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Using a Bread Knife for Precision Edges on New Beds

By Xeramtheum
February 26, 2013

I tend to make a lot of small bordered beds. I don’t like to use a shovel for edging because they aren’t very precise. Enter the most versatile of garden tools: the bread knife!

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Name: LeBug 6a
Greenville, In.
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LeBug
Feb 25, 2013 8:27 PM CST
Hurray! Nicely done X! I'll have to convince my clay soil and rocks that "It’s ridiculously easy!" Rolling on the floor laughing I'm going to give it a try.

Lea
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Feb 25, 2013 9:02 PM CST
The clay will succumb easily - I used to live in Tidewater Virginia area .. not sure about the rocks though.

"Listen & Silent are spelled with the same letters.

Think about it ; )
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Feb 25, 2013 9:08 PM CST
Great tip but do use a pruning saw old instead of knife which can snap and do harm.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Feb 25, 2013 10:29 PM CST
Love this tip. I will use it when we put in our new beds. Thumbs up
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
A closed mouth gathers no foot
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Xeramtheum
Feb 25, 2013 10:58 PM CST
Thanks! It's really great for creating scalloped edges or odd shaped beds .. if you're careful and cut the grass into rectangles you can roll it up and put it where you need more grass.
"Listen & Silent are spelled with the same letters.

Think about it ; )
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Feb 26, 2013 7:14 AM CST
Thank you!
I am going to give this tip a try! Thumbs up

Although I am wondering if the bermuda grass will creep back into the bed, but that's a whole other problem!!

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Lin
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Feb 26, 2013 10:41 AM CST
Wow, what a great idea! Thanks for sharing this wonderful tip X!

By the way ... I love your idea of ladder trellises for Morning Glories; would love to see a photo of the finished project which I bet is going to be beautiful!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Melissa E. Keyes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Zone 11+
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coconut
Feb 26, 2013 11:47 AM CST
"Perfect" looking soil there... I might suggest a drywall saw, or knife. It's a tough thick thing, up to pushing rocks out of the way. Thanks for the article!
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Feb 26, 2013 2:00 PM CST
Thanks .. in the past I've found that using a saw blade with toothed instead of serrated edges get caught in the grass making it harder to "saw" through it. In all the years I've been using the bread knife I've never had one break on me - ever.

For really large areas, I actually use an electric knife to cut under the grass after the initial cuts. You just don't want to be using an electric knife in a really wet area.
"Listen & Silent are spelled with the same letters.

Think about it ; )
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
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critterologist
Feb 27, 2013 9:36 AM CST
Cool!

But how the heck do you trim the grass around all those small bordered beds? That's the tip I'm REALLY waiting for now! Smiling
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
A closed mouth gathers no foot
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Xeramtheum
Feb 27, 2013 10:24 AM CST
With a weed whacker or scissors if the weed whacker is broken and I'm desperate.
"Listen & Silent are spelled with the same letters.

Think about it ; )
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Feb 27, 2013 2:50 PM CST
We used a weed whacker, then I painted the grass right along the edge of the bed with Round-up. That lasted almost the entire summer. Sure saved me a lot of extra work, I would have to cover the beds with old sheets to keep the weed whacker from throwing grass in the beds.
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
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critterologist
Feb 27, 2013 9:46 PM CST
That's about the easiest idea for creating a "mowing strip" that I've ever heard, Lynn! You need to write it up as a tip on its own!

There's a lot of creativity in this group, for sure.
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Feb 28, 2013 1:11 AM CST
I've never used weed killer before, but getting older and not being able to work at garden as hard as I did in the past, has made me change my mind on how to control the grass around the beds.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 28, 2013 4:03 PM CST
I don't have any grass, but do use my bread knife for lots of other things around the garden. It's great for trimming the jasmine groundcover along my walkways. As X says, it makes nice straight clean cuts. Also good for digging small transplant holes if my trowel is not handy. Works for pruning and weeding in a pinch, too.

Any serrated knife will do - pruning saw, drywall saw, or I scored a set of cheap steak knives ($4 for a set of 6) like what they have at steak houses, that are very sturdy and serrated. They work great, and I leave them strategically situated around the garden so there's always one at hand.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
A closed mouth gathers no foot
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
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Xeramtheum
Feb 28, 2013 4:38 PM CST
Hmmm .. mowing strip .. never thought of it .. I'm thinking I might try that out! Thanks for the tip!
"Listen & Silent are spelled with the same letters.

Think about it ; )
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
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ViolaAnn
Mar 2, 2013 6:38 AM CST
I'm not so sure I'd like to use my favourite bread knife for this, but a cheap one might work. Or the Lee Valley root knife which I have and find invaluable around the garden - http://www.leevalley.com/US/ga...
Ann

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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Mar 2, 2013 9:32 AM CST
Ann thank you for that link, what a great tool. Heading to the hardware store to see if they have them. That would be perfect for edging.
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
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critterologist
Mar 4, 2013 9:34 AM CST
I really like the rugged "Soil Knife" from AM Leonard (especially since they have a stainless steel version). I don't know if it would be as good for precision work, but it's sturdy enough to divide huge clumps of DLs or hostas.

DH had a set of "eversharp" knives when we got married... we replaced them for kitchen work after I nicknamed them "never sharp," but they're great for abusing in the garden... tougher than I'd thought they'd be, and sharp enough for most non-cooking jobs.
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.

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