Cool Tools for the Garden
By: Danny Lipford
It used to be that gardening was a hobby. It was a pleasant way to spend a lazy afternoon by enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, and the self-proclamation of being a green thumb. Soon, gardening became a competition as you kept up with the Joneses vying for the coveted Yard of the Month sign. Today it’s practically become survival of the fittest since much of the country is facing drought conditions and water rationing.
The good news is that you can take the stress of gardening back down to the hobby level with all the cool new tools designed specifically for today’s gardener. A lot of home and garden centers will have yard tools, but not all of them are going to make yard work simple.
Here are some really cool tools that, not only do the job, but make your day in the garden a walk in the park.
You would think that gloves are a necessity, but not everyone like to wear gloves. Here’s a great alternative. Gardener’s Armor from the Duluth Trading Company is a specially-designed lotion that will protect your hands from bugs, poison ivy and other garden nasties. It forms a protective barrier on your skin to block the ill-effects of poison ivy, poison oak and sumac. It keeps insects from biting and it also prevents any garden chemicals from absorbing into your pores. Plus, the barrier it forms will make washing your hands easier. A 4 oz. bottle costs $12.50 and will provide about 100 applications.
Less is more when it comes to toting around garden tools. Here’s a really cool item I found from Ames True Temper. It’s called the 7-in-1 Planter’s Buddy and, as the name implies, it has seven functions in this single hand tool. It has a really heavy gauge stainless steel blade to be used as a trowel; a serrated edge for cutting bags of potting soil, mulch or fertilizer; the tip is notched for weeding with ease; the other edge is a sharpened blade for cutting sod; the same edge has a V-notch perfect for cutting twine; the handle end is a solid poly composition that can be used as a tamper to tamp down wood stakes, markers and fertilizer spikes; and, finally, the blade and handle are marked in one-inch increments for easy measuring of distance when putting in plants. It runs $14.99 and it’s available at Home Depot, Lowes and True Value.
Another new design is the CobraHead Weeder, again from Duluth Trading Company.
It has a unique design that slices through the toughest soil like a tractor pulling a cultivator.
It’s sharpened and honed on both sides, zinc-coated steel and practically unbreakable. Really fun to use, too. Only costs $24.50.
Keeping with the idea of making work easier, here’s a comfortable way to work in the yard without all the strain on your lower back and knees.
This is the Comfort Garden Kneeler I picked up at The Home Depot (www.homedepot.com) for only $39.00. It has an adjustable height padded seat, soft cushioned kneeling pads, folds up for quick storage and is very lightweight. The nice thing is that I don’t use this just in the garden. It’s perfect for camping trips, too!
Every gardener has a pump-up sprayer. Those are pretty simple to use, but here’s something even simpler. Ryobi has long been known for their cordless power tools. Well, they took the idea of a garden sprayer and attached one of their battery packs to create this cordless motorized sprayer, so you don’t even have to pump it up any more. It will spray chemicals, cleaning agents and stains, so it’s perfect for the garden. You can pick it up at Home Depot for just under $30. [NOTE: This product has been discontinued and is no longer available]
If you’re doing a lot of gardening, you have to have a garden cart. What makes this one unique is how easy it is to dump a load of topsoil or fertilizer.
This is a dumping cart from Vigoro and it’s a smaller version of a cart they already made, so it’s perfect for home use. This is also a Home Depot item and it costs just $59.99.
Two more items that you should put on your gardener’s wish list is this portable garden center from Backyard Gear.
Not only is it a convenient tool caddy, but it includes a fold away sink for cleaning tools, vegetables, hands, etc. It even has a paper towel holder. You have to order this on the Internet, but you can find it on Home Depot’s site and it costs $140.00.
The sink, by the way, operates by hooking it directly to your water hose. Once you’re done gardening for the day, the garden center rolls out of the way for quick and easy storage.
The next item will get the hose out of the way without you having to roll it up yourself. The Reel Smart will automatically rewind your garden hose using nothing more than water pressure. There are a lot of hose reels on the market, but this new design means the size is only about one-fifth the size of others. You can pick one up at the Home Depot for only $69.90.