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A Summer Potpourri of Outdoor Tips
Summer time is a time for a variety of outdoor tasks and pleasures. Here are a few hints to help you:
Knot Your Cords: When working with electric lawnmowers, trimmers or any other outdoor power tool which uses an extension cord, tie a knot (like tying your shoe) with the cords before connecting the plug and socket. This will prevent the cord from becoming accidentally unplugged while you are using it. Pulling on the corn will tighten the knot thus securing the connection rather than disconnect the plug.
Cleaning the Aquarium? When you are cleaning that aquarium, save the old water and use it on indoor and outdoor plants. It has lost most of its chlorine content and gained a variety of plant and animal wastes which can fertilize your plants.
Picking Berries: Tired of pricking your fingers when picking raspberries or blackberries (or working around the rose bushes)? Well, take an old pair of thick rubber scrub gloves and cut out the finger tips. The rubber will not catch on the thorns like cotton gloves, and their length will protect your wrists and lower arms. Also good for protection when trimming roses and berry canes.
Small-Scale Drip Irrigation: Punch a few small holes in the bottom of a used milk jug, fill it with water (and fertilizer if desired), screw on the cap and place it on the soil near plants to be watered. The slow drip will allow most of the water to be taken up by the plants rather than be evaporated or run off.
Beach Toy or Garden Tool Tote: The used milk jug can also be made into a tote for beach toys or garden hand tools. Just cut out a large opening in the side opposite the handle to put the toys or tools through. Sand and dirt will eventually collect in the bottom and can be easily dumped out through the hole.
Quick Compost Bin: You can often pick up used wooden pallets for a few dollars or the cost of hauling them off. You can build a quick compost bin with four of them plus a few wire coat hangers (or some rope). Use the hangers to connect the pallets into an open cube. When it is time to open the bin and remove or turn the compost, simply remove the wire from one of the sides.
Recycle Those Egg Shells: Crush and grind up egg shells and add them to your compost pile, garden, or house plants. The calcium and other minerals in the shells will keep your soil nutrient levels up. If you raise chickens, add the ground-up shells to their feed. They need to replenish that calcium.
Twist-Ties and Plants: Twist-ties are a convenient way to secure a plant or vine to sticks, trellises or other supports. However, the metal wire can easily slice through a plant as it waves in the wind. To prevent such damage, wrap the twist-tie in a piece of duct tape leaving only the ends exposed for twisting.
A Summer Potpourri of Outdoor Tips by Keith C. Heidorn, PhD . ©2002, All Rights Reserved.
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