Maintaining Garden Equipment and Replacing It

garden equipment

 

Gardening equipment is undoubtedly an expense.  As a result, we have a few tips on maintaining garden equipment. Without the proper equipment, maintaining your garden can feel like a chore.  Most equipment is designed to last many years without the need for replacement.  Check out other gardening tips before you leave.  Here’s a few basic gardening essentials:

  • Lawnmower –  An essential, really.  There’s no way a garden can look good if the grass is overgrown.  Furthermore, this tends to be the most expensive piece of garden equipment that people own.  The average lifespan of a mower is 10 years – though this can vary.  If you’re considering making a purchase, consult Lawn Mower Lane. They have reviews on Hand Reels, Riding Mowers and Tractors, Robotic Mowers and Walk Behinds.
  • Rake –  Those leaves aren’t going to jump into the pile.  Your kids need something to play into this fall. A leaf rake will be called into use!
  • Hoe –  Using a hoe is the easiest way to weed. Hoes are generally inexpensive and can take quite a bit of use.
  • Hand fork/trowel –  These are essentials for planting seedlings and getting rid of weeds that have taken up residence deeper in the soil.
  • Wheelbarrow –  There’s more uses for a wheelbarrow than you can count.  A few are moving grass cuttings to helping transport newly potted plants to their desired location.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a basic one.  If you have owned any of the above items for over five years, it might be worth checking them out for issues.  Maintaining garden equipment before you dive into the new gardening season is a must. Poor equipment can equal a poor finish on any work that you do.  Here’s a few signs of what to look out for:

Rust

If there’s rust on any parts of any of these tools, then you have two options. You can try rust removal.  The success removing the rust can vary.  Or you can simply replace the tools. Rust isn’t inherently dangerous – it’s just a chemical reaction after all – but it can make results unpredictable.

Mechanical Problems

Obviously this is specifically for lawnmowers. Don’t assume that just because the mower does its job that it’s in good condition.  There could be hidden issues. Take it for a tune up at a repair shop. While you’re there, have it checked for other issues that may not be obvious and other safety concerns.

Weakness

Specifically for rakes and hoes.  After years of use, tools can begin to weaken.  Handles can crack or pieces fall off.  Given these items are generally inexpensive, it might be more efficient to just purchase new one.

We hope that you have found our tips on maintaining garden equipment helpful.  Be sure to check your equipment each gardening season.

Garden Dos and Don’ts For The Nervous Parent

gardening, gardening activities for kids, kids gardening

 

 

It’s common knowledge that the more that kids are outside, the happier they are. It boosts health, their immune system and their sense of curiosity and wonder. It’s just a given: kids should be outdoors.

The world is a dangerous place, or at least it feels that way. The days of 1970s latch-key kids are long gone.  That generation of parents has been replaced by a generation who see danger rather than a safe neighborhood.  An enclosed garden can help ease a parent’s fear of allowing their kids to wander around the neighborhood.  Children can still play outdoors, and you can protect their environment.

If you’ve got an area of your garden is not being used and you have no idea what to do with it, it can be tempting just to throw things at it and see what sticks. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to help you create a great outdoor space.  Be sure to check my other gardening tips too:

DO: Make It Secure

A privacy fence is invaluable tool in helping to keep your brood from prying eyes.  It’s also great for keeping them inside the perimeter of the property where you can keep an eye on them, and know their location at all times.  If you have a part of your garden that is overlooked, consider a gazebo or similar, which has the double impact of protection from the sun.

 

gardening, garden ideas,

 

DON’T: Install A Pond

Image From: WikiMedia Commons

There’re a couple of caveats to this one.  Parents must teach children to respect the water.  That’s a tricky task with youngsters who want to catch or watch fish and dragonflies.  Keep temptation away until they fully understand the dangers of drowning.  If you can’t resist a pond, ensure it has sloping sides so any child (or creature) falling in can clamber out.

DO: Focus On Soft Landings

Children are going to stumble in the play area or fall off the swing set.  It’s almost inevitable. You need to ensure the ground that they’re landing on is friendly, no matter what the weather. Grass and mud dry out in summer heat and can be as hard as concrete. Sand is a popular choice, as long as it’s kid-friendly.  You can also use wood chips or mulch in your play area.  Unfortunately, they’re not as forgiving, but they’re better than bare earth.

DON’T: Allow Tree Climbing

I know, I know – it’s a childhood dream! Every kid wants to climb trees!  Ensure the tree is strong enough to hold your child’s weigh. Tree branches can be deceiving.  Being large doesn’t make them strong.  Children moving along them can cause them to break with the additional weigh.  Building a tree house is a viable solution. If not, call in a tree expert to assess the tree for weakness and have weak limbs removed.

DO: Give Yourself A Vantage Point

Try and organize your garden in such a way that you can see it all from one spot.  Hiding places, such as behind sheds, can bring extra dangers.  Block off those areas if possible.  Remove any trees if you must to ensure you can see the entire garden area with a quick glance.

 

 

Summer Activities: Gardening With Your Child

 

gardening with your child

 

My grandfather had a garden when I was growing up, and I remember how different the vegetables taste from the store brought veggies today.  With that in mind, I planted a vegetable garden.  My father was an avid flower gardener, so it’s in my blood.

I decided to involve my grandson when he was little.  He lives near the beach, so backyard gardening isn’t a common theme in that area. When he visits in the summer he helps me with my garden.  He enjoys playing in the dirt and watering my plants.

Most importantly, he is learning about growing vegetables and flowers.  It’s a great way to get him outside and moving.  He loves it so much when he hears the back door open, he is on my heels.  In the photo above, he’s picking peppers.  Hot peppers are big in my family, we love them on everything.  Xavier loves hot peppers on his nachos, he’s a kid after his grandmother’s heart.  I pickle hot peppers, so we have a fresh supply all year and freeze Belle peppers for cooking.

gardening with children


Next, he’s learning the importance of watering the plants, weeding and waiting to reap the benefit.  How do you like his garden boots?  They’re Disney cars.  He loves splashing in the water after he makes puddles in the yard.  I can’t say that he’s learned to love everything he’s nurturing in the vegetable garden, but he’s having fun helping everything grow.

My grandchildren do love carrots, corn, cucumbers and tomatoes.  I use them in pasta salads, and the tomatoes for sauce for spaghetti and pizza which they both love.  I also can tomatoes for chili and soup in the winter.  Yum!

gardening with children

 

I’m a petunia lover too, so I make sure they’re the star on my deck in the summer.  Xavier was 2 when I started involving him in my gardening.  I thought I would share this picture of him sucking his binky and watering my plants.  It’s one of my favorite pictures of him.  I purchased a little watering can, rake and shovel for him too.  He remembers watering the plants, and now wants to water them each summer.  My granddaughter is old now, hopefully she will take an interest as well.

 

gardenng with children

 

Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive.  I start most of my vegetables and flowers from seed that I save.  I also purchase plants off the clearance rack at Walmart or Lowes.  The planter above is filled with Walmart clearance items. I purchased the planter from the Dollar Store.

Most importantly, if you don’t have a yard use your balcony or patio to grow a few plants.  Get your child involved. Better yet, let them plant a few flowers or vegetables of their own.  It teaches them responsibility and also gets them involved in nature. Try a perennial, they come back each year.

Next, when you expose children to different experiences, they will be open to different cultures, music, foods and other experiences as an adults.  Their formative years are in our hands.  They may not model everything that we do in their adult years, but they will have the memories and experience.  Last, you can’t place a price tag on that.