Most Useful Lawn and Garden Tools

garden tools

Beautiful lawns and gardens don’t just happen. They require a lot of work and dedication, as well as constant attention. The people that manufacture lawn and garden tools realize that gardeners are a hard working breed, and would like us to believe that we need a different gadget for every job in the yard. The truth is, many tools can be used for more than one purpose, and spending the money on these useless gadgets just isn’t necessary.

Let’s examine some of the tools that will prove to be the most useful for tending to the yard or garden.

Trowel

A garden trowel is similar to a small, hand-held shovel. No gardener should be without this great little tool. Whether you are digging up a spot for new colorful spring flowers, pulling weeds from the garden, or replanting your favorite container plant, this is an item you will come to depend on.

Shovel

Everyone needs a durable shovel when working outdoors. A shovel can dig large holes for planting trees or shrubbery, or can be used to pick up and move large clumps of dirt or other debris.

Rake

A rake is a very basic yard tool, used to gather leaves, dirt, or other debris. There are some things a shovel simply cannot pick up, which is usually when a rake comes in handy.

Garden hoe

There are two types of garden hoes, a cutting hoe and a draw hoe. A draw hoe can be replaced by other items listed here; however, a cutting hoe is essential, as it can be pushed back and forth to cut the soil, making it ideal for edging.

Garden fork

A garden fork has a long handle with several (usually three or four) short “teeth”. It can serve many purposes, including cultivating soil, breaking new ground, tilling the garden, aerating the yard, removing debris, and so much more. This is a heavy duty gardening tool that everyone should have in the garage or shed. Hand-held garden forks are also available, which are much easier to use in small garden areas.

Before purchasing any lawn and garden tool, handle them to test for comfort. When selecting your tools, keep in mind that copper based metals are most beneficial to the soil, as copper is non-magnetic and will not add traces of metal when used. This type of tool wears nicely and will not corrode as easily as garden tools made of other materials.

This entry was posted in Tools.

Using Shredded Office Paper In Your Compost Pile: Getting The Best Results

Compost Pile

Using shredded office paper in your compost pile is a great way to both reduce the amount of paper waste that your company throws away every day but it is great carbon content for your compost pile.

Paper by nature is a great carbon source for composting and if you can use it in the right way you can really get some good results from a free source. There are a few things that you will need to know in order to get the most out of your paper.

  1. Most of the office paper that you receive will more than likely be ok because they will all more than likely use soy based inks. The only exception to this rule is if the paper is glossy or if there is a lot of color ink used as some of the colors may have heavy metals in them. Other than that you are in the clear to use all the old office memo faxes that you can get your hands on.
  2. Cut it up as small as you can to get the best results. If you leave it as whole sheets or large portions it has a tendency to clump really bad. I use an old lawn mower with a bagger attachment to get the paper into the smallest form possible. If you have one just put all of your paper into a pile and put the mower the mower on the lowest setting so that you get the most paper into the bag possible. Once you got that done just crank’er up and go back and forth until all of the paper is in the bag. If you have a lot of grass clippings and are having a hard time getting the paper to go in the bag you can mix the paper with the grass. Another way to get your paper shredded up the most is to use a paper shredder or a wood chipper. These two options are require you to buy one of these items if you do not already have them. They do work great if you do have them though.
  3. Once you have all of the paper torn up as small as you can you will want to layer it in between other carbon or Nitrogen sources such as leaves or grass clippings. You can also dump all of the shredded paper into the pile and use a pitch fork to turn the pile to mix it in as much as possible. If the paper does turn into a giant clump try and mix some small twigs or mulch in with it and put the mixture as far into the middle of the pile as possible.
  4. Once everything is all mixed up into the pile you can wet the pile or choose not to if your pile already has enough moisture in it. Cool video about shredded paper composting and other ideas to use shredded paper around the garden.

Turn Your Wall Into a Vertical Garden

vertical garden

You can bring your wall alive with a vertical garden. If you can do it properly, it will add life to your house making it both functional and attractive. There are many different ways you can go about it. Don’t worry if you can’t find anybody to help you. There are lots of vertical garden ideas on the internet, and the DIY wall garden is not hard to make.
The first step in building a vertical wall garden is to choose the right place. Most vegetables need plenty of sunlight and fresh air to grow well. Also, make sure that the garden will not obstruct your movement in any way or make the house look unsightly.

After you have chosen the place, select the method. You can go for the one in which you let plants climb all over the wall. You can choose one in which you let a climbing plant climb up another plant or a branched pole, while growing other plants at its feet. You can even build a hydroponic garden in water containers without using any soil.

The Vertical Wall Garden

Here is one method you may find quite easy and good for your home. It involves screwing planters in several rows against the wall and growing plants in them. This is how you go about it: Get planters or rain gutters, a foot or a meter scale, screws or nails, an electric drill, a screwdriver and a hammer. You may also use an open-topped fixture 8 inches to 1 foot deep instead of planters or rain gutters.
Now, draw several horizontal lines on the wall one above another. The lowest line should be one to three feet above the ground, and each line should be two-three feet above the line below it, depending n the size of your planters – gutters, being smaller, can be closer to together – and what you intend to grow. Mark the places along the lines where you want the planters.

If using gutters, you will need to drill drainage holes, about 6 inches apart. Make sure the holes do not line up from one gutter to the next one. Screw or nail the planters on the marked spots. Fill the planters with soil. Add fertilizers if necessary. Sow seeds or plant seedlings in the planters. Water the plants regularly. Once the plants cover the wall, your vertical garden will look beautiful.
You can also grow plants in containers sitting on the ground below your wall garden, if you have left enough space below your first mounted planter.

Hydroponic Garden

Here is another method. It is called hydroponic garden and it uses the mineral nutrients available in and/or added to water. It doesn’t use any soil and you can set it up at any place in your house. This can be one of the best vertical garden ideas if you absolutely have no space, but still want a garden. The good news is that almost every plant that grows on land can be grown hydroponically.
To learn how to make a hydroponic garden, study hydroponic websites or invest in a book like Gardening Indoors with Soil & Hydroponics by George F. Van Patten.

You do need a bit of know-how to get this right, but the advantages of hydroponics are: the same water can be used again and again; you can control the amount of nutrition added to the water; there’s no pollution (fertilizer run-off); and it’s easy to get rid of pests and diseases. The disadvantage is that if something goes wrong, the plants quickly die.

Other Methods

Other methods of building a vertical wall garden include placing the planters on the balcony and window sills; or letting the plants climb up an arched trellis; or letting climbing plants such as cucumber simply climb up the wall.  You can also buy purpose designed vertical garden systems, such as Grow Wall, Zipgrow towers and Arista Caseto.