TOOL SHED - 2007

November 3
, 2007

It is never too early to start thinking about injuries in the garden.  We are talking about the aches and pains of the average gardener.  William and Judy shared some tips and some of the newest tools on the market.  First the tools:  Fiskars shared some of their newest tools that have been recognized by the Arthritis Foundation for their ease of use and design.  They are designed with power gears and are lighter in weight to relieve stress and strain on your hands and body.  We also saw tools with extending handles and benches to make it easier to get work done around the garden.  Tips to help your body included working later in the day once your muscles warmed up and working with containers and raised beds to relieve stress on your back.  For other labor (and body saving devices) check out your local garden center.

October 20, 2007

Fall is the time to clean up for the winter months ahead. If your lawn and garden needs a big time clean-up, you need to find a tool that will do the job right, the first time. We paid a visit to Wayne Sutton of Stihl to learn about the different Stihl products that will help you to get the job done. First, Wayne displayed a couple of leaf blowers. Blowers have become the #1 nuisance machine in the garden. Wayne talked about using them safely and considerately. The first model was a blower that also became a vacuum/shredder. This will let you suck up the leaves, shred them and then dump them into your compost bin. The second model was a super quiet one that is so quiet you can talk on the phone while you use it. We then moved to chainsaws. Wayne had one that was one of the simplest to use. This one was loaded with features that included an easy start and a quick way to tighten the chain. We also saw all the safety equipment you should be using when you operate this machinery.

October 13, 2007

Small tools help the gardener get the job done quicker and easier.  But there are some small tools that defy description and whose tasks are interesting.  Bob Denman from Red Pig Tools (503-663-9404) is a tool genius and he pulled out some of the more interesting tools he makes.  The first one was a girdling tool.  This tool cuts a small piece of bark off a fruit tree and shocks the tree into producing more fruit.  He then brought out a bench scoop that is designed to pick-up more stuff from your potting bench.  He also had a weeding tool, a bulb lifter, a root hook and a ball weeder.  These are all made by Bob and will last for generations to come.  If you are interested in more tools you can check out their website for the full list of tools they make.

September 1, 2007

A couple of months ago we visited with Bob Denman at Red Pig Tools (503-663-9404) to watch him make a garden trowel.  Bob’s tools are well made and built to last and sometimes they are designed from tools that have been used in the past.  Bob brought out a few of his unusual long handled tools to show us. The first one was a mangle cutter.  This tool was used by pig farmers to cut up corn pieces into smaller chunks so the pigs wouldn’t choke.  It is great for local gardeners that want to cut their compost into smaller bits for quicker composting.  Bob also makes a weed fork for those tough to get weeds, a ridger that helps in planting seed crops, and a half-moon weeder/cultivator.  Our favorite was the blackberry hoe.  This tool, which Bob designed himself, has edges that let you easily get the small plants with one side and the large tap roots of the old plants with the other side.  If you are interested in unique tools for tough jobs, check them out when you are in the Boring Oregon area.

August 4, 2007

We are always on the look out for new tools on the market that will make gardening easier.  We found a great new system from Stihl called the KombiSystem.  The Stihl KombiSystem is a complete family of multi-task tools comprised of different power heads and numerous attachments. The split shaft design lets you quickly change attachments.  It also comes with the new Easy2Start engine which takes no effort to start!  Wayne Sutton from Stihl demonstrated how easy it is to operate.  Check out the Stihl website to find a dealer near you.

July 14, 2007

How many times has this happened… we spend all spring working on your garden to make it beautiful and then you go on vacation and come back to find all your hard work wasted.  All the wonderful plants you have nurtured are dead because they didn’t get watered.  Well, we went to the Greenhouse Catalog Store (800-825-1925) to find a solution to this problem.  Michelle gave us 3 ideas for taking care of the problem.  The first was a special gel called Dri Water, that retains water and is all natural.  You just cut the bottom open and stick in the pot.  The second device was the Oasis Watering system.  This system holds enough water to keep 20 plants wet for up to 40 days.  It is on a timer so they get watered the right amount every time!  The final product was the Aqua Mat.  This mat has a super absorbent liner that retains water and then releases it to the plant through the bottom of the pot.

July 7, 2007

We are tired of lugging our potted plants around every time the season changes.  Our problems were solved by a new product we found at The Greenhouse Catalog (800-825-1925).  Michelle told us about the Potlifter.  This product is designed to lift just about anything in the garden.  The buckle was easy to latch and handles were comfortable to use.  They say you can use it to carry pots, stumps, boulders and even sacks of concrete.  As long as it is 72 inches around and less than 200 pounds it can be carried safely and easily.  We even bought one before we left the store!

June 2, 2007

Our trip to the tool shed this week finds William wrestling with a pesky garden hose.  As you pull stuff out for the coming gardening season, check your hoses to see if they need some work.  Look for bad connectors, cracked latex and other potential problems.  If it is an expensive hose, look to make the necessary repairs, but if it has seen better days, take the time and replace it.  You can find repair parts and new hoses at most of your local independent garden centers.

May 5, 2007

Do you know what a trug is?   It is a small basket for carrying produce or cut flowers in your garden.  These baskets are well known in Europe for their looks and versatility.  We found some interesting ones locally at Daisy Fields (800-294-1343) in Lake Oswego.  JoAnn told us about the ones she carries in her store.  These are made near Coos Bay out of myrtle wood from trees that have been blown down during storms.  They are made by hand and are dipped in a mineral oil that gives them a nice natural finish.  You may have heard of them before.  The Wall St. Journal chose them as one of its "Nifty Gifts for Gifted Gardeners" in December, 2006.

April 28, 2007

We found a tool at the Oregon Garden that they use in their garden with great success.  It is the Circle Hoe (800-735-4815).  This tool is an improvement over the normal hoe you find in your garden center.  This one has a rounded edge so you don’t damage the plants in your garden.  It also has a sharpened edge on the inside of the circle so it only cuts the weeds.  It also breaks up the soil and cultivates it while you are weeding instead of creating piles or mounds of dirt.  If you are looking for a new hoe or you are tired of damaging your plants while weeding, check out this tool.

April 21, 2007

We are planting our containers right now, but it won’t be long and we will want to hit the road for the summer and then all the hard work we have done now will be lost if our potted plants get fried in the summer heat.  We found some great self-watering containers at the Greenhouse Catalog (800-825-1925) that will keep our summer plants from getting too thirsty.  One was a group of stacking tubs that had a reservoir in the bottom and came in different sizes that you could stack.  The other container was called the Earth Box.  This is a great container because it allows the plants to self-water.  It came with a trellis kit so the plant can grow on something and it was on wheels so it could be easily moved!  Check out the Greenhouse Catalog for more great container ideas.

April 14, 2007

Your plants need watering; you need to have fun doing it.  We found some pretty cool watering cans that get the job done at Daisy Fields (800-294-1343) in Lake Oswego.  The owner, JoAnn, has found some interesting ones that bring a sense of whimsy to garden watering.  We saw animal themed ones that included an elephant, a ladybug and a rooster.  There are even one-of-a-kind hand painted cans that feature garden scenes.  You can order them on-line or check out her store in downtown Lake Oswego.


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