Gardening Tools You Cannot Do Without

A garden is a piece of land or space that can be used to cultivate flowers, herbs or fruits. This piece of land or space could be your backyard, a hydroponic shed or small flower bed at the corner of your property. Gardening is therapeutic, it can help ease stress and provides and opportunity for self enhancement and increase in self worth through the process of bringing crops to life from just seedlings.

When considering the idea of setting up a garden, it is important you take note of the required tools to help make the job easier or if you have already setup your own garden getting to know the right tools for the right purpose will also enhance your gardening experience. I shall be talking you through some of the ideal tools that is required to setup and make your gardening experience a blast.

Before we commence, I would want to say that when picking garden tools, make sure to invest only in quality and trusted tools, it is no gain saying that you invest in tools that can’t stand the test of work. Also ensure that all tools have a proper place for storage and also they are properly maintained to promote their useful lifespan. Establish a regular maintenance routine and make sure to have your tools kept oiled up to avoid rust. Remove all tools from area that are prone to dampness, let your tools be kept in clean and dry places just as the doctor ordered. There are some key tools required to guarantee an amazing gardening experience, I have outlined a few key tools below;


A hand rake is an inevitable tool for every gardener. The rake plays a vital role in loosening the top soil to allow the plant retrieve maximum nutrient from the soil. The rake is also used to clean up the garden of loose dirt and or dried leaves. It is important that you invest in rakes that are metal and hand comfortable handles, this would make the activity of cleaning and raking easy and less stressful.

Garden hose

Every home should have at least one garden hose, they serve multiple purposes. They could be used to water a lawn or wash the car. Rubber hoses have more flexibility and are less susceptibility to cuts and abrasions but are usually more expensive. A garden hose connects to a source of water by means of plastic couplings or of brass fittings. Layers make up hoses and their strength increases with each additional layer. When you have thicker hoses, the likelihood of kinking reduces and this ensures for constant flow of water. Usually, the length of a hose determines the weight. Treat your hose properly so it could serve you well. Avoid leaving pressure on it unnecessarily and running hot water through it. During purchase, make sure you ask the right questions before making your purchase. Avoid light hoses and hoses without adequate thickness.


A shovel is an essential tool for gardening. They come in different sizes, shapes and a variety of forms. Shovels are made from metal with some having wooden or plastic handles. A shovel is used for scooping, digging and shoveling of soil or dirt. The shovel is important in any garden setup, it helps you save strength on otherwise difficult task of digging.

Garden Fork

A garden fork resembles a shovel only that it is pointed spikes like that of a rake. Garden forks are usually required in larger gardens and small farms to move large bales of dirt or grass. They are the most ideal tool for moving hay for livestock feed. The garden fork is usually metal and has wooden handles which makes usage easy. It is important that safety measures are observed at all times to avoid injury when making use of the fork and all gardening tools.

Pruning Saws

A pruning saw is a hand tool that has the same serrated blade as a normal saw and it’s used to trim live shrubs and trees. There are different pruning saws for different purposes and type of shrub or trees. We have the arborist saw and the curved hand cut saw to name a few. A pruning saw is an ideal tool to have in your tool shed, it allows you to take care of renegade shrubs and tree branches.

Pruning saws comes in different sizes and types. Just like every tool, for a pruning saw to be keep functioning, it need to be maintained. Ensure to clean it after every use and oil the blades at intervals, sharpen the blades when necessary and use the different pruning saw correctly for their required purpose.

Hand Trowels

A garden trowel is a small hand tool that is used For weeding and cultivation. They usually have wooden, plastic or metal handles coated with rubber. Garden trowels that do not have the metal handles are prone to breaking or bending. It hand trowel is very useful for most gardens, I am yet to see a garden tool shed that doesn’t have a hand trowel. It’s one of the mist basic gardening tool.

Like all gardening tool, it is important to have a proper maintenance routine. Your hand trowel should be kept clean, sanitized and wiped dry after every use. Infected trowels is harmful to your garden as they can spread disease from one plant to another. The best way to store this trowels is by hanging them up. Most garden trowels are built with a hole at the end of the handle which can be used to hang them.

Pruning shears

Pruning shears are sometimes called hand prunes. They are used for cutting and trimming of any unwanted branches and weeds. They can also be used to shape out your plants to allow for effective growth, pruning a tree at intervals helps to improve its overall growth potential by weeding off old and unwanted parts. Pruning shears are small and handy just as they are quite inexpensive. After every use, rinse your pruning shears with water, dry them and cover them with their protective cover before placing them back in your toolbox.

