Saturday, November 28, 2020


 I heard the conversations ramping up a week ago. "I don't know what to get X,  Y & Z for Christmas".  Hopefully X, Y. & Z are gardeners as they are the easiest people in the world to shop for.  However, with some items you know they want or need, you will find it difficult to gift wrap and ship if necessary.  In that case, buy a gift card, print out a photo from the internet, write a personal note on the merits of the tool and send it off with love and hugs.

Rakes have been on my mind, probably because I had a new rake but donated it to a call out for garden tools when the clean-up started after the summer fires. 

Would you believe there are 32 different rakes for your garden and landscape?  Even rakes have a history to be acknowledged.  Rakes were invented in 1,100 BC in China and were all wood.  In 1874 a U.S. patent was given to a rake design that was described as "like a dustpan and broom combined".

The rake most popular is the garden rake but even there you have choices.  A flathead or a bowhead.  The flathead attaches to the handle.  When you look at it straight on, you see a "T".  Think of Mr. McGregor's rake as he was chasing Peter Rabbit from the garden.    

The bowhead is probably the one we are most familiar with.  It has an arching support that gives the rake more stability.  The best ones have a head, think frame, of forged high carbon steel.

I keep thinking of asking Santa for a thatch rake but in thinking it over, the better idea is to ask my lawn service if they could add thatching to their work list.  There are choices here also.  Some thatch rakes are one-sided, some have two-the sharp crescent-shaped blades remove debris and the round side is for cultivating.  Adjustable thatch rakes let you choose the angle that works best for the amount of thatch you have.  If your thatch is 1/2 inch deep or more, you need to rake, or perhaps use a power dethatcher.

Leaf rakes--that's another study in the tool fitting the purpose.  Sorry, there is no one-for-all rake that combines the garden rake and the efficiency of a leaf rake.  I have a 24 inch wide plastic leaf rake that is great for using in the wide open lawn.  Some leaf rakes go to a width of 30 inches, probably better used by someone who is taller than I am.  Because of the repetitive nature of leaf raking, comfort should be a major consideration.  The ergonomic designs have evolved into designing a curved handle.

The meal leaf rakes are good multipurpose rakes.  The springy nature is perfect for removing debris from less dense shrub borders along with fluffing the soil.  Look for metal rakes that have an enamel-coated stress bar that runs across the tines.  The stress bar keeps the tines from tangling with their neighboring tines.

A shrub rake makes cleaning under a packed perennial border a joy instead of a drudge.  I bought one this summer with a long handle and an expanding head.  It got a little tricky adjusting to where I wanted to clean out but still much easier than trying to clean out  under shrubs using hand tools

The rake we should all have is a roof rake to remove snow and ice from roofs.  Remember February 2019 when we had a recorded snowfall of 37.1" (average snowfall for February is 5.5")  At that time if we didn't have one, we vowed we needed to get one as soon as the stores restocked.   Did you?  Maybe it is time to buy ourselves a present.  Perhaps if we are pro-active now we could ward off the massive snowfalls.  What we need is a few inches at a time, followed by a few sunny days to melt the snow on the roof.  Wouldn't it be great if we could direct Mother Nature!

The next blog on Dec. 19th will focus on some hand tools.  Too late for Christmas, put it on the list for the next special occasion.

Be sure to listen to the Gardening: Get Good at It "Creating a Pollinator Garden" segment on Tues. Dec. 1, on KPOV 88.9 FM between 9-9:30 am .


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