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(MCT)—Vacation season often sees a spike in home burglaries. How do you keep your property safe (and your peace of mind) while you’re away from home?

Installing motion-sensor lighting, window and door alarms plus timers for indoor and outdoor lighting are easy projects that most anyone can do, say the experts at the Home Depot.

Here are some tips to keeping your home protected and your garden growing during vacation or any time:

Home Checklist

—Deadbolts are a must. The most important line of defense for protecting your property is making sure you install deadbolts on every entry door to your home, say the experts. Get strong ones – Grades 1 or 2 offer the best protection.

Considered the most durable, Grade 1 deadbolts extend at least 1 inch into the door frame. They’re made to withstand at least 150 pounds of pressure and the equivalent of 10 hammer blows. More common for residential uses, Grade 2 deadbolts project up to five-eighths of an inch into the door frame and withstand impacts of up to 120 pounds of pressure.

—Link your outdoor lights to motion sensors. The sensors will startle intruders by instantly exposing them to light.

—Get them on camera. Consider installing an affordable video system that allows you to view the outside of your home. (It also will help to identify potential intruders.)

—Alarm systems have become more advanced and easier to install with Wi-Fi options. Consider alarms for windows and exterior doors.

—Make it look like you’re at home. If you’re going away on vacation, put timers on your interior lights. Specifically, look for timers that stagger when your lights go on and off from day to day. That prevents a predictable pattern from being established.

—Also, remember to put a hold on mail and newspaper delivery if you’re away. You don’t want mail and news- papers piling up at your door.

Garden Checklist

—Harvest tomatoes, beans, squash, pepper and eggplants to prompt plants to keep producing.

—Give your plants a deep watering twice a week, more if they look droopy or grow in containers.

—Don’t forget to feed your food. Give tomatoes, squash and other crops a boost with phosphate-rich fertilizer to help fruiting. Always water before fertilizing.

—Get started on the fall vegetable garden. Plant seeds for beets, carrots, Chinese cabbage, head lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas and turnips.

—Watch out for caterpillars and hornworms in the vegetable garden; they can strip a plant bare in one day. Hand-pick these bugs off plants in early morning or late afternoon.

—Enlist youngsters as bug catchers. Offer kids a 25-cent bounty for collecting them in a jar. Identify the beneficial butterflies-to-be (and relocate them to somewhere else in the garden); then dispose of the others. How do you tell which is which? Visit www.bugguide.net and http://butterflywebsite.com/

©2012 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services


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