Like the hand Trowels, hand prunes are very important garden tool for every toolbox. It expected that every garden should have a pruning tool. Hand prunes come in various sizes and shapes for performing different types of pruning. Sometimes the differentiating attribute is the material used in forging it and the manufacturer. Invest only in quality prunes forged from stainless steel to ensure it last longer for the purpose.

Green House

A green house is a protected growing environment created for the purpose of growing tender plants and seedlings or cultivating crops that requires an all year round protection. They are beautiful and useful structures used by gardeners. It serves as a shield between nature and what you intend to grow or are growing and allow for plants to be improved and growing seasons to be extended artificially.

Green Houses serves as a shelter from excess cold, heat and pests. In making a buying decision of a green house, take into cognizance, the area you live and what you intend growing. The use of a green house can make you grow things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to grow, you have more time to concentrate on the successful growth of your crops as you no longer battle with pests. The price of your green house varies and it is most times a function of size and material used in its construction. Ultimately, before making a purchase, understand the benefits of a green house, conduct a little research to determine if a green house is right for you and which one works best for you for the purpose you intend for it. Examine your environment to decide the type of green house that works best as these factors will help you make the right decision.

Garden pots and plantera

There’s a large variety of pots and planters on the market. If you are looking to buy some, you should definitely get what suits your needs and purpose in terms of functionality, color and style. The kind of pot or planter you use depends on your needs, climate and the kind of plant you intend growing on the pot. Planters are made from different materials to serve different purposes. Some common choices include Concrete, clay, metal plastic or wood. Planters and pots are great ways to bring nature indoors, on your balcony or evn onto your patio.

The list of gardening tools is not exhaustive but I have chosen to educate you on this few, it is my hope that you have learnt a few things. I wish you a happy gardening.

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Familiarize Yourself With the Laws and Requirements When Homeschooling

Homeschooling can be very confusing when it comes to knowing the laws. Make yourself aware of the laws in your area for a better and easier experience.

When choosing to begin homeschooling or homeschooling in various states, be sure to become familiar with the homeschooling laws of the state you’re in.

Even if you’re in a state for a short period of time and legally reside in another, you are still subject to the laws of the state that you’re currently in.

Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, there are different forms of homeschooling regulations in different states. These are based on different criteria that the state chooses to use as the basis for their laws.

Some states require no letter of intent that you’re going to homeschool, while others do, and the time at which you have to submit one can vary. You may have to submit one at the very beginning of your homeschooling, or not until your child has reached certain requirements.

*** Testing

Some states require standardized testing, while some only require an evaluation by a qualified teacher. Fewer than half the states require testing.

*** Graduation

In states where homeschools are operated as private schools, the graduation requirements for private schools usually apply to the homeschoolers as well.

There are states, however, that have no “official recognition” equal to graduation, so even if a student has gone through all 12 school years, they can’t actually say they’ve graduated.

*** Support

For information on the laws in your state or for legal support, you can consult many different organizations. (See resources below for more information.)

Be aware of your rights and the requirements for your area. This makes homeschooling much easier for everyone and you know where to turn should you have any issues that need resolved.

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Digital Art Canvas Prints For Home Interiors

Digital art is where art is produced with the help of digital media. Digital art software such as Adobe Photoshop is used and the artist can create works directly onto the computer using painting techniques. Various options allow for effects to be achieved by mimicking the traditional styles such as acrylics, pastels, oils and charcoal. It’s possible to create realistic brush effects with shape and texture.The wonderful thing about digital art software is the versatility which allows so many different styles. Beautiful paintings can be created with crisp, clear lines and wonderful vibrant colors. Although created on a computer, the effect can look as if painted by hand. It’s a fascinating means of creativity with exciting possibilities and is becoming a very popular alternative with artists.When creating digital art, color is an important aspect and the vast selection of colors in the virtual palette is amazing. Imagine the impact created when digital art is printed onto canvas with giclee. Digital art canvas prints provide an exciting, economical alternative for collectors of fine art. Giclee prints are produced with the latest technology, using high-quality inks which last for generations. They are protected with a coating which protects against fading and dust, thus giving them good durability. Using canvas brings the prints alive because the inks soak in to the wonderful texture which gives an original feel to them.Printing on canvas is an ideal way to create a piece of artwork for your home which doesn’t cost as much as the original but which looks fantastic because of the high quality of the printing and intensity of color. There is also a choice of finishes in matte or gloss effect.The canvas prints can be museum wrapped which means the whole image is viewable face-on and doesn’t continue around the edges. Gallery wrap is where the image is continued around the edges thus providing a stunning piece of giclee fine art which looks great without being framed.Online galleries are full of amazing work from digital or graphic artists which is available in giclee canvas print format. Digital art canvases are available in lots of sizes which enables the versatility needed when planning home interiors. It means that should you want more than one print to arrange as a group, the sizes chosen can vary so that when clustered together on a wall they create an interesting focal point. If the preference is for a uniform effect, canvas prints of the same size can be arranged in rows.Whatever style of digital fine art you prefer, whether it be abstract, surrealism, figurative or perhaps landscape, there are literally thousands upon thousands of original, amazing prints to choose from. Whether you want to create a modern or traditional feel to your home or business, digital art canvas prints are a fantastic choice to make.

