes dryers can cost up to 25 cents per load, but hanging clothes and sheets outside is free and has the benefit of adding a great smell as long as you’re not hanging them during an inversion or near a fruit or berry tree that attracts birds.

And finally, not because we’re your mom or anything, but now is a good time to test emergency systems in your home to ensure they are working properly. Emergency systems might include a home alarm, smoke/fire alarm, overhead sprinkler system or carbon monoxide alarms. Change your batteries. Get a fire extinguisher or see where yours is in its life cycle.

You know you can’t wait to enjoy some sunshine after work. It’s the unofficial beginning of spring, so while you’re springing forward, spring into action.