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Garden Hand Tools - Garden Power Tools - Gardening Tools

August 9th, 2011 Gardening

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Power Garden Tools

Power garden tools are a big investment whether it is a tiller, lawn mower, trimmers, edger or other garden tool. Protect your investment by cleaning your power garden tools regularly. Corrosive substances and dirt can build up quickly, even on lawn mowers. You should wash your power tools down, or at least spray them off with a water hose, after each use. For debris and dirt that doesn’t want to wash away, use a wire brush and it will come loose. Before you store your power garden tools away you should let them dry completely.

It is also a good idea to oil any moving metal parts on your garden tools at least once a month. This can easily be done by wiping them down with a rag that has been dipped in olive oil or even motor oil. Don’t forget that keeping those bladed tools sharp is crucial for productive gardening. The more often you use bladed garden tools, the more often they should be sharpened.

Cutting, Trimming and Pruning Garden Tools

Cutting, trimming and pruning tools are must have garden tools. Here is a run down of a few of the tools that fall into this garden tool category:

Pruning Shears: You hold pruning shears in your hand. They are so small that they can probably fit into your back pocket. Pruning shears are used to cut away dead, dried out or excessive growth on shrubs and plants. Pruning shears will work fine if you use them properly. Many people try to use them to cut things that are too thick. If you are trying to cut something that is wider than the opening of your pruning shears, get a bigger garden tool!

Loppers: Loppers are bigger than pruning shears and you will have to use both hands to operate them. Loppers are used to prune things that pruning shears are too small to handle, such as heavy branches.

Garden Essentials: Gardening Gloves

The most important garden tool that a person will ever have is their hands. Garden gloves are a must garden tool. There are so many types of gardening gloves available that it can be confusing when it comes time to purchase a pair.

There is a new garden glove on the market that is getting rave reviews by both male and female gardeners. These gloves are made out of spandex/lycra. They come in one-size-fits-all and in many different colors. They fit wonderfully and absorb zero water. This means that you can wash your garden gloves even when they are on your hands and they will not retain any water. These gloves resemble the gloves that you see professional sportsmen wearing. They have good grip, but they will protect your hands from thorns, blisters and other gardening hazards.

For people looking for an extra special glove for rose gardening, there are gloves called rose gauntlets. These gloves protect your arm all the way to the elbow. This is good news for someone who is cutting roses or other thorny bushes.

Lawn Mower Safety Tips

Lawn mowers are very dangerous garden tools. If you are going to operate a lawn mower you should know everything there is to know about your personal lawn mower. Not only should you know how to stop your mower quickly, you should know the following lawn mower safety tips:

  • Never leave a mower running if you are not riding on it or pushing it. Never leave a running lawn mower unattended.
  • Keep children and pets out of the area that you are mowing
  • Before you ever back up on a riding mower, or before you walk backwards with a push mower, always look behind you.
  • When you are mowing on slopes you should always reduce your speed and never make abrupt turns.
  • When you are mowing on slopes on a riding lawn mower, go up and down the slopes instead of side to side. However, if you are mowing a slope with a push mower you should mow side to side. This is generally the safest way to mow slopes, but use your better judgement.
  • If slopes are very steep, avoid them and call in a professional.
  • All shields and guards should be kept in place.
  • Before you mow you should scan the area for objects that could be hazardous if thrown from the mower.
  • Never allow children to ride with you on lawn mowers.
  • When you first go to start a mower you should make sure it is not in gear.

Let’s face it -- there are those of us who just hate to wear gardening gloves. If you fall into that category there is good news. There is a new silicon spray that you can purchase. Just apply to your hands and it will seal your hands from dirt, grime and even the dreaded poison ivy. This is the perfect “glove” for someone who hates gloves!

Hedge Shears: Many people say that hedge shears look like scissors that a giant would use. Hedge shears are to be used on hedges. They will make quick straight cuts to hedges and they have a long reach.