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A Systems View of the Organization

Today’s Challenge for LeadersGuiding organizations through choppy waters is what leaders do. Some are more successful than others. You are charged with maintaining and growing the viability of the business regardless of events you seemingly have no control over. The question is how you go about that.There has been a lot of talk about strategic thinking and planning. However, when faced with slumping sales and rising costs, management tends to look within and focus on examining existing operations, to try to find ways to reverse the trend. It typically starts with a meeting with sales and marketing, to get a more accurate feel for the market and to adjust sales projections. Armed with this new revenue number, an in depth auditing of each department will follow looking for new efficiencies, new ways of doing business, or anything that can help the company hit the new numbers, the new fixation of the business. When money is tight you cut back right? It seems only logical.But if you stop and think about it for a moment, is that really the best way to analyze the situation? For example, when an auto manufacturer experiences a downturn in sales the automatic response is to slow or stop production. This is not adapting to the market it’s reacting to the market.Couldn’t the real problem possibly be that the auto company didn’t fully understand what kind of car the market wanted, how many and at what price point? Undoubtedly they spent a great deal of time and resources gathering intelligence on the competition, which is a good thing to do, and they should do it. But remember, the competition doesn’t buy cars. Shouldn’t the company also understand the environment that their customers live in? Shouldn’t they also know and appreciate what constraints that environment might place on their customers’ buying decisions? The real problem isn’t that the company didn’t sell enough cars; that is just the end result. The real problem is that they made more cars than the customers wanted to buy or could afford buy, or simply made cars that the customers didn’t need or didn’t want.It’s the understanding that the company must have of the external driving forces, their inter-relationships, and the impact these have on the company, that should determine what it must deliver to be competitive or simply remain relevant. And it is this understanding of what it must deliver that then determines how the company’s internal systems (and their inter-relationships) need to be designed and operated.The Systems ViewThis idea of looking outward, of looking beyond the walls of the company office building is not new. What is relatively new to many executives, is the idea of looking at the world as a collection of systems that create a whole and examining the relationships between those systems to determine how they affect the whole. Systems Theory, as applied to organizational management, puts forth the premise that all organizations are systems, and all systems are part of larger systems. How a subsystem fits the needs of the larger system ultimately determines if that subsystem prospers or is left to wither on the vine.It’s this concept that the adept leader can use to get a more “holistic” view of his organization. Understanding how the company relates to the larger system in which it exists and operates, and then how the company’s internal systems contribute or detract from that larger relationship can provide a more relevant analysis.It really isn’t as esoteric as it may sound. Once you grasp the concept it will be easy to see how it applies to your organization. Let’s spend a moment on a definition and then we can address application.In Systems Theory, a system is defined in two ways:Externally, by its purpose. Each system has a role that it plays in the higher-level system in which it exists. Using the auto company example we can say that the auto company is a system whose role is to provide cars to the next higher-level system, the auto market. The auto market in turn has its multiple roles that it plays in the next higher-level systems of transportation and national economy and so on.
Internally, by its subsystems and internal functions. Each system is made up of components and sub-systems that interrelate and contribute to the overall purpose of the parent system. In the auto company those components might consist of engineering, production, marketing, finance, human resources and sales all of which should be supporting the system’s purpose of providing cars to the higher system, the auto market.Systems Theory in Managing OrganizationsDefining the Higher-Level System and the Organization’s Role in ItSo for a leader, the first step in developing a holistic view of the organization is to define the higher-level system in which it exists/operates, and its role/purpose in that higher-level system. Where does it fit? What kind of role does it play and what value does it bring to the purpose of the higher-level system? If a company does not have a role to play in the higher-level system, then it does not belong in that system; and if it cannot find a role in any higher-level system, it is in effect redundant and will ultimately die. Additionally, and sadly more common, if a company cannot accurately define what its role is in the higher-level system, even if it has something relevant to offer, it will be treated as if it had no role at all.If a higher-level system cannot perceive value by including a particular sub-system, it will ignore that sub-system. This typically means the end of that sub-level system’s participation in the higher-level system. That’s the reason nobody makes buggy whips or vinyl music records anymore.Designing the Internal Functions and Subsystems of the OrganizationOnce you have defined the higher-level system in which your company operates, and established your company’s purpose within it, then it’s time to look at the components or subsystems of your organization. These subsystems and components, knowingly or unknowingly, all interact and play a part in achieving or detracting from the company’s purpose. Ideally of course, these subsystems and their interrelationships should be designed and organized in a way that collectively promotes the organization’s purpose, and achieve zero or sustainable negative entropy for the organization. While there is much to discuss about entropy and organizations, a simple macro explanation is that entropy occurs when a system’s resources are depleted over time and its subsystems descend into chaos. Zero entropy is thus a state where resources do not deplete over time, and negative entropy where resources increase over time; in both cases with the subsystems maintaining current relevance and focus on the system purpose.In the auto company example, it needs to define its market, the range of products and services for that market, and how to produce and deliver those products and services in an exchange with the auto market, in a way that its resources do not get depleted. When it achieves that, the auto company will have reached a state of business sustainability. Of course all companies would like to grow, and not just maintain the business; however we all