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February’s Outdoor Column

The month of February brings on the hope for spring and warmer weather in the Midwest. As the angle of the suns becomes more direct with earth’s surface this will affect your ice fishing somewhat as the darker objects on a pond or lake will absorb more heat and radiate it out to the water.  Stay away from rocks, boat docks, or anything that might absorb heat and pass it along to the ice. February produces some nice fish, but caution is more important the later the month progresses.

Shop at your local Big R Store. Big R is receiving their spring fishing equipment and now is a great time to check out the new items they have on their shelves.  Now is a great time to not only stock up on fishing supplies but also to clean and organize your fishing tackle.  Now is the time because many times I’ve been fishing in late February and that’s just around the corner. Fishing line can go bad over the winter as well as during the summer.  I always replace line on my reels each spring just for peace of mind.  I just hate to hang a big bass only to have my line break because I didn’t change it.

When I was younger and had little available money, I would tie my line to a pole and walk until the spool was empty.  I would then tie that end down and go back and begin winding up the used end, making the part that was deeper in the spool than the top.  This will work if you are low on funds providing you have loaded up you spool, and the bottom part is kept away from the summer sun’s rays.

Fishing and Cleaning Tips: Fishing reels need to be cleaned and oiled simply because they get dirty, especially if you are bank fishing.  You can keep your reels clean by buying a reel sock or just placing an ordinary sock around them once your fishing trip is complete. Heavily caked grease can harden in your reels over the winter.  A good solvent will break it free.  There are some solvents that can be used indoors that have no odor, gasoline has nasty fumes and is simply too dangerous to use indoors. Get ready; spring is coming, and it will be here very soon.

Shop your local Big R Stores for all your spring fishing needs!

Don’t forget the 64th Annual Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show at the Indiana State Fairground in Indianapolis February 16th through February 25th.  Coinciding with this show is the Indiana Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl Expo also held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds February 22nd through February 25th.  Purchase your tickets online to save a wait in line.

 

 

Common Gardening Tools and Their Uses

Common Gardening Tools and Their Uses

Common Gardening Tools and Their Uses

The sun is shining and the birds are chirping! Spring has sprung and it’s time to get those flower beds cleared out and the garden ready to plant! When it comes to gardening, every tool has a purpose. The amount of actual tools associated with gardening activities can be overwhelming, especially for beginner-level gardeners who are just getting started. Determining which tools are most essential for your personal garden and lawn will ensure that your plants and vegetation are well-maintained and are as healthy as can be. Get the scoop on which tools can make your gardening life easier!

Maintaining & Fertilizing Soil

Because the soil is the foundation of each and every one of your plants, it is single-handedly one of the most important tasks in gardening to ensure that your soil is tilled, nourished, and properly prepared for planting. While the specific fertilizer mixture is up to you, it is crucial to tend to your soil, no matter the mixture. Even if you don’t have a garden, these tools are still essential for getting the job done efficiently:

  • Gloves: Essential for most, if not all, gardening tasks; protect skin on hands from drawbacks such as blisters, calluses, cuts, and sun damage; keeps pre-existing wounds from becoming contaminated or infected
  • Garden Hoe: Great for moving and digging soil as well as uprooting unwanted weeds
  • Digging Fork: Useful for loosening up soil and mixing soil amendments
  • Ground Rake: Helps smooth new and existing soil surfaces and removes clumps
  • Rotary Blender: Highly useful for blending fertilizer mixtures
  • Sprayer: Applies liquid fertilizer easily and effectively in smaller areas such as residences

Planting

Interested in expanding the range of your garden with some new plants or vegetation? Take a moment to familiarize yourself with some of the best tools for planting new fruits, vegetables and flowers:

  • Garden Hoe: Great for hilling and drilling soil in preparation for planting
  • Hose: Essential for the watering of plants; also useful for cleaning, has numerous mounts, nozzles, lengths, and adapters pertinent to your specific needs
  • Watering Can: Useful for the watering of plants on a smaller scale
  • Trowel: Facilitates the digging of holes; useful for transplanting plants and vegetables whose roots are still intact
  • Spade: Essential for digging and moving soil for planting

Weeding

Weeds have a tendency to take over everything if not managed properly. If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional do-it-yourself weeding, there are a number of tools that can make your task easier and complete it more efficiently. Try these tools for your arduous weeding tasks:

  • Garden Hoe: Removes weeds by first agitating then grooming the surface of gardening soil
  • Scuffle Hoe: Cuts the roots of shallow weeds closer to the soil’s surface
  • Weeder: Removes weeds from lawns while preventing grass damage; effective for use in small places
  • Hand Cultivator: Removes weed roots that are in tight areas and close to the surface of soil without disturbing nearby plant roots

Pruning

To maximize plant growth, it is incredibly important to tend to your plants frequently and prune them. It’s also vital to trim stems, leaves, or branches that are either dead or overgrown. Not doing so will impact your plants in a negative way and stunt their continued growth. Prevent your plants from overgrowth with tools like:

  • Pruning Knife: Useful for delicate pruning based on various blade shapes and sizes, i.e. cutting flower stems and trimming small branches
  • Pruning Shears: Cut thin branches from small trees, bushes, and small plants
  • Loppers: Extend to cut thicker, higher branches on trees
  • Pruning Saw: Uses power and larger teeth on its blade to cut small branches

Maintaining Garden & Lawn

  • Shredder: Recycles gardening waste; helps to make waste easily containable; provides useful material from accumulated waste, such as compost
  • Round Point Shovel: One of many types that digs large holes; transports heavier materials like rocks
  • Leaf Rake: Removes light debris from lawns and gardens, such as leaves and sticks
  • Pressure Washer: Cleans objects and surfaces by adding power to the flow of water; removes layers of undesired buildup
  • Lawn Mower: Cuts grass to even lengths
  • Leaf Blower: Blows light debris, like leaves and dirt, from lawns and walkways

In short, your choice of gardening tools can make or break your plants’ growth! Therefore, it is very important that you choose the right vendor for your gardening necessities. Discover some essential tools you need to add to your gardening collection? Still have some questions about gardening dos and don’ts?  Head over to your nearest Big R location to ask one of our garden experts or view more gardening tips here.