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Diggers Rest, Issue #014-Gardening Tools, Eco gardening tips, Recipe: Greek Salad
April 11, 2006

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April 11, 2006 Issue #14


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In this issue:

1) Buying & maintaining gardening tools
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Recipe: Greek Salad

Gardening Tools

No matter where you do your gardening, you will need some form of gardening tools.

Gardening tools come in all shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials these days. All materials have pros and cons associated with them, but some tips on buying and maintaining them might help save you time, money and effort.

The best thing to do is go into the market armed with information and make your own decision about the garden tools that are best for you.

Like any implement you are going to use frequently, the tools you choose should work well for the purpose they are designed for and give you satisfaction every time you use them. So when purchasing:

  • Determine what you need and test the range available for weight and balance.

  • Spend as much as you can afford to get a good quality tool as it will last you many years.

  • Materials are important. Fibreglass handled tools are strong and lighter in weight but reverberate with every strike and can be tiring to use all day. Wooden handled tools will absorb vibration but are generally heavier.

  • Aluminium handles are generally used for long handled tools, such as pruners to make them more manageable. Suitable only for lightweight working chores where no leverage or lifting will be applied.

  • Plastic is often used for handle ends on shovels or heads on rakes. The plastic blends are much stronger these days as a material but can perish and split if left in sunlight.

  • Carbon steel tool heads are generally good value but can be subject to rusting. They should be wiped clean after use with an oily rag to prevent rust forming on the surface.

  • Stainless steel tool heads are generally good quality but can be expensive to purchase. They won't rust but may stain if not cleaned after use.

  • Once you have chosen your tools, maintain them. For hand tools a small sharpening stone will keep blades sharp and working well. For larger hand tools, a medium grade file will keep metal edges sharp so they perform at their peak.

  • Wipe down your tools after use and put them in a dry storage space. Constant dirt and weather exposure will damage all tools, no matter what they are made of.

  • Safety first. Stepping on a rake hidden in grass can do real damage (despite how funny it is in the cartoons!) Consider using a flourescent spray paint on tools that may be hard to see in the garden.

  • Hang up your long handled tools if possible to avoid them becoming a tangle in the shed.
  • Money spent is an investment made. These small actions will mean you and your tools will have a long life together.

    Eco Gardening Tips

    Eco gardening tips stands for both economical and ecological. Regular tips will be a feature in all newsletters from now on.

    Between growth seasons, sow a crop of clover, alfalfa or lucerne and turn it back into the garden bed next season.

    If you get sticky sap on your hands from pruning trees, rub vegetable oil on your hands and wash with soap and water.

    Water plants with cool water from boiling eggs, potatoes or vegetables. This will deliver extra minerals to them.

    Feature Recipe: Greek Salad

    This is a spectacular dish, especially as a fresh change from your regular salad. The blend of ingredients makes for a crunchy texture with the pleasant saltiness of the feta adding depth and contrast.

    4 ripe tomatoes
    1 cucumber, unpeeled
    1 green capsicum pepper
    15-20 kalamata olives
    1 red onion, sliced in fine rings
    1 teaspoon fresh oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    200g feta cheese cubed
    2 tablespoons of good quality Olive Oil
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    salt and pepper

    Chop the tomatoes into quarters or eighths. Cut the cucumber lengthwise and chop roughly. Cut the capsicum into thin strips lengthwise. Mix together in a serving dish with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

    Sprinkle remaining ingredients in the bowl and serve immediately.

    Happy gardening!

    Judy Williams

    Copyright J.L. Williams 2006

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