Real Estate

Home front: Rents lower in Mountain View, instant gardening help

Also, teaching kids about fire safety

RENTS RISE ... The website apartmentlist.com has reported that once again Palo Alto's rents rose last month, although only three-tenths of 1 percent. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Palo Alto is $3,200, or $2,020 above the national average of $1,180. One interesting note from apartmentlist.com is that rents in Mountain View, for both one- and two-bedroom apartments, are down slightly. Mountain View's median two-bedroom monthly rent is $2,700, or $500 less than Palo Alto's.

INSTANT GARDEN HELP ... If you can't get to the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden to speak with an expert during open hours, and you're garden looks like it's in trouble, look for assistance on the UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County's "Garden Help" web page at mgsantaclara.ucanr.edu/garden-help. The University of California has created an extensive "home, garden, turf, and landscape pests" website with information on all sorts of problems California gardeners are likely to encounter. Search by plant name or pest name to see what might be afflicting your plants. There also is a Help Desk you can contact by phone or email or visit in person at 1553 Berger Drive, San Jose. Use the group's "plant diagnostics" page to gather pertinent information before calling or dropping in.

SAFE KIDS ... The Palo Alto Fire Department's home page, cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts has a "Kids' Corner" located in a tab under Safety Tips that has printable coloring pages for kids to learn about what smoke detectors do and how they work. It even suggests kids name their smoke detectors and remind their parents to check them once a month. The page has suggestions for helping teach kids fire safety at home as well as links to Smokey the Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog , mascots of the National Fire Protection Association.

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