Blog :: 02-2015

10 Clever Gardening Tips


Believe it or not, spring is almost here! Now is the time to start your seeds and plan your garden. Give your green thumb a boost with these 10 clever tips...


1. Start seedlings in citrus rinds

Not only will they look adorable perched in your windowsill, but the citrus will provide moisture and nutrients to the seedlings. Poke a hole in the bottom of the rind for drainage, fill with soil, plant your seeds and watch them grow. When it's time, plant the rind and all for continued fertilization!

2. Or...use eggshells

Eggshells are rich in calcium and will help seedlings get a healthy start. Delicately fill the shells with soil, add a seed and put back in the carton for storage. Bonus - you're able to label the shells! When it's time to plant, you can use the shells for a later trick..

3. Create a mini greenhouse with plastic bottles

Seedlings thrive in warm, moist climates. Luckily it's as simple to create that environment as cutting the top off of a plastic bottle and covering your citrus or eggshell starter plants! 

4. Use those eggshells as fertilizer

When you're ready to plant your seedlings, crush the eggshells you used and sprinkle around the garden. The calcium will break down and fertilize the soil all season. Bonus tip - snakes do not like eggshells as they are uncomfortable to move over; if you're squeamish this is a good way to keep the serpents out of your garden!

5. Save the water from your steamed veggies...

...and put it to use as fertilizer! Drain the water you use to cook your vegetables, let it cool and use it to water your plants. Not only will you be saving water, but you'll be recycling the nutrients lost in the boiling process for an added boost.

6. Start roses using stems and potatoes 

Starting beautiful rose bushes is as simple as pushing a clean cut stem into a potato and planting. Use a nail to make a hole 3/4 of the way through a potato, then push a rose stem into the hole. The potato provides moisture and helps the roots of the rose start. Plant the potato, fertilize regularly and watch your roses grow!

7. Epsom salt is a cure all 

Sprinkle a bit of epsom salt into the soil before planting to provide a growth boosting punch of magnesium and sulfate. Thereafter, dissolve a tablespoon or two into your watering can each month to keep your vegetables and flowers looking luscious.

8. Use packing peanuts to fill oversized pots

 Huge pots of flowers make a gorgeous statement on a deck or patio, but also require A LOT of soil to fill, and don't even think about moving them with all that weight! Save the soil and fill the bottom half of the pot with packing peanuts instead. Not only will it lighten the load, it will also provide drainage to let your plants thrive.

9. Make a Rubbermaid mobile garden

Short on space? No problem, you can still grow a garden! Pick up a large rubbermaid container with a lid and you're nearly there. Poke drainage holes in the bottom of the container then fill with dirt (or halfway if you use our earlier packing peanut trick!). Plant your vegetables and move the container as necessary - this is perfect for apartment living. Place the filled container on top of the lid to allow excess water to drain out without causing damage. 

10. Earth friendly weed killer

Make an earth friendly - and magically effective - weed killer using ingredients you already have on hand! 


1 Gallon white vinegar

1 Cup table salt

1 Tablespoon dish detergent

Put in spray bottle and apply to weeds while in direct sunlight for best results. 

*Caution* This will cause damage to grass, so be careful while spraying. 


Happy Gardening!





Meet the Team! Gina Masters

Agent Spotlight...Gina Masters!


Gina is not only a great real estate agent, but a great community leader as well! She can be found spreading hope, help, awareness and plenty of smiles at a number of organizations in town. We are proud of all she does for our company and our community!



Let's get started by learning a little about your family...


I met my husband in the church choir in September of 2005, spent a few weeks being friends, began dating at Thanksgiving and got engaged on NYE 2005 and been married since 2006. Six year old miniature poodle, Franklin, is our baby.


What do you like to do outside of real estate?

I love going to the movies with my husband, eating out, boot camp classes, traveling -- and most recently, tennis lessons!


Tell us about your committment to a local community.

Over the last 10 years I have served the community of Essex Alliance Church in many ways. In the past, I have been a small group leader for Financial Peace University, helping people both inside and outside of the church gain financial freedom. If you ever visit us on a Sunday morning, you might see me up front singing on the worship team! Currently, my husband and I run a ministry every Thursday called "Celebrate Recovery" at Essex Alliance Church. It's a Christ centered Twelve Step recovery program for ALL hurts, habits and hang-ups. I also run a six week study called "The Daniel Plan" that teaches whole health - faith, food, fitness, focus and friends.


