Life, running, fitness, weight loss, recipes and healthy living!

Life, running, fitness, weight loss, recipes and healthy living!

Tag: gardening

Choosing Your Weed Wacker Straight Shaft or Curved

Choosing Your Weed Wacker Straight Shaft or Curved

When you’re choosing the best weed eater for your needs you’ll probably be considering whether an electric, cordless, gas or propane weed eater will do the job. There’s also the question of whether to get one with a straight shaft or a curved one.

The straight shaft weed eater is perhaps the more traditional model. Historically the larger, more expensive professional models are straight shaft. If you’ve always used a straight shaft weed wacker you might wonder what the curved ones are for.

The straight shaft weed eater is usually available with more accessories: like heavy-duty cutting blades and other attachments. Curved shaft weed eaters are shorter, and to be honest I’m not sure I’d want a hard steel blade doing several hundred rpm that close to me – even if it was available!

In fact the real difference is simply one of comfort. The two Hitachi 2 stroke weed eaters pictured above have exactly the same motor, they weight just about the same (the curved shaft is slightly shorter so slightly lighter) – so the only difference is the length of that shaft. Taller people tend to prefer the straight shaft and shorter people the curved shaft – although that’s by no means an absolute.

You could claim the string angle to the ground is closer to parallel and so more natural with a curved shaft – although I’ve never had any problems with my straight shaft model. You could argue that the short shaft is more maneuverable in tight spaces – but most times that’s not really a issue. If you’re working in a small area you’re unlikely to find the really dense undergrowth that professional weed eaters are designed to tackle so a smaller, lightweight electric weed wacker will probably be your choice.

The right power and accessories for the jobs you’ll be doing are the more important factors. If your chosen weed eater has straight and curved shaft options, that’s a bonus.

Tips on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden

Tips on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden

Want to have fresh and organic vegetables grown in your own garden? There is nothing more satisfying than growing your own vegetables. They taste delicious and much healthier than any organic vegetable you get from the store. You are sure to be bowled over by the juicy, sweet flavor and lively textures of home grown vegetables.

Backyard Garden Tomatoes on VineBut not many people try their hand at growing a vegetable garden because they think it is an overwhelming task. This is not true.

Here are some essential tips that will make the entire process from choosing the right location and vegetables to getting a good yield an effortless task. These tips will show you can definitely grow your own vegetable garden easily.

Begin small

When you are just starting out, it is wise to confine the gardening to a small space. Don’t go overboard with the planting and end up with more than you can eat or need.

A favorable size for beginners would be around 16 by 10 feet. This size can easily feed four persons for the summer and leave you plenty behind for freezing and canning or for giving away.

Start with 11 rows with each of the rows being 10 feet in length. To get the full effect of sunlight make sure the rows are in the north south direction.

Vegetables to start with

If you want to get adept at gardening, it is best to start with vegetables that need very little attention but give a good yield like beets, carrots, cabbage, beans, radishes, lettuce, turnips and spinach. These give you multiple crops in a single season.

Planting tips

Sunny space: Choose an area that receives sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours a day.

Soil:  Soft soil lets the roots penetrate easily. So, choose loamy soil and enrich it with compost. Ensure there is proper drainage of water.

Compost: Spread compost in late fall season after harvesting, cover with winter mulch like chopped leaves or hay. In spring, the compost would be ripe to work for you. Apply twice a week before planting as it needs adequate time to stabilize and integrate with the soil.

Pest free soil: Plants such as onions, garlic, chrysanthemums and chives repel insects. Grow such plants to repel insects. Healthy soil can easily resist disease and pests, and you can avoid harmful pesticides. Use soil amendments and organic fertilizers, which earthworms love. These are very good for vegetable growth.

Choosing the right vegetables and plants

Opt for plants that grow well in your locality and are suited to the area. Started plants are better than seeds as the harvest time is shorter. If you are partial to vining vegetables grow your cucumbers, squash and melons on a fence or vertical trellis. This is space saving and looks appealing too.

Start on the peas indoors to increase the germination rate. You will get healthier seedlings that are resistant to disease and pests. Try companion planting which keeps the plants with sufficient nutrients and even wards off pests effectively.

When you plan it appropriately, a stunning garden brimming with healthy vegetables will be much easier than you had ever imagined. You will not have to toil for hours to get the results. By combining flowers and vegetables, you can also make the landscape a potential beauty to behold.

