Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Right Tools for the Right Job

Flat Bottom Faves

I've been there.  I've tried to divide plants with a butter knife (seriously, I have).  I've labeled seeds with markers that fade under the hot summer sun so I can't remember what organic version of pepper I planted.  I've pruned roses wearing regular garden gloves and still have the scars on my arms to prove it.  Let me save you the aggravation, disappointment, and Neosporin.  Here's a list of my favorite garden tools and supplies:

1)  A kneeling pad.  I garden out on my deck and am either sitting or kneeling on the hard, sometimes splintery wood.  My husband bought me this kneepad.  It's great.  Get one.  Your knees will thank you.

2)  Gauntlet gloves.  These are what you need when you're dealing with thorny roses and blackberry bushes.  They can take a beating.  I left mine out all winter. 

3)  Wilcox All-Pro transplant trowel.  This is one of those times when the brand makes a difference.  You can't destroy this thing.  You can try; you will fail.  It's stainless steel, has depth measurements stamped right on it, and it's made in the USA. Cheers for the home team!

4)  Metal plant markers with pencil.  What you write on these will never fade.  I tried scrubbing an old one to reuse it.  Ajax wouldn't even get it completely clean.  I write stuff like what I planted, when I planted it, what its basic requirements are, when it will bloom/bear fruit, what color it's supposed to be, etc.  Order a bunch.

5)  Felco pruners.  Another time when brand makes a difference.  I'm not saying there aren't a bunch of pruners out there to choose from, I'm just saying I've tried a whole lot of them and found these have never let me down.  You can see from the picture, I don't do the best job of maintaining them.  And yet they keep doing the job they were meant to do.  You can even get a holster so you can really look like you mean business. 

6)  Joyce Chen scissors.  I bought my first pair about 12 years ago in the kitchen department.  Yes, they're great in the kitchen, but I found they are fantastic for the garden.  I use it to snip herbs, deadhead flowers, and prune scrawny branches. 

7)  Stretch garden tape.  I use this to train my climbers on a trellis or to tie plants to a stake.  The tape is soft and it gives so it won't dig into the stem of the plant. 

Make your hands happy

8)  Felco saw.  This is what I got to replace that butter knife.  It has cut through some of my most stubborn, root-bound plants like nobody's business.  And it's great for pruning more mature branches.

9)  Hand cream.  Sweet relief.  Even when you wear gloves, your hands somehow manage to get beaten up.  Sure, any old lotion will do.  But why not spoil yourself a little? 

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