Bow Saws: Bow saws are used to cut through green wood very fast. Bow saws resemble a box. They have a steel blade that is stretched tightly between a U-shaped handle. The teeth on a bow saw are very deep. Bow saws can cut through very large branches.

Listing of Important Garden Tools

Garden tools that fall into the “other” category can be just as important to gardening as the more talked about gardening tools. Here is a list of important gardening tools that do not fall into another category:

Garden Hoses: Garden hoses are a must. Without garden hoses a lawn and garden would dry up during times of low rainfall. Garden hoses come in many different lengths and the diameter of garden hoses can run from ½ to ¾ inch diameters. Garden hoses can be made of rubber, plastic or vinyl.

Garden Hose Sprayers: Remember the old days before hose sprayers became popular? You were forced to stick your thumb over the end of a running garden hose to reach those far away plants. Garden hose sprayers are a must have garden tool. You can purchase them to shoot water in a myriad of ways. There are even attachment sprayers you can purchase that will mix your liquid fertilizer with water as you spray your lawn and garden.

Utility Knives: How many times have you been gardening and had to go inside to fetch a knife? Utility knives are a must garden tool and everyone should have one. They are useful for cutting through bags, pots, twine, roots and more.

Wheelbarrows: Wheelbarrows save the day for gardeners. Wheelbarrows are useful in transporting most anything – from mulch to flowers.

Spreaders: Spreaders are a favorite garden tool when it comes time to spread fertilizer or seed. You have the option of purchasing a drop spreader or a rotary spreader.

Maintaining the Life of Wooden Handle Garden Tools

You must be diligent when it comes to maintaining garden tools that have wooden handles. Harsh weather conditions can easily dry out and splinter the wood. After you use your wooden handled garden tools you should wash them with water and let them dry out. After the wood has dried, use a rag soaked in linseed oil and rub down the wood. This will keep the wood conditioned and protect it from the elements. If you have old wooden garden tools that have already started to splinter, sand them down and apply a coat of linseed oil to them.

Don’t forget to watch the edges on your wooden garden tools, too. Trowels, shovels and hoes will become less effective over time. They will need to have their edges sharpened with a file. When filing, remember to always file away from you. You should never file back and forth on an edge.

For wooden garden tools that are becoming loose, use epoxy to fill in any gaps and your handles will tighten back up.

Planting, Cultivating and Raking Garden Tools

Planting, cultivating and raking tools are must garden tools. Here is a run down of a few of the tools that fall into this garden tool category:

Spades: These are basically shovels that are squared off. Spades are good to use when you are edging a garden or trying to break through tough roots in the lawn and garden.

Shovels: Shovels are must garden tools and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You can purchase large, small, square, flat, round and scooped shovels depending on the gardening job you need them for. When you are purchasing shovels remember to buy ones that are comfortable to you. There is no need to purchase a large shovel that holds a lot of material if you are unable to pick it up.

Trowels: Trowels are like mini shovels. They are scoops that are small and you hold the handle in your hand. Trowels are used to plant and transplant. They work well to dig holes in the soil and to mix soil in containers.

Garden Forks: Garden forks will generally have four tines or spikes on them. Garden forks are used to break up the soil, turn the soil and add amendments to the soil. It is handled much like a shovel.

Bow Rakes: Bow rakes are basically rakes that have rigid tines on them. These are used when you want to level dirt or mulch, or to remove debris such as stones from your garden.

Properly Store Away Garden Tools and Chemicals for the Winter

You will need to take some time to properly store garden tools away for the winter. Tossing them into the garden shed and shutting the door for months is not good. You may think your garden tools are quietly hibernating when the truth is they are probably corroding and rusting.