know that growth needs to be kept sustainable or the result could be detrimental. For example, if the auto company increases its market share so rapidly, that it is unable to match that pace with getting the people and systems it needs in place to ensure good quality control, then it could get into problems. In Systems Theory, when we talk about negative entropy in successful systems, it is always about sustainable negative entropy.It can be argued that assuming the organization knows its true purpose, then how that organization’s subsystems are organized will determine the success or failure of the organization. Subsystems, functions, and their inter-relationships are thus optimized to achieve the organization’s purpose; this is distinct from optimization of subsystems for their own purposes. Consequently, if a subsystem does not have a role in the organization’s purpose, then it does not belong in the organization system.It kind of sounds like we are back to the traditional response of auditing departments doesn’t it? But did you note the difference? This time we defined a purpose first. We identified what our role is in the higher-level system. We know what we must do to succeed in that higher-level system. It’s only after we have that firmly established that we use it to determine the organization and effectiveness of our subsystems.Outside-InsideLet’s ratchet this up a level and get you thinking in even broader terms. We talked about finding our purpose in the next higher-level system but it really doesn’t stop there. The effective leader has to look beyond the immediate higher-level system, and get an appreciation for how the next-higher-level system and even-higher-level systems and so on, can impact the purpose of the organization.Say for example, the green environmental movement successfully lobbied to legislate that all cars will be required to double their kilometers per liter rating in 5 years, while at the same time reducing emissions by 50%. This is a political/regulatory factor driven by the inter-related forces of ecological imperatives and the collective awareness of consumers, etc., that now directly impacts the auto company. This factor, which the auto company has no control over, effectively changes what the company must deliver to fulfill its purpose in the higher-level systems in which it operates. The successful auto company, with enlightened management adopting the systems perspective, would have seen this decision coming by identifying the inter-related driving forces leading to this decision, well ahead of their competitors; it would have already began redefining its outputs and reorganizing its subsystems and their inter-relationships for this new reality.It’s important to view business as a part of larger systems. Business does not exist in a vacuum. The arrogance of some organizations, particularly those too big to fail, is disturbing and it’s obvious that they have not learned from past lessons. One only has to look at the auto industry worldwide, the railroad industry in the United States, and the steel industry generally to see examples of once powerful and rich organizations who ultimately didn’t understand, or care, about what their purpose was in the higher-level systems. Today many former giants in those industries are shells of what they were, replaced by organizations who understood what the system needed and where they fit in.Systems Theory and the LeaderSystems Theory is a powerful tool that will take your thinking to an entirely new level. It is an exceptionally honest and effective method for understanding the purpose of an organization and for performing an effective analysis of its subsystems. However, without an advocate, it remains just a theory. That’s where your responsibility as a senior level leader begins.Systems Theory when applied to human organizations is the only management concept rooted in natural science! It makes perfect sense and is really logic and common sense driven. Commit yourself to view everything you do and see in terms of interrelated systems.Start by defining the higher-level system that your organization serves. What purpose, what value, and what fulfillment of needs does your organization offer that system? What products or services does your organization offer that best fills the purpose? Are you offering products or services that don’t serve this system but may serve another?All successful living systems are open systems, and information and resources flow across them. Closed systems, i.e. systems that insulate themselves from, and do not interact with, the higher-level system or other systems, are destined to fail. One of the reasons, though not the only one, is that if they do not interact with other systems, how will they be able to adjust to the evolving purposes of the higher-level-systems and hence define their useful role?To keep your system healthy, what information (business or market intelligence, etc.) do you need to gather from your higher-level system? What information (marketing, communications, etc.) do you need to send to the higher-level systems? What resources (raw materials, component parts, etc.) do you need to acquire from the higher-level systems and the other subsystems within it? Are there resources (shared services, collective bargaining, etc.) that can be shared with other subsystems? What useful resources (products, services, etc.) can you provide to the system and its other subsystems that they need and that you do best in?Lastly you have to organize your subsystems to promote your purpose. A prime directive in Systems Theory is that every subsystem must contribute to the success of the system’s purpose. Teams, managers and individual workers are all subsystems, and components of subsystems. If the guy on the loading dock, or the lady at the front desk, does not understand how he/she is promoting the purpose then he/she cannot be as effective a member of your system as he needs to be.Once your organization is focused on and designed for purpose, you as the leader have to spend time interacting with other systems in the higher-level systems. Obviously you want to spend time within your immediate higher-level system, because that’s where your organization operates. However, you need also to involve yourself with even-higher-level systems like your community and its NPOs, and society. In the inter-connectedness of the world, the health of your community will in the end have a direct impact on your organization’s purpose.ConclusionUltimately, we all need to view ourselves and our respective organizations as parts and subsystems of the successively higher-level systems, our roles in the purposes of those successively higher-level systems, and how we all contribute or detract from the success of the highest-level system we live in, namely the eco-system of earth. That will make the discourse over sustainability in its widest definition a whole lot easier, but that is another subject for another time. For a start, let’s start thinking in systems, so that we and our organizations can be more effective and successful.Through applying Systems Theory to management and leadership you will serve not only your company but your entire environment. That’s what exceptional leaders do.

