Controlling raspberry bushes

007

I have considered adding raspberries in my garden but never really got around to it.  This year the sort of were planted for me when my neighbors raspberry plant began sneaking under our fence.  This was not exactly the location I would have chosen to plant them if I picked up a plant from the local home improvement store…but figured best to go with it than fight it since I was sure the raspberry plant would be more persistent.

The reason why I would have not chosen this location is that is right next to where I grow my tomatoes/peppers also known as the only southern facing location in my yard.  I also had a hydrangea growing in the same area, though fortunately was not too established and I was able to transplant without too much shock.

007

To attempt to keep this creeping plant under some control I decided to setup some preventive barriers.  By taking some scrap plywood leftover from my grow box expansion I created an eighteen inch deep barrier to keep the raspberries from taking over my tomato/pepper turf as well as taking over my lawn.  I am pretty sure that the raspberries can still get under and/or move around it but hoping this will at least slow them down a little and save me from a little extra weeding in my lawn and garden beds.

Depending how effective (or ineffective) this is I probably will dig this out a little more and make something a little more beefy to keep these raspberries in their place…but this was as much digging as I felt comfortable doing without calling the "Call Before You Dig” folks to mark up my backyard.

image

Either way, I am definitely look forward to picking some fresh raspberries in my backyard this summer.  Though if any of you have some great ideas how to keep your raspberry plants in check I would love to hear about them…

cayenne peppers growing indoors

016

Well this is the soonest I have gotten peppers growing, but the temperature controlled grow box did help out a lot.  I brought this pant indoors last year when it still had a half dozen green peppers on it when the temperatures started to decline.  The peppers turned red and a picked and dried them out for cayenne powder and sort of forgot about this plant. 

041

It went dormant and by sheer neglect somehow survived so when I noticed that leaves started growing from it I quickly gave it a good watering and put it back in the grow box where it has come back strong and plan on getting enough peppers from this plant to meet my BBQ needs for a good year.

How to sharpen hedge sheers (hedge trimmers)

004

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” —Abraham Lincoln

The above has to be one of my favorite quotes, a great summary of working smart versus working hard.  I have used this quote in reference to doing work such as creating tools to make the overall job take more time…in this sense I will be using it in the more literal terms in actually “sharpening your ax” or in this case your hedge sheers.

As you can see from the picture above I have let these sheers go a little and they provide a bit too much of resistance when trimming the hedges.  With proper maintenance the only resistance you should feel is from the bushes you are trimming.

The process to sharpen your hedge trimmers is actually quite simple and can be done with a very limited set of materials.

003

Materials:

Step 1: Clean surface.  Apply a small amount 3-in-1 oil to one of the surfaces of the blade and rub with steel wool to remove any dirt/grime from the blades.  Repeat process for all four sides of the blades.

005

Step 2: Remove rough edges from flat side of blade.  Use your medium metal file to remove any rough edges on the blade.  Repeat with fine metal file until edge is very smooth.

009

Step 3: Sharpen rounded edge of blade. Using the fine metal file carefully make create a sharp cutting surface.  If the right work was done on Step 2 there should not be much work do do here.  Just keep gently apply pressure until there is very little resistance, pay attention to the sounds this is a case where you can hear when your work is done.

010

Step 4: Clean and oil up.  Clean off and remaining grime with old rag and apply some more 3-in-1 oil to the blade and any moving parts as needed.

006

Now you have some hedge sheers that will easily slice through your shrubbery with much less effort and allowing you more time to more exciting projects in your garden.  When it comes to other tools in your garden hand sheers or an old shovel you can use these same tips to make those work like new as well.