Take an afternoon at the end of the gardening season and prepare your garden tools for winter. Check each item for any damage or repair that it may need before you put it away. Sharpen any blades or edges at this time and remove any rust spots that are developing. Clean and lubricate your garden tools, both metal and wood pieces. For tools that have gas in them, drain out the gas. It is not safe or good for the mower, tiller, etc to have gas sitting in it all winter. Drain water hoses before the first freeze and make sure you read the information on the back of chemicals to ensure that they are being stored properly in the off season.

Properly Store Your Garden Tools

Lawn and garden tools should not be stored on the ground. Of course, mowers and other large garden machinery will have to stay on the floor. However, rakes, shovels, hoes and other garden tools should not be left on the floor. Here are some easy ways to store your lawn and garden tools up and off the floor:

Hooks: Hooks are a best friend to a gardener. Sturdy hooks can be installed in the garage or storage shed or closet. Large lawn tools such as hoes, shovels and rakes should be hung on hooks to keep them off the floor.

Storage Bins: Storage bins are a great way to store your smaller garden tools. You can purchase storage bins that have slots in them or you can just purchase a large empty storage bin and put your garden tools in it. For garden tools you want to keep sharp, fill up a bin with sand and a bit of oil. Place your small garden tools in the sand, handle side up and your garden tools will stay sharp and free of rust.

Protect Your Knees When Gardening

Gardening can be hard on the body, especially as a person gets older. Getting down on the ground to weed may be one thing, but getting up after you have been squatting for a period of time is another! A great must have garden tool that is all about comfort is a kneeling pad. Kneeling pads are knee savers. Not only do they cushion the knee, they keep your knees clean. Kneeling pads are made with handles so you can pick them up and move them with you as you garden.

For someone who doesn’t want to fool with moving around a kneeling pad, there are kneeling pad cups that you can buy. Kneeling pad cups strap on to your knees. They move and bend with you and are adjustable to fit any size leg and knee. The chore of planting flowers or veggies and weeding will not seem as irritating when your knees are protected. Kneeling pads and kneeling pad cups are fairly inexpensive. They are well worth the ten dollars that they generally cost. Once you have this kind of comfort you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

The Right Weed Trimmer

If you are in the market for a weed trimmer it can be a little confusing knowing which one to purchase. There are three basic types to choose from: gas powered, cordless electric and corded electric.

  • A gas powered weed trimmer is the best option for someone who has a very large yard or property to trim. Gas powered trimmers can be operated for extended amounts of time and they require no cords.
  • A corded electric trimmer is the best option for someone who only has a small amount of lawn to trim. Before you buy a corded electric you should check out the length of your lawn to ensure that you have a cord that will travel the distance.
  • A cordless electric weed trimmer is rechargeable. These trimmers charge when not in use and very convenient for someone who has a medium size lawn to trim. Unlike the corded electric trimmer, the cordless version will allow you to get into spots that you would be unable to reach with a cord.

Understanding Aerating Garden Tools

If your lawn has compacted soil it will probably need aerating. Lawn soils that compact the easiest are clay soils and soils that have a lot of vehicle or foot traffic on top of it. Heavily compacted soil can result in irrigation problems. One way you can tell if your lawn could benefit from being aerated is to do the screwdriver test. Try to push a large screwdriver into the lawn on a dry day. If you cannot do it, your soil should be aerated.

The best time to aerate your lawn is in the fall. Aerating in the spring can lead to a lot of weed seeds germinating. If you are not familiar with aerating, it is the process of punching holes into your lawn. As the holes are punched plugs of dirt are removed and fall back onto the top of your lawn. Aerating your lawn will allow oxygen to circulate and gases to be exchanged with the atmosphere.

There are two different types of aeration devices that you can use to aerate your lawn soil. These garden tools are known as the spike aerator or the plug aerator. The spike aerator will punch holes into the dirt without removing any plugs of soil. The plug aerator will actually punch holes in the soil and discharge the plugs back on top of the lawn. The plug aerator is the preferred method of aeration. However, spike aeration is better than ignoring the problem.