Read these 20 Equipment and Supplies Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Garden tips and hundreds of other topics.
Instead of marking rows with the traditional empty seed packets on stakes, make far more durable labels out of plastic picnic knives. Use the plain white kind; their blades offer a good flat surface for inscriptions. Record the plant variety and planting date with an indelible marker and then push the knife, handle downward, into the soil at the head of the row. Other cheap ways to make row markers or seed starting markers is to cut up light colored window blinds and use a permanent marker on them. Wooden popsickle sticks will work too although they tend to rot where they touch the soil.
Your tools and equipment for the garden will last longer and work better with regular cleaning and maintenance. They also will be less likely to spread disease. Clean your pruning shears, trowels, shovels and spades after each use. At the end of the gardening season, inspect your tools for rust. Then, clean and dry each tool and place the metal end in a bucket of builder's sand for the winter season.
The fall months are a good time to sharpen and repair dull, hardworking tools. Use a flat mill file to smooth out rough edges and nicks in your metal tools. Be sure to run the file along the bevel, just enough to sharpen the blades. It is much easier to sharpen tree toppers and pruning equipment if you unscrew them. Using a whetstone works best for this task.
When doing your fall tool cleaning chores, don't forget to check wooden handles for splinters, nicks and wear. To keep them at their best and to prevent them from drying out over the winter, you should:
* Sand any splinters or rough edges to smooth the handles.
* Wash them in soapy water and dry them off.
* Rub them with linseed oil, tung oil, beeswax or orange wax to provide extra protection to the wood.
PVC pipe has many uses in your home and garden. Here's a handy feeding tip, using this versatile pipe. Cut foot long sections of one inch pipe. Push the pipe sections into the soil near the base of your roses and other flowering plants. Every few weeks, pour liquid fertilizer into the pipe, and watch your babies grow!
A cold frame, which is a wooden box with a lid made of glass panes, is an excellent tool in your gardening arsenal. This nifty box can help you get a jump start on spring by providing a warm, solar heated place for the seedlings to get started. Larger cold frames can be built right into the ground to take advantage of thermal heat.
Always soak clay pots overnight before using them so that they do not immediately wick all the moisture from the soil. Clay pots allow the plant to breath better than plastic pots, however due to this fact the plants will dry out faster. Plastic pots or peat pots are best used when starting seeds. Clay pots are better for older plants with established root systems.
When you use chemicals, always read and follow the label directions. The label on a container of pesticide was put there to protect you and the environment. It outlines safety practices you must follow when using or storing chemicals. If you don't understand something on the label, go back to where you purchased the product or call your county extension office for help. Don't forget to think about whether you really need a pesticide before you use it.
Shipping plants is not as difficult as it may seem. First, don't throw away those cell packs from plants you've bought.They can fit into a shoe box upright. Tape them to the bottom so them don't shift around and ship the box off. Plants can also be wrapped in wet newspaper and shipped. Next, be sure to label the box "THIS END UP! LIVE PLANTS!" One final tip - Don't forget to water your plants before you pack them.
Many people don't think to lock their garden sheds. However, when you think of all the dangerous garden chemicals and equipment that is stored in most garden sheds, it is a good idea to keep them under lock and key. Children and pets are fascinated by these small sheds and can quickly get into danger in them.
When using garden chemicals, always practice safety first. Garden chemicals, while safe when used as directed, should be respected.
Always use gloves and goggles. Wash your hands and any skin that may have come in contact with the agent. Wash the clothing you wear to apply garden chemicals as soon as you are finished working with the chemicals.
Keep a collection of clean one quart spray bottles in the tool shed. When you go out to the garden, mix up a quart of weed killer and hook the bottle to your belt. Don't forget to label the bottle clearly with an indelible marker so that you'll never mistakenly use that bottle for insecticide or anything else.
Carry the bottle with you and zap any weeds you see as you go. There is no need to drag out a heavy sprayer. With a spray bottle, you will use far less weed killer and you will know exactly where every drop went.
To avoid accidents with lawn tractors and power mowers, you should:
* Know the controls and how to stop the machine quickly.
* Stop the power before leaving the seat.
* Keep children out of your work area.
* Look behind you before backing up.
* Reduce speed when turning sharply, as well as on slopes.
* Stay off steep slopes.
* When mowing with a riding mower, go up and down slopes to avoid tipping over, but with a walking mower, go across the slope to avoid getting your foot caught in the blade.
* Keep all guards and shields in place.
* Clear the area of objects that could be thrown by the blade.
* Keep your hands and feet well away from rotating blades.
* Make sure the riding mower is out of gear before starting it up.
* Never give children rides. Mowers are not toys.
You can create your own hydroponics unit outside. Use pvc pipe and the U shaped connectors. The easiest unit uses six foot two by six supports leaning against an outside wall. The eight foot tall pipes start at the top and zig-zag down to about one foot from the ground. You will need to cut a hole about every six to eight inches with a drill attachment for doorknob holes. Fill the pipes with any of the hydroponic materials and put a basin at the bottom with a small fountain pump on a timer that goes up to the top end of the pipe. This unit works year round, unless you get deep freezes. You can put an aquarium heater in the basin if you only get light frosts. The unit is perfect for all of your salad plants or the herb garden. Allow at least several weeks before you change the solution.
There are several things you should do to stay safe while using mowers and trimmers. Before you mow your lawn, you should:
1. Scan the area for rocks and toys.
2. Be sure children and pets are not playing nearby.
3. Always wear safety goggles while mowing or using weed trimmers. It can save you from serious injury.
Buy the best quality tools you can afford. Experience has taught me through broken handles and shovel heads that this is one garden necessity that it makes no sense to skimp on. Top quality tools only make your job easier and safer in the long run and they will pay for themselves over time.
Fungi thrive in the greenhouse, because of the humid nature of the building. To lessen the chance of growing fungi, keep your greenhouse in immaculate condition. Pick up leftover plant materials, rotting stems and wet earth. A little prevention can really help you avoid a fungus infestation.
When gas sits in a mower or power tool over several months, gas lines can become clogged. Always drain gas from your mower for the winter months. If you do forgot to drain the gas out of the lawnmower for the winter, be sure to start it up from time to time to keep gas lines from becoming clogged.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|