DIY and latest topics
DIY and latest topics
As the leaves start falling, we’re all looking for easy ways to deal with them. Some people rake them up into paper bags and let the city deal with them. Some people burn them. Others shred them and put them in the compost pile. Whichever one is your favorite method, a leaf blower can come in handy. Blowers can also be used to clean up soil and dirt from hard surfaces, dusting off garage floors, cleaning porches, patios and decks.
Gas Powered Leaf Blowers
If you prefer to mix the gas and oil and pull a cord to get your leaf blower started this one is for you. The gas-powered handheld or backpack blowers are convenient and powerful. They are also noisier than other types (hearing protection required) and heavier to carry around, but they can go anywhere. The backpack variety alleviates the problem of weight.
Electric Leaf Blowers
Electric leaf blowers can be powered by a cord or a battery. They both have advantages and disadvantages. The corded blower has limited reach and you may need multiple extension cords to reach your entire property. They also have less power than the gas varieties. Electric blowers are quieter and usually weigh less than 10 pounds, making them easy to carry. The disadvantages of the battery powered versions are that you may not have very much time on a battery and will need backup batteries to keep working for longer periods of time.
Blower and Vacuum Combination Blowers
These combination blowers perform multiple functions including blowing leaves and debris, vacuuming leaves and shredding leaves. One drawback to vacuums is that they may not pick up large leaves very efficiently. Large maple or oak leaves, for example, may just get stuck on the intake tube and have to be moved in by hand. They work well for shredding leaves once they get inside. This type tool may have a bag attached that will catch the leaves or a hose and cover that will move leaves into a garbage can. It also eliminates the need to have a separate blower and shredder. The vacuum works very well around shrubs and flowers and to clean out gutters also.
Your lawn may start to grow again in the cooler temperatures of fall, so continue mowing as needed until freezing temperatures arrive. If you bag the grass clippings, they are invaluable for adding nitrogen to compost piles. You can also leave some on the grass to decompose and add nutrients to the lawn.
Leaves to Deal With
You can leave whole leaves in flower beds, but on lawns, they will compact and keep moisture from getting to the grass. It’s best to shred the leaves into smaller pieces and then use on planting areas as mulch for winter protection of plants. Th leaf mulch also keeps grass and weed seeds floating through the air and dropped by birds from taking root where you don’t want them.
Fall is a great time to overseed an existing lawn, start a new one, or fill in bare patches. Give it at least a month before freeze so it can get established. Over time, lawns thin down or just get old and need to be replaced. Select the seed appropriate for your area and cut the lawn short and bag the cuttings so the seed can reach the soil underneath. Fill your spreader, adjust the settings according to your type of seed, and apply. https://www.scotts.com/en-us/library/grass-grass-seed/how-overseed-thin-lawn
Fertilize the Lawn
Fall is the most important time to fertilize your lawn. Some manufacturers recommend feeding the lawn four times a year. Water the lawn well a few days before you spread fertilizer. Fill spreader with fertilizer and apply. Feeding your lawn helps it stay green and grow thick. A thick lawn prevents weed seeds from sprouting and moving in.
If you want rich, nutrient dense soil for your spring and fall gardens, consider composting. It’s easy to build a compost bin and add layers of leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps all through the year. In fall, the leaves provide the brown material, grass clippings and kitchen scraps the green. Saved grass clippings that have turned brown are still considered green material for the compost pile (containing nitrogen). This combination of ingredients plus air and water will keep the pile hot enough to break everything down into a nice, nutrient dense compost.
If you’re like me, your garden tools are either stacked in a messy corner or laying around waiting to be stepped on. I ran across these great, easy to build storage ideas and wanted to share them with you. They’re really simple and inexpensive and will get those tools organized.
From left to right in the picture above:
Cut slanted slots in four 2x4s and attach them to the wall. You’ll need as many slots as you have tools to store. This method makes the tools easy to remove from the rack and easy to see. So that you put everything back where it started, put a label on each section to identify the tool that belongs there.
Next across the top, use a six or eight-inch wide board and cut grooves large enough to all you to slide the largest handle into the groove. The shelf can be supported with another board, or brackets.
On the right, this idea uses four 2x4s, some 3-in PVC pipe, a saw, some construction glue, and nails or screws. Build a base with two boards, then move up about four inches and attach another board for the bottom PVC pipes to attach to. The fourth board goes at the upper level. PVC pipes are cut on an angle to allow easy removal.
Bottom left has used a plywood backing and attached the PVC pipe holders directly to the plywood. This method could also be used if your garage is finished with sheet rock. The PVC pipes can be labeled to identify the tools that hang there.
The bottom center picture shows 2x4s cut to length and attached to one side of the studs. Tools then sit in the spaces between those 2x4s.
Whether you use vertical or horizontal storage racks, these ideas save space and eliminate the bundle of tangled handles and bases that you may have when tools are bunched together.
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