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Parents of Aspergers Children, Don’t Be Intimidated by Medical and Educational Professionals

After raising children for sixteen years, I’ve learned to trust my instincts. In fact, one psychologist told me that I have a PhD in my children. In this particular case he was referring to my autistic son, who was five years old at the time.He said, “You’ve been studying him for five years now. That’s how long it takes some psychologists to earn their PhD. You are an expert on your son. Don’t let anyone tell you different.”Medical Personnel:I wish I had this much confidence in myself when my middle son was an infant. I kept taking him in for his well baby check ups and complained about developmental delays. He was months behind his brother for smiling, babbling, crawling, walking, talking, etc.I was intimidated into not looking for answers for three years by one simple comment from his doctor. “Oh, you had the perfect child first.” When my son was three and a half years old, I ventured to ask my own physician in the same family practice. She administered some developmental tests on the spot. Then she immediately handed me a referral to a children’s developmental clinic.It turned out I was correct in my concern. My son received the diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome from this clinic. Fortunately, my son was not adversely affected by the delay in a diagnosis and early interventions.Educational Professionals:When I took my son into preschool, the vice principal told me that my son was too young to receive a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. When I requested my son be tested for speech and language disabilities, I was told that he had none. The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) my son had at the beginning of preschool was withdrawn.In kindergarten my son came home thirty-eight days in a row having had a wetting accident during class. I thought I had complained to everyone that something was wrong. Maybe I did and maybe I didn’t. All I know is after a meeting between my attorney and specialists and the school board’s vice superintendent, attorney and the school’s principal, my son was immediately moved to a different classroom and teacher. The wetting accidents stopped.There was a discrepancy between the quality of work he was bringing home and what he was doing at home. I felt my son had a learning disability. The school did not. I went to the local learning disability advocates who confirmed that the school did not have to do anything more for my child. I hired an attorney and educational consultant who affirmed my position.In the end, I did not continue with the services of the hired professionals. Once I had begun to trust in my own instincts, I began advocating on my own for my son. Eventually we did receive a new IEP for my son. He went from a child in the top two thirds of his class to earning straight ‘A’ report cards and being placed in the Honors program.

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