Garden Hose Reel Advice

Garden Hose Reel Advice

What are the Choices of Garden Hose Reels and where will you get the best Hose Reels Advice?

There are many choices of garden reels available today and it can be quite confusing as to deciding which type, style, brand etc is going to best suit your needs. In this article I will offer my over 20 years experience in the hose reels business to hopefully offer you the best hose reels advice so that you can be armed with the best information when you make your purchase.

There are a number of aspects to consider when selecting a garden reel for your particular needs. Some of these are listed below in brief form and will be covered in future articles in more DETAIL. Some of these are pretty obvious however there are some things that many people fail to take into account when finding the right reel. Hose length, hose diameter (internal and external), water pressure, length of hose required (versus what hose capacity different reels have, the construction material (steel or plastic), method of winding up the hose (hand crank or spring rewind) and the major aspect that many people fall down on is the positioning of the reel.

Where Will You Position your Garden Reel?

So you are considering buying a hose reel for your garden. Maybe you have walked through a few large DYI or Hardware stores or even checked out a few sites on the internet and are maybe a little bit confused about what type you should purchase and importantly where are you going to position it?

Let’s first look at the that wonderful real estate adage, position, position, position as a starting point. Where you are going to install / mount your garden reel needs careful consideration. What practical length of hose will you need relative to where you install it? What area of garden or lawn do you want to effectively cover with your reel?

Is your current inlet water supply (tap / faucet) limiting you on where you can install / mount your garden hose reel? The chances are the position of your water supply (tap / faucet) outdoors for use with a garden hose was arbitrarily determined by the builder of your home or the previous owner, or if by you then likely from a set of plans – let’s face it, the garden / lawn area was either not predetermined or has changed.

So if the length of hose on a type of reel you are considering is not quite going to give you the coverage you need – what is the solution?

If installing / mounting your garden hose reel near / next to your water supply to the reel (tap / faucet) will not give you the most desired coverage then there are solutions.

Example – you may have 2, 3 or more water supply points around your house – typically most homes have at least 2 – one at the front and one at the back of the house. These outlets may not be in the best position for watering your garden – I know mine aren’t and I designed my house!!!

Example 2 – I have a water supply (tap / faucet) on the south facing side at the front of my house, about a metre (3ft) from the corner of the house. There is no garden(s) on that section of the south side of the house – the gardens are on the west side!!!

So mounting a hose reel right next to that outlet means I am pulling the hose around a corner – not very practical or sensible right?

So the solution for me was to run some poly water pipe from the outlet, along the ground (eventually I pulled up my pavers and buried it) to a point on the west side of the house where the garden is. Sounds logical however even I didn’t think of it in the first place!!

I fitted a riser and an on / off valve and then mounted my garden reel in the best possible position for me to get the best efficiency and least hassles. It is easy and cheap to do – you don’t need to pay a plumber to do this for you – some poly pipe, some fittings and the job is done!!

Last but not least in this section of positioning your garden hose reel is how you install / mount your garden hose reel after you have decided where you want / need it. A garden reel should be offering you efficiencies right? – if not then you could use an old car wheel rim.

Tip – make sure you mount the reel at a suitable “ergonomic” height – a height which will not have you bending over or reaching up to operate it. Take some time to measure the installation / mounting position carefully before installing the reel to a wall or post or other fixing. The ideal position is for the hose as it rewinds onto the reel to be at about your hip height (this assumes in hand crank reels that the crank is centre line with the reel which should be the case – for spring rewind reels this will be a given).

Sharpening a Spade With an Angle Grinder

Sharpening a Spade With an Angle Grinder

It is easy to work with sharp tools or devices than with round ones. There is a misconception of sharpened cutting, trimming or digging tools being dangerous. But the fact is – blunt tools are more menacing than the sharpened ones. It is not easy to work with blunt tools. You have to put in additional effort to cut, dig, trim or do any such similar tasks. There’s a high risk of slipping or missing a move while using a blunt tool – which might lead to getting cuts and bruises in the process. Thus, it is equally important to sharpen every type of device that has sharp edges.

Sharpening a spade will make it easier for you to cut through roots, sod, and soil. You can use a sharpening stone or file to stimulate the edge of a spade, but the process is time-consuming. Also, it is a daunting task to use a sharpening stone or file. The best and a more convenient option is an angle grinder.

