A Gardener's Toolbox
Gardening is a multi-purpose activity. It adds value to your home, puts food on your plate, is great exercise and can be very enjoyable. The best way to make the most of gardening is to have the proper tools. With the following ten items, you will be prepared for almost anything that will come your way in the garden.
1. Gloves: Before starting any garden work, you need to have a good pair of gloves. These don’t have to be expensive, but a durable pair of gardening gloves makes working with plants, dirt and tools much easier on the hands. Dirt not only gets under your nails, ladies, but can dry out your skin. Plants may have thorns that could prick you, and using tools without gloves can cause blisters. They don’t have to last for years, mine typically last a season and then its on to the next pair. But, as they always say: a gardener can always use another pair of gloves and a tub of hand crème.
2. Pruners: Almost as essential as gloves, is a good set of pruners. This tool makes deadheading and cleaning a much quicker task. Compact pruners are a smaller sized blade, but just as effective on most plants as the larger set. Keep in mind what you have planted to determine how large of a pair you will need for cutting things back. (The bigger the stem, the larger the pair)
3. Watering Wand/Gun: This may not seem essential to a lot of new gardeners, but the pressure your water is coming out can make a difference with soil erosion. Using a watering wand over just a watering head is also good in the fact that it will help you water the hard-to-reach areas. IT is important to water plants at their base, and the extended wand will help you get there.
4. Hand Trowel: This tool is indispensable for container gardening and any smaller scale gardening. When you have a flat of annuals you want to plant in a bed, digging the small holes with a big shovel is a little ridiculous. Hand trowels get the work done and are very useful when it comes to digging up your root-bound containers at the end of the season.
5. Shovel: While a hand trowel is necessary for smaller jobs, it definitely can’t do the work on larger jobs. Planting perennial gardens, shrubs, trees and even aiding in soil preparation for the season, is left to larger shovels.
6. Knee saver: Knee savers come in a variety of styles. You have your basic knee pad to lean on when planting, and fancier stands that have built-in pads and handles to lean on when standing up. This last style is great, because most of them also turn into small seats to use when in the garden. Whichever style you go with, your knees will thank you at the end of the day if you have one to kneel on.
7. Weeder: Weeders are just what they sound like. They help pull out the weeds that attack your beautiful garden. Some are smaller hand weeders, which are great for small-scale jobs. Others are stand-up weeders, that use the force of your whole body to help remove the weed and its roots. This useful tool will keep your garden weed-free for the season.
8. Quality Plants: It may seem like a no-brainer, but starting with strong, healthy plants in your garden is important. You don’t want to bring something with disease or bugs into your home, and you want the best results you can get. Starting with plants you know have been taken care of and that are known to last long is the best way to go.
9. Systemic Granules: Unfortunately, bugs happen. Even with quality plants, the hot, humid summers encourage bugs and other diseases to attack your plants. Using a systemic granule is a great way to treat just about any plant. They have indoor and outdoor types to use, but these little granules of insecticide will get taken up through the roots and help bring your plants back to life.
10. A Plan: Again, this may seem strange, but before stepping foot at a garden center, you need to know what you’re working with. Look at the amount of sun you have, the type of soil you have and the size of the beds you have. These will help you determine the type of plants that work best. If you need help or ideas in what you would like to do, try using an online planner like this one