The Horrors of Hail

One of the most hazardous things that can happen to your plants is
weather. Many a garden has been demolished overnight because of this
phenomenon. And seemingly, there is nothing we can do to prevent it. Of
course, if weather didn’t exist at all then we wouldn’t have those nice
sunny days that are beneficial to the growth of our plants. But then
again, we wouldn’t have the tragic hailstorms that tear down everything
we’ve worked for so many hours to grow.

When rain starts to fall, usually the first reaction in a gardener is pure
joy. After all, this means you don’t have to worry about going out and
watering it manually. The natural rain fall can’t be anything but good for
all your thirsty plants, can it? Well once that same gardener starts to
see the gorgeous rain drops turn into small globules of ice, usually a
complete emotional breakdown is in order. I know this from experience,
because when I was a blooming gardener I had my garden completely
demolished by about 10 minutes of severe hail.

When I first learned my lesson on the damage hail can do, I quickly
devised a method of coping. I began to keep large clay pots within 10 feet
of my garden, so that at any sign of hail I could run outside and have the
plants sheltered in a matter of seconds. This saved me from being forced
to watch my plants be ripped to pieces on multiple occasions. I’ve never
dealt with hail more than an inch in diameter, but I’m guessing that if
there had been any baseball sized chunks then those pots would have been
quickly demolished.

However, as the number of fragile plants in my garden grew, it became
slightly impractical to have a pot for each plant, and run outside to
place each one before significant damage had already occurred. After much
thought, I ended up building a horizontal, retractable screen mechanism
made out of a strong but flexible wire mesh. At any sign of rain I could
pull the screen out over my entire garden and have instant protection. Not
only did it let the rain through, but the collected hail provided a steady
drip of water for as much as a day afterwards. This project cost me
several hundred dollars, and more blood, sweat, and tears than can be
measured with earth dollars. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.

If it’s too late for you, and you’ve recently lost your precious plants to
those wicked balls of ice, then you’re probably looking for some way to
help the plants recover. Unfortunately there aren’t many choices for you.
The best thing you can do is give them the tender care they deserve, and
attempt to nurse them back to health over a long period of time. The
several weeks after being severely damaged by hail are vital to whether
the plant survives or not. If you expect more rain or wind, you should
keep the plant covered. In this brittle stage, even raindrops or a strong
breeze could cause more damage.

So if you live in an area that experiences frequent hail, you should
definitely have some emergency plan for protecting your plants. Sitting by
and watching them be ripped to shreds should never be an option!

Picking the Right Gardening Tools

If you’re thinking about taking your gardening seriously and getting out
there every day to increase the attractiveness of your garden, then you
will want to get the right tools to help you in this. You might be tempted
to go out to the store and just buy the nearest things you see, but you’ll
be much happier if you put lots of thought into the styles and types of
tools you’re buying. There are styles designed just for gardening, and
you’ll be better off buying those.

You can find most of the tools you will need at your local gardening or
home improvement shop. Usually the employees will be simply thrilled to
assist you in finding the ideal tools. If you go to a shop that
specializes in gardening, you can usually get some advice in addition to
service. Gardening store employees are usually an untapped wealth of
wisdom, and they are how I learned almost all that I know about gardening
today.

If you are having a hard time finding the right tool or if you want to
save some money, you might try looking online for the supplies you need.
You’ll have to pay the shipping costs and wait an extra week or two, but
often if you buy more than one tool, the total savings will be worth it.
You should always buy from a reputable seller, though, and search around
beforehand for anything negative that people had to say about their buying
experience.

As far as basic digging tools go, you might already have all you’ll need.
There are several types that you should get though, for different specific
tasks. A round point shovel is good for digging holes for plants. A spade
is necessary for all the more intricate work. A garden fork you might not
use as much, but I have one in my tool shed and I’ve been thankful for it
on multiple occasions. Having these different varieties of digging tools
can help you to minimize the work you have to do. For example, if you try
digging a big hole with a little spade then you’ll end up rather tired.
The same goes if you are attempting to do more detailed work with a big
clumsy shovel.

A rake is an absolute necessity. You most likely already have one, but I’m
guessing it’s a lawn rake and not a garden rake. There is definitely a
difference, and if you try to use a lawn rake in a garden then you will
not be happy with the results. Same if you buy a grading or a contractor’s
rake. You’ll want to look for a bowhead rake. I’ve found these are the
best for gardening purposes. They will provide you the maximum control and
accuracy, so you don’t accidentally tear up your precious plants.

As far as hoes go, I don’t believe any gardener should have less than 3.
There are so many useful varieties on the market that I have a hard time
recommending just one, and that’s why I’ll tell you all the ones I usually
use. The one I use the most is the onion hoe, which is very lightweight
and ideal for small cultivations and weeding. The Warren hoe is a larger
model, with a pointed end. If you need to make a hole or dig out a pesky
weed, this is the one for you. There are several other varieties, but I
recommend starting with the ones I mentioned. As you progress in your
gardening savvy, you will find the need for more types.

Most people believe that gardening just consists of a simple spade. But
there are many, many tools with many more variations that you will use in
your gardening career. Usually you can start with just a few different
tools, but you’ll always find that you can use more varieties for special
situations. It’s just a matter of recognizing when one tool could be more
efficient than another.