Raking made EASY!
OK, sorry for the delay between my last post and this one. My husband and I bought a log cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania where we spent the late summer weeks clean it up and furnishing it. I am truly looking forward to comparing and contrasting the differences between Southern Gardening where I live in Virginia and a state that actually sees snow.
On to the chores of the coming weeks! Let’s make raking easy because, let’s face it, no ones says, “Yes, it’s raking season. Get me my rake!” So here goes, what CAN we do to make this chore less taxing.
1) First of all, don’t start yet if you can still mow! Why on earth would you want to do that when the mower can mulch it up magically and some even mulch it into the grass so it can be utilized as nutrients by the lawn.
2) Second of all, I’m going to tell you another thing NOT to do… Don’t rake under your trees where they are not covering up lawn. Leave (haha, no pun intended!) them there for a few good reasons. First, like I said above, they will be contributing nutrients to that zone as they break down over the winter. Secondly, they may assist in weed restriction both this Fall as well as next Spring if they haven’t completely decomposed by then. And that is yet another chore I’m helping you NOT do!
3) If you have a garden, rake them right into it after you till it for Fall. Then till them right into the garden when you till again in Spring. This may even save you some money on Spring soil nutrients or fertilizers. There is nothing like saving time AND money!
4) Get a leaf blower! I know, I know… a lot of people believe the noise created from these bad boys makes them worthless and even worse… But, at least in my Virginia yard, the noise will pick right up where the lawn mowers left off for the year. So here in cookie cutter America, I use a BagMaster to hold my bag open and will blow the leaf piles right into them. Now, in my new yard in the Pennsylvania mountains, I’ll be leaving the leaves on the ground if possible… I still haven’t figured out if I’m going to be able to grow a weed free lawn up there, so really, do I care if the leaves stay there until the first mow of the year? Not sure yet. That will be decided next Spring. I’ll add some pictures of the new place to show the new environment I have to UNgarden. It is definitely different than the postage stamp yard I currently play with.
5) So, while leaf blowing can be fun, there will be times that a rake is necessary, like when the leaves are wet. And since we will be raking, the proper rake is very important. How frustrating is it when you are constantly pulling leaves out of the rake’s tines? Old fashioned rakes don’t have the upgraded features like a thicker more comfortable handle bar, comfort grips, or ergonomically designed parts.
6) Spread out the work throughout the season. In my usual theory, I do about 3 bags a week since I can get outside, gather up a good amount of leaves, package them and put them out to the curb in a short amount of time. Another good tip is to rake the day before trash day if you aren’t throwing them into a composting bin. This will reduce the amount of times you have to handle the heavy bags. If I bag them early in the week I have a community rule that says I have to put them behind my house so the neighborhood stays looking neat. Then on Trash Day later in the week I have to drag them to the front yard again.
7) FINAL TIPS to speed up the job:
- Compost the leaves in a back corner of your property.
- Haul heavy bags of leaves to the curb in a wheel barrow.
- Burn the leaves safely and only if it’s acceptable in the area in which you live.
- Wear gloves to protect hands from blisters while raking.
- Wear skid resistant shoes to prevent falls when the yard is damp.
- Bend and lift with your legs, not with your back.
- Avoid repetitious movements to prevent fatigue and strain.
- Using a tarp, blow the leaves onto the tarp, then move it forward and repeat.