Sharpening a spade with an angle grinder will save you time, as well as, effort. It does a quicker job than a sharpening file or stone. Furthermore, an angle grinder is the best option for sharpening a spade than a stone or file because the edge of a shovel is round and does not require being as sharp as a knife or other chopping and cutting tools. So, using an angle grinder is convenient, comfortable and efficient.

How to sharpen a spade with an angle grinder? Ten steps to sharpening a spade with an angle grinder:

First, you need to fit the blade or edge of a tool that requires grinding into a vice or clamp. It will prevent the device from being unstable or wobbly.

Ensure that the grinder wheel does not spin away when sharpening the tool.

Adjust the guard of the angle grinder to divert spark from you.

Make sure that the wheel meets the angle of the blade.

After you have determined these two key criteria, start the angle grinder.

First, increase the speed and then allow the wheel to contact the blade of the spade.

Once in contact with the spade, slide the angle glider in slow motion that across the sharpening edge and move it in a single direction.

Do not change the angle of the sharpening process. Avoid moving back and forth; else you will miss a move and abrupt the entire procedure.

Keep a bucket filled with cold water, along with a piece of cloth.

Use the cold water and cloth to cool the blade. Make sure the blade does not get overheated, else it will become blunt at a rapid speed.

An angle grinder is an appropriate sharpening device. It comes with multiple grinding wheels, which further makes the sharpening process easy, convenient and super useful. You can use the wheels not just to sharpen a spade or other cutting and digging devices, but also for removing grime, dried cement, rust and paint from various metallic objects and surfaces.

However, it is also crucial to use an angle grinder wearing the necessary safety gears – like, gloves, guard and face mask. Change the wheels after unplugging the grinder. These are a few safety measures you should consider before using an angle grinder for sharpening a spade or any other tool.

PUSH REEL MOWERS

PUSH REEL MOWERS

The idea of lawn mowers was thought up by engineer Edwin Beard Budding in 1830. Being inspired by other cutting devices, he invented the lawn mower for the purpose of cutting the grass of sports grounds and gardens. After Edwin signed his first agreement on 18th May 1830, the manufacturing of lawn mowers started in the 1850s. Since then, lawn mowers have very effectively been helping us with the cutting of grass.

Lawn mowers not only cut the grass, but they make our lawns look healthy and beautiful. There are different types of lawnmowers available in the market.

These days, commonly used lawnmowers are Robotic Mowers. To use a robotic lawn mower, you have to first select the particular area to be mowed, and then you need to mark the boundary of that area.

Manual or Traditional Mowers are another type of lawn mower, which are manually operated. This lawnmower requires the physical strength of a person to operate them. They are heavy in weight and need to be pushed in order to cut the grass.

Professional mowers are another widely used lawnmower. They have a horizontal cutter to give the best result, and are generally used for big areas such as universities, stadiums or gardens.

Clipper lawn mowers are used for mowing the toughest spots. They are equipped with scissors which have long blades. Clippers can be operated manually, as well as automatically.

Here are some factors which should be considered while purchasing a lawn mower:

• First of all, look at its weight. It should not be heavy; otherwise you will face difficulties in operating it.

• Check its safety features. Check that the blades are not exposed.

• It should start easily.

• Handling should be easy.

• If you do not have a very big area of lawn, then you can select a push reel mower.

• If your lawn is a big area, then use a professional mower, otherwise it will be a lot of work.

• For trimming grass, use a mulching lawnmower, as they cut grass to a very low level.

• Go for a self-propelled lawn mower if your lawn is in a hilly area.

• If you want to purchase a lawn mower for very big lawn areas, such as a stadium or garden, then go for a ride-on lawn mower.

Operating a lawn mower is not a difficult task. Almost every lawnmower works on the same principles. Most lawn mowers which are being used these days have an inbuilt motor. They have gears with an axle to spin the wheels. The basic function of the motor is to spin the blades which cut the grass, so as to make it easy to operate.

Manual or traditional mowers are very simple to operate. In a manual mower, the blades are attached to the wheels. With the movement of the wheels, the blades spin and cut the grass. Manual mowers are very heavy in weight, so quite a lot of strength is required to operate them.

Lawn mowers provide a great help in keeping the beauty of your lawn maintained. However, it is essential that you keep in mind the size of your lawn when purchasing a lawnmower. This will help you to be able to choose the appropriate one for your needs.