Sunday, 28 October 2007

How To Sharpen Garden Tools: A Few Simple Tips

by Eudora DeWynter

If you are an avid gardener, then you know that there is nothing worse than having garden tools that are dull, duller and dullest!

Struggling with each push or pull on the handle can be extremely difficult not to mention a strain on the back, arm, and shoulder muscles.

But did you know that your garden tools can be sharpened at home with a few simple tools? Learning how to keep that manufacturer's sharp blade on your grass clippers, pruning and hedge shears will enable them to continue cutting effortlessly.

Grass Clippers, Pruning Shears and Hedge Shears all function pretty much the in the same manner. The two sharp cutting surfaces of the blade come into contact at the base and literally cut all the way to the tips enabling them to shear grass and stem twigs from the stem of the plants with a scissor action.

When they need re-sharpening always sharpen along the original bevel and unless you are a pro never use a power grinding tool for sharpening. Too many tools to count have been ruined and become worthless because they were improperly sharpened from using the wrong tool or trying to create a better edge.

Before you begin sharpening, buy yourself a new mill file. For best control get one that is 10 inches long (it will work best) for your hedge and prune shears and grass clipper too.
To avoid getting confused read the packaging first, as it will tell you the best file to use for your garden tools. and believe it or not, ordinary scissor sharpeners will do a fine job on grass clippers.

When sharpening use long broad file strokes for your hedge shears, they sometimes take the most abuse. They were designed for cutting green wood with a thickness of no more than 3/8 inches thick and have at times been mistakenly used as pruning shears.

Cutting thick branches or dried wood can bend the blades and stress the pivot nuts on hedge shears when they are improperly used. Before sharpening check the pivot nut, if it isn't secure, tighten it, and if it cuts clean, the tool doesn't need sharpening.

Always make sure the blade isn't bent and if it is, place it in a vise and tweak it until it is straight. To file, place the blade flat on a piece of plywood and using 300 wet/dry sandpaper keep the blade flat and file in a circular motion with sand paper being careful to check for burrs. When burrs are smoothed out, lightly oil with 3 in 1 oil.

Always file in one direction away from you. Adjust your angle as needed to file the entire edge evenly; usually 10 strokes will expose clean metal over the entire edge. Then do the same with the other blade, and never use small jerky strokes, because it will cause you to loose the factory edge.

Pruning shears are probably the hardest of garden tools to sharpen, and they can test your own motor skills. One side has a heavy blunt blade and needs a sharp crisp 90 degree edge. They should also be filed using both hands, and starting at the point follow the curve of the factory bevel.

To sharpen pruning shears, place the blade firmly in a vise and holding the file with both hands move the file in one broad stroke away from you going along the entire cutting edge. Remember to always file in one direction, and after each stroke examine the edge and when exposed steel starts to show, be certain to check and feel for burrs, then sand in the same manner you would with hedge shears.

Soil is another culprit that can be blamed for dull gardening tools. It can easily get between the blades of garden clippers and grind to with each squeeze of the handle, as will moisture from grass will also cause corrosion quickly.

Since this is a garden tool that is used close to the ground for clipping, always wipe your garden clippers clean and dry, and then lightly oil the moving parts after each use. This particular garden tool will sharpen easily with ordinary scissor sharpeners.

Well, there you have it-a brief, but most certainly effective overview of how to sharpen your garden tools and keep them in proper working order.

About the Author
Eudora DeWynter currently writes about How To Sharpen Garden Tools and also gives basic gardening advice on her blog at

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Natural Insecticides Are A Better Alternative

by Steve K

When you hear everyone talking about organic this is when foods are grown with out chemicals like pesticides or any type of insecticides. You can learn to protect your garden from destructive insects and maintain healthy soil and healthy plants without the use of chemical insecticides and fertilizers. Organic fruit and vegetables are grown free of pesticides, insecticides and fungicides, sure they may not taste any better than the supermarket variety, but more importantly they do not contain pesticide residues.

During their lifetime in the soil, plants are heavily sprayed with a number of insecticides, pesticides and fungicides. Most of these pesticides are hormone disrupters, neurotoxins; some may be carcinogenic, while others may cause genetic mutations. There are five basic types of treatment for pests: chemical insecticides, biological insecticides, botanical insecticides, insecticide soaps and predatory insects (remember- some are your friend!). Biological pest control includes insecticides that are derived from plants or other naturally occurring substances such as microorganisms.

However, if you live in an area where lawns are watered with municipal water (chlorinated) or are treated with inorganic fertilizers, or sprayed with pesticides and insecticides it is not a good idea to let your dogs eat the grass. They will often lick their pads to stop the burning, which can lead to diarrhea. Pesticides or insecticides are similar to cleaning agents in that when dogs lick their pads, they will ingest some of the chemicals. Applying the proper care to your lawn can ensure that everything around it is protected against harmful pesticides and insecticides, as well as adding appeal and value to your home.

Using chemical insecticides, even using organic insecticides can kill the destructive insects but will also kill the beneficial insects. And so the endless cycle goes on where you treat for pests which die and upset the balance because the good insects are killed as well. These insects in enough quantity would eat the pest and provide a natural pest control for your garden. Knowing which natural insecticides to use will allow your garden to operate more effectively against these unwelcome intruders.

The best option is to use homemade natural insecticides due to their friendlier impact on the environment and their low cost. Homemade natural insecticides can be produced with less cost and in as much quantity as the homeowner requires, can be acquired with little fuss and gives the peace of mind that you are not in any danger from toxic poisoning.

You can make homemade natural insecticides that are extremely effective, in unlimited quantities that will not cost a lot of cash. To find out how, go to Natural Insecticides.

Discover the Natural Health Benefits of Colloidal Humus Compost

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The Secret of Colloidal Humus Compost

by Rod Turner (author of The World's Best Compost)

To my total amazement I found out that almost ALL plants grown by man today are being force fed into sickness and us along with them.

And that as it turns out is why we have all the plant and pest problems we do. These plants are sick and surprise surprise, old mother Nature wants to be rid of them!

How many root systems does a plant have?

Now imagine how you would feel to have a garden that was healthy and glowing with life. Where the plants hardly ever got any pest problems. Where the food you harvested fresh tasted better than almost any food you ever tasted before? (the worlds best chefs seek out food grown this way because it makes them famous!) Madonna's personal chef had it flown in wherever they were on tour.

Can you pick up a handful of your soil and breathe in the rich sweet aroma? Or does it smell a little unpleasant, like fertilizer or probably not at all? Sick soil equals sick plants.

Would you love it when your plants just leap out of the soil with the vitality of an Olympic athlete in peak competition readiness?

What about having soil so friable and structured that you can dig it with your bare hands? Would you love that too?

Well all these wonderful garden of Eden like qualities you can have from understanding that the plant has TWO root systems if given the chance in a natural growing environment.

One for feeding when the Sun shines and one for drinking almost pure soil water 24/7.

For healthy pest free, fantastic tasting plants, you must NOT feed plants through the soil water as 99.99% of our "experts" tell us. (this mentality supports the huge fertilizer and chemical giants wreaking havoc on our planet)

Plants must be fed naturally through humus of the plants free choice in the soil.

Click here to visit Rod's Website and to find out more vital information for growing naturaly healthy plants, fruits & vegetables using the World's Best Compost...