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Do I need to clean my pruning shears? How do I prevent rust and bacteria from developing on my secateurs?
From cutting away branches and pruning shrubs to gently snipping a beautiful flower to display in a vase, your shears can be one of the most important tools in your garden.
The one thing you don’t want is to spread harmful diseases, eggs and bacteria from plant to plant.
The blades of your shears can easily start to rust, become dirty, become sticky with sap and develop bacteria that can infect your healthy plants, however this can be prevented with these simple and helpful tips.
Use a stiff brush with a bucket of warm soapy water. Washing-up liquid works best, it is easy to rinse off and doesn’t leave a harsh chemical residue on the blades.
Use steel wool If the blades have started to rust. Sandpaper can be used as well.
After washing and rinsing, soak your shears for a few minutes in a pail of water mixed with a spoonful of bleach to destroy bacteria, eggs and other harmful organisms on your blades.
After soaking, dry them well with a cloth or air dry them.
Once they are dried, spray lubricating oil on them to prevent them from rusting.
Make sure to keep your shears hung and out of the elements when not in use.
Follow these simple steps and you will find this valuable garden tool will provide you with many, many years of quality service.
Not all vegetables take from spring from fall to mature. If you’re getting a late start on your home garden or live in a region with a short growing season, fear not, there are many healthy, delicious vegetables that are quick to harvest.
Here are the 9 fastest growing vegetables to get your garden jumpstarted.
Garden Cress – 14 Days Ready to harvest in as little as 2-weeks, garden cress can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Also a garden space-saver, a small (1 or 2 feet square) patch of cress will supply you with an abundance of this tangy herb.
Radishes – 21 Days A cool season crop, spring radishes grow best in 50⁰F to 65⁰F weather. Once sown, you’ll see leafy green shoots above the soil in just three or four days. Keep planting seeds every week or two for a constant harvest through spring and autumn.
Green-Onions – 21 Days Also called scallions, green-onions are quick-growing plants that can be cut back to their base again and again throughout the season. Once their green shoots reach a height of 6-inches, they are ready for the first round of harvesting.
Tatsoi – 25 Days A low-growing mustard green, tatsoi is a wonderful addition to salads and soups. Baby tatsoi leaves can be harvested when they reach 4-inches in length, or you can wait the full 40-days for tatsoi to mature to full size.
Lettuce – 30 Days Another cool-weather vegetable that prefers temperatures between 60⁰F and 70⁰F, lettuce seeds should be sown in early spring and late-summer. Of the five types of lettuce – loose-leaf, cos, crisphead, butterhead, and stem. leaf lettuce varieties like green leaf and red leaf are among the easiest to cultivate and are more tolerant of hot weather. Planting new seeds every 14-days will provide a continuous harvest.
Spinach – 30 Days Able to survive in temperatures as low as 15⁰F, spinach is a cold hardy-vegetable that can be planted as soon as the ground-thaws. Pluck outer spinach leaves from the plant as it grows or re-sow seeds every 2-weeks for successive harvests. Don’t wait too long to gather spinach because its leaves will become bitter once the plant reaches maturity.
Arugula – 30 Days Since arugula seeds germinate well in cooler-soil, they can be planted as soon as the garden bed can be worked after the spring thaw. Sow seeds every two to three weeks for continuous-harvesting.
Kale – 30 Days A “cut-and-come-again” plant, kale’s young and tender leaves can be culled continually throughout the growing-season once the plant is about 2-inches tall. Avoid picking the central bud, since this keeps kale growing and productive.
Swiss-Chard – 45 Days A member of the beet family, Swiss-chard can be harvested throughout the season by cutting-off the outer leaves when they are about 3-inches long and are still young and tender. In addition to using the fresh-leaves in salads, you can cut Swiss-chard stems from the leaf and cook them like you would asparagus.
Naturalist Anneka Svenska investigates her local wild floral in rural Kent and also discovers a multitude of amazing badger sets in the process.
Some plants are high maintenance and even though they may be beautiful, they are not always worth the time and money you may need to spend on them.
There are many great plant choices for a low maintenance garden or patio.
Try to avoid plants which require stakes, netting, support strings, etc. Delphiniums are just one example of these high maintenance plants.
Hostas are just one of the many plants that rabbits and slugs love. Try to find plants that don’t taste delicious to pests and you will save yourself time and headache. Send us a message if you’d like advice on pest free plants.
Plants that climb can become very burdensome. Vine plants like ivy cling to walls and if not controlled, will take over walls, fences and other plants. Also clinging plants may need support which means lots of tying.
Shrubs, Daphne, Lavender, Holly and Euonymus are great choices for low maintenance plants and they alternate their colours throughout the seasons making your garden area beautiful and ever changing. You can also keep them in pots to easily transfer them inside when you like.
You can save yourself time and headache with a watering system. Whether you choose a top of the line automated system or a simple leaky hose setup which lets the water seep out along your plant beds you will find your plants are happy and you are happy.
Pergolas, arbours, arches, statues and fences can be relatively simple to install and may not be as expensive as you think. They can liven up a garden or patio dramatically and may even be used to block unsightly views like breaker boxes. They have the added bonus of not requiring extra maintenance on your part.
Have a bad back? Use long tables with potted plants or have raised beds for easy, bendless gardening.
Of course if you’re looking for one of the easiest and quickest ways to spruce up your garden you should consider getting plants that are already potted. Pick them up from your local garden centre, place in your garden, job done!
When you’re ready to update your garden, give us a call or send us a message, We’ll be glad to help.