Favorite Quote?

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11


What have you been reading lately?

Favorites on my shelf are..."The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, "A Resilient Life - You Can Move Ahead No Matter What" by Gordon MacDonald and for fiction fun, "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein.


If you could learn to do anything, what would it be and why?

Since I know I could learn anything I put my mind and time to, I would go back to some things I didn't fully appreciate before like learning to play the piano and becoming fluent in Spanish. Oh - and I'd be on American Ninja Warrior because it's the closest thing to being a super hero!


What is your biggest inspiration?

To live the purpose that God put me on this earth for. I know that I have just begun to scratch the surface and to know that is exciting for me!


What made you choose a career in real estate?

Actually, I had just lost my job in CA and moved back to VT, really unclear about what to do next. I had worked in sales before and thought the best time to try a commission only job was probably while I was still living at home. I had no expectations at all and was completely oblivious to the fact that the market at the time was on fire! Who knew?!


What is your favorite part of being a realtor?

I love consulting. I love helping people navigate through decisions and asking the questions they may not have asked themselves.


List your business strengths.


Excellent communicator - Personal service - Detail oriented.


List your acheivements in the past 10 years of real estate. 

First recipient of the Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors Rookie of the Year (2004) and the Vermont Association of Realtors Rising Star Award (2004). Four time winner of the Quality Service Award.


If your clients or friends were asked to describe you, what would they say?

Reliable, prepared, honest, energetic, loyal.


Give one piece of advice to someone thinknig of buying a home today.

To first time buyers, I would say get over the idea that your first home has to be your perfect dream home - it's not. It took your parents 30 years to get where they are, so stop expecting to live the same lifestyle it took them 30 years to build.


How do you stay at the top of your game?

I start the day with exercise, breakfast and prayer.


Tell us about your proudest achievement.

In 2012, my husband and I paid off $80,000 in debt and have been debt free ever since!


If I'd known then what I know now, I would have...

never listened, so it doesn't matter anyway!





  1. Madeleine Paquette on

    I love you Regina Louise Paquette Masters(a/k/a Gina Masters)with all my heart! Always have, always will!

    Meet the team! Jason Lefebvre


    Agent Spotlight...Jason Lefebvre!


    Jason is one of our most dedicated team members! His determination and leadership transcend the office to the community as well. Find out more about Jason below!


    Do you have a favorite quote? Something that guides you?

    "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca, a Roman Philosopher. 


    When you're not helping your clients buy and sell homes, what do you like to do? 

    Outside of real estate I enjoy spending time with family, coaching baseball, playing sports, hunting and fishing.


    If you could learn to do anything what would it be and why?

    I would love to learn to fly a plane, specifically a jet. 


    Who do you look to in your life for motivation?

    My family is my biggest motivator. Their support is what drives me to do my best every day. I have a loving wife of 8 years and two boys ages 4 and 6. My mother is one of 13 children so I have a very large extended family and have lost count of all the cousins I have! Having their support makes all the difference in my day to day career and life in general. 

    What lead you to real estate?

    I chose a career in real estate for several reasons. One, I was looking for a career that was going to challenge me day in and day out. Two, I really like that in this business there are a lot of moving parts. You get to meet and work with a lot of great people on a daily basis.


    It sounds like being a realtor is the perfect job for you! What is your favorite part about it?

    My favorite part of being a realtor is helping people navigate through the many facets involved with buying or selling a home.

    Home ownership can seem daunting to many people. What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying a home today?

    My best advice would be to seek out a professional who will be your advocate and put your best interests above and beyond anything else. It's important to have an expert on your side to help with tough decisions. 

    What do you do every day to keep you at the top of your game?

    I stay active - both physically and mentally. Exercising and keeping my mind fueled with new information keeps me sharp.

    Jason is a valuable team member and leader here at Signature Properties. We are grateful for all he does!



    Jason Lefebvre, Realtor

    Showing you the way home...

    (802) 872-8881 x109

    Email Jason