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Dear Virginia


Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Virginia CooperMonday, Febraury 18, 2002

Dear Virginia, My houseplants are infested with fruit flies, what do I do?

If these little bugs look like fruit flies, the plants are probably infested with fungus gnats. Not a threat to your plants' health, the gnat larvae live on decaying matter in the soil, and are only a temporary nuisance.

Best control for fungus gnats on house-plants, is to let the soil to dry longer between waterings. You can also try using a product that contains Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis. A special strain of Bt called H-14 can be watered directly into the soil.

Bt is actually a bacteria that infests the bodies of soft insects like slugs, or most other insects during their larval stage. It has recently become a very popular organic alternative to mainstream petrochemical insecticides. Bt has recently been under fire as it has been genetically bonded to corn (Bt Corn) and is suspected to cause harm to butterfly larvae.

It is no surprise to this author that both sides of the argument have produced their own studies and neither has proved conclusively one way or the other if butterflies, particularly Monarchs, are in danger. I guess time will tell. Personally, I would rather not eat corn that has bacteria in its DNA. It may take years before we see the ramifications of genetic engineering - good or bad. But that's another story.

Seed Starting Help
I came across a great article on seed starting in a back issue of Fine Gardening magazine. Here's a few of the more interesting tidbits.
• Use a clear plastic sweater box to hold your flats and pots of seedlings. They can be easily carried outside to act as a tiny cold frame. Add a layer of pebbles to the bottom so that plants don't sit in water.
• Save space in flats by germinating seeds before planting. Spread a sheet of moist paper toweling out and sprinkle seeds on one half. Fold the other half over and fold again so that it fits into a sandwich sized plastic bags. Seal, label and wait. Keep paper toweling moist but not wet. Check for germination by holding the bags up to the light. As seeds sprout transplant to pots. If sprouts stick to the paper toweling, just remoisten or tear off and plant with paper attached. Seeds that need stratification, or a period of cold in order to sprout, can be moistened then stored in a refrigerator or coldroom until sprouted.
• Save those plastic mesh strawberry containers. They make a great .....
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Hope for a man with a big head

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Monday, February 11, 2002

I went to a seminar last week and tried to pay attention. Speaker after speaker talked about how they had to wear many hats in their jobs. This made me start thinking about hats. My mind wandered. I, too, wear many ha ..... 
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Two Journal writers have books in the works

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Monday, Febraury 4, 2001

Two Journal contributors have been busily working on books that should be coming out in the next few months.

Nancy Overcott

Nancy Overcott, whose column At Home in the Woods appears regularly in the Jour ..... 
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Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

To the Editor,

Our legislators have had a large surplus of our tax dollars for the past six years. The legislators (both Republican and Democrat) have been on a spending spree, which in the last ten years has doubled the state’s budget.
< ..... 
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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February 4, 2002

To the Editor,

I am responding to the letter written by John Seem of Harmony in the January 13, 2002 issue of the Journal.

I will not disagree that war is a terrible thing and all, or most, that comes ..... 
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Lucille Evelyn Trouten

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Lucille Evelyn Trouten, 81, of Mahtomedi, Minn., formerly of Harmony, died February 10, 2002 at New Prospective in Mahtomedi.

Lucille Evelyn Johnson was born March 12, 1920, to Helmer R. & Ella Arneson Johnson in Fremont Township, Winneshiek ..... 
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