A Systematic Approach!

When I first developed this list, I came up with the ten tools that I thought would be the most useful for puttering around in a flower garden.  Then I though of a few more that would really come in handy.  And a few more...

I had a real problem deciding which ones I should keep on the list and which I should eliminate - until I realized that the tools fell naturally into categories according to function.  It was these individual gardening functions that I needed to address.

The solution was to select a system, consisting of one or more tools and/or devices,  that would perform each of these functions and keep with our basic principles of value and simplicity.

Ten Most Useful Tools for
Your Flower Garden, 6-10

  1. Cleaning

This could be referring to getting rid of the remnants of spending an afternoon in your garden from your hands and clothes, but in this case I'm talking about getting rid of the weeds and other inevitable debris from your garden.  The first step of pulling or cutting the weeds was handled by the weeding tools discussed on page one. You can gather the weeds and other debris using a hand rake or a narrow long-handled rake.  Once you've done that, carry it away in a small garden basket, a bucket, or if you have a bigger garden, a wheelbarrow.  A good way to recycle this material is in a compost bin.  Just make sure the compost pile gets hot enough to kill the weed seeds.

  1. Carrying

Once you've cleaned up all your garden's unwanted material, carry it away in a small garden basket, a bucket, or if you have a bigger garden, a wheelbarrow or yard cart.  A good way to recycle this material is in a compost bin.  Just make sure the compost pile gets hot enough to kill the weed seeds.  You can use the transporter to carry in new plantings, move around soil, and all of your other garden toting tasks.

  1. Hand Protection

Dirt, prickly plants, tool handles and sun can all be hard on a gardener's hands.  Save yourself cleanup time, aggravation, and possibly some pain by wearing a good pair of garden gloves.  It takes less time to slip them on and off than to put on a band-aid or even to wash your hands.  Good gloves fit well, provide durable protection and give you more grip.  Can you handle that?

  1. Knee Protection

Tending a garden brings you closer to the earth.  Literally, when you have to get down on your knees to plant and weed.  Depending on how religious you are, you may not be used to spending a lot of time on your knees.  You can ease the pressure a bit with a good kneeling pad.  If you want to move around easily without worrying about repositioning a pad, you can also opt for strap-on knee pads.  I prefer ground pads because knee pads can get hot and uncomfortable, and they usually don't provide a lot of padding.  To get an extra-thick pad really cheap, shop for a foam paddle board at the end of swimming pool season.

  1. Sun Protection

The time you spend in your garden can be so relaxing and rewarding that it's easy to lose track of time.  This is a good thing... unless you've forgotten to take proper precautions for the sun.  A sunburn is bad for you, and can be bad for your garden.  You may have to neglect it while you recover.  As with any other outdoor activity, your Sun Protection System should protect your whole body while you are gardening.  It should include sunscreen, lip protection, sunglasses and the right kind of clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat to protect the back of your neck. For sunscreen, I prefer using a sunblock with at least SPF 45 that blocks both UVA and UVB.  Get sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB, and that give your eyes good protection from wind and side glare.

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