Feb 062015
 

by Avis Licht

I was going to write about rose pruning, since it’s that time of year in many places. Coming out of winter dormancy and going into Spring is a good time to prune roses and many other deciduous trees and shrubs.  But then I realized that before the pruning comes the tools. Right tools make a HUGE difference in the results of your work. Find great tools in my store: Avis’ Store

Pruning saw

You can make delicate cuts with this saw

When you’re working in the garden, it is so satisfying to have a good tool. Whether it’s for pruning, raking or digging, you want your tool to feel strong and make the work easier. It makes no sense to get a cheap tool that doesn’t last and doesn’t do the work

Since there are myriads of tools out there, I’d like to share with you my favorites. It’s also nice at this time of year to give a well made tool as a present.

Fiskar pruning shears

A well made tool is a great delight

Pruning tools include, hand pruners like this Fiskar:

When looking for a hand tool, you want it to fit into your hand comfortably, be easy on the wrist, and be adjustable at the blade, so that you can loosen or tighten it.

And don’t forget your hands. The best gloves for pruning roses and other dangerous plants with thorns are long sleeved rose pruning gloves.

Thick gloves with long sleeves really protect your hands and arms.

Thick gloves with long sleeves really protect your hands and arms.

Protect yourself. Wear gloves.

Protect yourself. Wear gloves.

Hand saws are important for pruning branches larger than an inch in diameter.  You need to make clean cuts. And you don’t want the blade to start getting loose.

For Fall pruning, loppers are also an important tool. You want the handle long enough to create leverage but not so heavy that you can’t use it for extended periods of time.

Loppers

Strong enough and not too heavy. Excellent for Fall and Winter pruning chores.

 

And finally for those hard to reach places you need a long handles pruner. You can extend the handle, prune or saw with the attached blade. This is helpful for branches where you don’t actually want to climb the tree.

The hardest part of pruning overhead, is looking up. By this, I mean that you can get a serious crick in your neck when working overhead. Be sure to take plenty of breaks and stretch.

 

 

 

 

Pruners for edible landscaping

Feb 182014
 
Romanesco caulofloer

click to enlarge photo

by Avis Licht

Fractals and the fibonacci sequence – two of natures amazing design schemes. Here they are demonstrated beautifully in the Romanesco cauliflower.

A fractal is a geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry.

To understand more about  fractals and biomimicry read this article in Livescience. Biomimicry looks to nature and natural systems for inspiration. After millions of years of tinkering, Mother Nature has worked out some effective processes. In nature, there is no such thing as waste — anything left over from one animal or plant is food for another species. Inefficiency doesn’t last long in nature, and human engineers and designers often look there for solutions to modern problems.

For more on the Fibonacci Sequence in nature read this: Fibonacci in Nature.

I harvested this head of cauliflower today, February 16th. It’s been a cold and dry winter. But this beauty carried on and turned into a wonderful head. The brassica family is a sturdy and incredibly healthy food. I found this article on the Brassicas and their nutrient value to be eye opening. It will make you a believer.

If you live in a moderate climate, it’s time to start thinking about sowing your seeds for  broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and the other brassicas. I wrote about seed starting in this post: Starting Seeds in your Edible Landscape.

To find out which Hardiness Zone you live in click here. See if it’s time for you to start getting your Brassicas, otherwise known as the cabbage family, into the garden.

The Fibonacci Sequence manifested clearly in a simple(?) vegetabke

The Fibonacci Sequence manifested clearly in a simple(?) vegetable

When choosing plants for your edible landscape, it’s good to consider unusual varieties like this Romanesco Cauliflower. They look beautiful, are easy to grow and taste wonderful.  And your friends will ask, “What in the hell is that?”

You will find my ebook, the Spring Garden Made Easy, a straight forward guide to getting your garden going and growing.

sunflower

Another example of the Fibonacci sequence

Cauliflower-Fibonacci

May 022012
 
Rose


Roseby Avis Licht – Do you want to make your mother happy? If she’s like me, she wants something useful and thoughtful. My sons have really nailed it over the years.  Each of the suggestions below are gifts from my sons. Of course, I’m not exactly a “normal” girl, but, hey, get a gal what she wants. If  your mom likes to garden consider getting her one of these:

wheelbarrow

Sturdy, lightweight and well balanced wheelbarrow

 

1: A light weight, well balanced wheel barrow. Seriously. Most wheel barrows are made for men and are too heavy and unwieldy. I use my wheel barrow all the time and it makes my life easier. I never want to do more work than necessary and that means never moving more weight than I have to.

Jeep Model HO-5P for Homeowners 

The perfect wheelbarrow solution for around the garden. Even with 150 pounds, this corrosion-proof 5 cu. ft. wheelbarrow remains light because the tub is up front over the wheel. A steep angle of inclination assures that even a “wet” load will never spill a drop.

D handled spade

I've had my spade for 40 years. It looks like this only dirtier

 

 

2. A strong, well balanced spade. This one should last the rest of her life, hopefully a long one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  It’s worth spending more now on a good tool and having it last than having to replace one that breaks, or gets wobbly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. You can never go wrong with flexible, well fitting gloves.  A woman’s got to keep her hands looking good and still keep them in the dirt. These gloves fit perfectly, allowing you to use your fine motor skills, unlike some of those gloves that make you want to rip them off your hands so you can get some actual work done. (Click on the photo to order a pair!)

Don’t forget to tell your mother you love her. She’ll like that too.

 

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