Tools and Chemicals

De-Icers – Damage to Plants

When ice and snow pile up it’s not unusual to reach for a deicing product to help melt the frozen stuff. Deicers work by lowering the freezing point of water, creating a brine (chemical-water solution). This allows water to evaporate,...

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Tools (Gifts) – Recommended by Gardeners

A couple of weeks ago I listed several garden tools to which I am particularly partial when performing garden chores. I invited readers to tell me which tools they found especially useful. Jim Wallace responded “I am encouraged on two...

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Tools (Gifts) – Choosing

I was out working in the garden last weekend, doing final cleanup chores for the winter. I’m a rather haphazard gardener so in the process of cleaning up I discovered several tools I’d mislaid during the summer. The wooden handle...

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Wood Ashes – Use as Plant Fertilizer

On a cold winter weekend, nothing is cozier than a fire in the fireplace. But when the fire has died, you’re faced with the chore of cleaning out the ashes and disposing of them. Rather than putting them in the...

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Labels – Read Before Buying

Some people collect stamps. Others accumulate coins. I collect garden product labels. I don’t actually collect the labels. Rather, I make it a habit to cruise the aisles of each garden center, nursery or home improvement store I visit, examining...

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LiquiVac Lawnmower Oil Change System

I often get products to review. Many of them are quite handy. Visit my “Cool Tools and Funky Fertilizers” page for a list. The most recent is the LiquiVac. It worked like a charm to remove the oil from two...

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Foaming Root Killer

From a reader:We planted a river birch near the house four years ago in honor of my mother after she died. We couldn’t figure how it was growing so fast but we found out the hard way: a sewage back...

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Cool Tools and Funky Fertilizers

Interesting items I’ve collected or that have been sent to me to evaluate. Click the link above each product for sources. Email me if a product has been discontinued. Tools: Garden Cultivator The Orange Screw Ground Anchor MoleCat I don’t...

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Power Tools – Vibration Injury to Hands

If you run a chain saw, leaf blower or rototiller for several hours without gloves, your fingers will probably feel numb or “tingly” afterwards. Repeated exposure to severe vibration can result in Raynaud’s Syndrome (often called “Vibration White Finger.”) The...

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Pyrethrin Insecticide – Homemade

Taken from http://www.comfycountrycreations.com/bugspray.htm The dried, powdered flowers of the pyrethrum daisy, Tanacetum cinerarifolium, were used as early as 1880 to control mosquitoes. The popularity of pyrethrum insecticides waned when synthetic insecticides were introduced, but they are now enjoying a commercial...

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Science Project – Effect of Vibration on Plants

This is an idea for measuring the effect of vibration on the growth of plants. Scientists in Japan found that vibrating peach tree limbs caused them to be dwarf. The Effect of Vibration on Peach...

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Sources of Professional-Quality Tools

I did a lot of research before buying a backpack blower recently. My main source of information was Rick Upchurch at NatureScapes Landscaping. He said that most maintenance companies, including his, rely on Stihl brand blowers. When I went looking...

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Roundup – Health Concerns

Good gardeners try to minimize the use of pesticides but one weed killer that has shown a good environmental record since it was introduced is glyphosate (Roundup, KleenUp, KillzAll, etc). Therefore it is troubling to read a newspaper headline that...

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Garden Watch Camera

Recently I was sent a Garden Watch Camera by the Brinno Company to try out in my garden. It has been much more fun than I first thought. My first subject was my front yard, where it was interesting to...

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Treated Wood – Sodium Silicate

Radio caller Phil answers his own question! “A few weeks ago, I asked if you had heard about a wood product that was treated with glass for use in raised beds. You didn’t have any information on it, but I...

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Fertilizer – Using Old and Lumpy

If you have partially filled bags and boxes of fertilizer in your garage or garden shed, there is no need to throw it away. Even though the almost-dissolved label reads “Azalea/Camellia Food”, your fescue lawn will appreciate having some next...

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Messenger (harpin protein) – For Plant Protection

When scientists at Cornell University investigated the response plants have to disease, they discovered an interesting fact: if a plant “thinks” it is about to be attacked, it can thicken its cell walls and concentrate its defensive reserves… and thus...

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Pesticide Misuse – “People Dumber Than Us”

In a great example of public service, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation collects and releases example of people mis-using pesticides. Some typical cases: In Los Angeles, a woman borrowed a half-cup of pine oil disinfectant from a neighbor and...

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