Put your Christmas gifts to good use
December is the month for shopping.
Come Christmas Day, however, many of us will have questioned the value of the gifts we’ve received with regard to use and function.
I would suggest that function outweighs cost. Why purchase a chainsaw when a pair of secateurs will fit the need nicely and be more appreciated?
Lawns have a major impact on any property. A nice uniform appearance and good colour really sets off the garden, and yet this is not often the case as weed infestation and poor colour reduce the health and visual impact of the grass type.
Lawn spreaders are a great method of fertilising large areas with an even distribution. It’s important both visually and for consistent growth, and gives the operator ease of application.
Two types are available: the broadcast and drop spreader. The former is ideal for larger lawns as the width of dispersal can be calibrated at the base of the machine. The drop spreader is best on smaller areas where dispersal is controlled.
Another piece of equipment useful for both lawn and flowerbeds is the fertiliser injector. It can come as a complete assembly, ie an injector embedded in a carrier tank for the solution, or as a stand-alone piece, which includes a container that holds the diluted active ingredient.
The injector has settings that regulate applications so they are uniform and easy to do.
Keeping a nice straight edge on a lawn is made easier with a small mechanical edger. They create a far superior finish to the ubiquitous weed-whacker.
Pest and disease problems are a constant, as is weed control, be it on hard landscape surfaces or in the lawn or flowerbeds.
Knapsack sprayers or small portable types offer easy use. However, it is best to have one sprayer for weed killer application and another for pest and disease. Each unit should be well marked to avoid misuse.
Instead of using ladders for small branches above head height, consider a telescopic pruner, which is handheld and adjustable. On some models you can use a transferable pruning sawhead for cutting slightly larger branches.
In large gardens, watering can often mean dragging a hose and coupling it with another if more length is required. Consider using a hose reel on wheels, which accommodates a good length of hose and is easily transported around the garden.
Small chipping machines are very functional in recycling material to mulch, which can then be incorporated in the soil to create a good humus material and healthy growth. Why pay to have a valuable resource removed when it is more beneficial staying at home.
The blower, unfortunately, seems to be used in most properties and often in a manner which is not productive or necessarily beneficial. Material is spread around randomly, with the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome being pervasive.
If the blower must be part of the garden tools package, consider purchasing a leaf blower/vacuum which collects the leaves and small debris, leaving all areas clean and tidy.
Whatever the activity in the garden, safety should be of paramount importance.
It is therefore incumbent to protect oneself from possible accident and injury by wearing personal protective gear such as goggles and gloves, specific to the type of chemical being used, a face mask and full cover clothing and wellingtons to protect from dangerous chemicals.
Gifts that are functional and used often highlight a thoughtfulness which far outweighs glitz and glitter.
Roland Skinner (1940-2018)
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