Fighting Plant Enemies

FIGHTING PLANT ENEMIES.

The devices and implements used for fighting plant enemies are of two sorts:

(1) those used to afford mechanical protection to the plants;

(2) those used to apply insecticides and fungicides.

Of the first the most useful is the covered frame. It consists usually of a wooden box, some eighteen inches to two feet square and about eight high, covered with glass, protecting cloth, mosquito netting or mosquito wire. The first two coverings have, of course, the additional advantage of retaining heat and protecting from cold, making it possible by their use to plant earlier than is otherwise safe. They are used extensively in getting an extra early and safe start with cucumbers, melons and the other vine vegetables.

Simpler devices for protecting newly-set plants, such as tomatoes or cabbage, from the cut-worm, are stiff, tin, cardboard or tar paper collars, which are made several inches high and large enough to be put around the stem and penetrate an inch or so into the soil.

For applying poison powders, the home gardener should supply himself with a powder gun. If one must be restricted to a single implement, however, it will be best to get one of the hand-power, compressed-air sprayers. These are used for applying wet sprays, and should be supplied with one of the several forms of mist-making nozzles, the non-cloggable automatic type being the best. For more extensive work a barrel pump, mounted on wheels, will be desirable, but one of the above will do a great deal of work in little time. Extension rods for use in spraying trees and vines may be obtained for either. For operations on a very small scale a good hand-syringe may be used, but as a general thing it will be best to invest a few dollars more and get a small tank sprayer, as this throws a continuous stream or spray and holds a much larger amount of the spraying solution. Whatever type is procured, get a brass machine it will out-wear three or four of those made of cheaper metal, which succumbs very quickly to the, corroding action of the strong poisons and chemicals used in them.

Of implements for harvesting, beside the spade, prong-hoe and spading- fork, very few are used in the small garden, as most of them need not only long rows to be economically used, but horse- power also. The onion harvester attachment for the double wheel hoe, may be used with advantage in loosening onions, beets, turnips, etc., from the soil or for cutting spinach. Running the hand- plow close on either side of carrots, parsnips and other deep-growing vegetables will aid materially in getting them out. For fruit picking, with tall trees, the wire-fingered fruit-picker, secured to the end of a long handle, will be of great assistance, but with the modern method of using low-headed trees it will not be needed.

Another class of garden implements are those used in pruning but where this is attended to properly from the start, a good sharp jack-knife and a pair of pruning shears will easily handle all the work of the kind necessary.

Still another sort of garden device is that used for supporting the plants; such as stakes, trellises, wires, etc. Altogether too little attention usually is given these, as with proper care in storing over winter they will not only last for years, but add greatly to the convenience of cultivation and to the neat appearance of the garden.

As a final word to the intending purchaser of garden tools, I would say: first thoroughly investigate the different sorts available, and when buying, do not forget that a good tool or a well-made machine will be giving you satisfactory use long, long after the price is forgotten, while a poor one is a constant source of discomfort. Get good tools, and take good care of them. And let me repeat that a few dollars a year, judiciously spent, for tools afterward well cared for, will soon give you a very complete set, and add to your garden profit and pleasure.

Winning Tactics For Installing Skylights

Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, installing skylights can drastically improve the atmosphere in your home.

Windows and skylights are two separate products that can greatly contribute to the quality of your home. There is definitely a fine line between your home being too bright and being too dark and dingy; and with skylights, you can easily change the atmosphere of your home to whatever suits your taste. They can also save on energy bills if you pay attention to the energy efficiency ratings.

Installing skylights, while certainly easier to do before your home has been completely built and furnished, can be done at any time while you own your house. If you have a relatively decent knowledge of structures and how to operate many of the required tools, chances are you can do this project yourself. You will need some basic carpentry skills, such as accurate measuring, cutting and fitting. Furthermore, installing skylights in your home can be made much easier if you have access to your attic and any plans that may have been drawn up that detail the structural layout of your home. After all, you do not want to cut blindly into your ceiling and hope you hit a good spot to install a new skylight. You may end up cutting into power cables or water pipes.

A great and much more popular alternative to installing skylights yourself is to hire a professional. There are countless contractors out there who would simply love your business, so be sure to ask around and find a contractor who seems right for the job. It is also important to get local references about contractors, as there are many who will not hesitate to rip you off without ever doing any work to your home. A great way to find a contractor is to ask friends, family and co-workers if they know someone they did business with.

Hiring a contractor to do the job of installing skylights in your home will begin with a simple introduction and overview of the home where the contractor will make sure you have the right types of ceilings to benefit from a skylight. After a general appraisal and firm quote for how much the project will cost, the contractor should return in a timely fashion with the appropriate skylights in hand and he and his team will set to work installing them. While not a lengthy process, you will definitely want to remove any prized furnishings and breakable items from the work area before installing skylights.

Bill Urell