Garden Gadgets and Tools
Garden Gadgets and Traditional and Technology Savvy
Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in our country. While being in close contact with nature is much of the attraction, some of us like to tinker around with new tools in conjunction with gardening or yard work. Here we look at many types of tools and toys from Leatherman to hoes and sprinklers.
In addition to being a necessary item for a successful gardener, these tools (and toys!) are great ideas for gifts for your favorite gardener, even if it's you!
Easy Bloom Plant Sensor - For the High Tech Gardener
The Parrot Flower Power Plant Sensor takes the guesswork out of gardening. With this tool you can measure if a spot is too dark, too moist, or too cold, rather than taking a chance on it. Or, if you have a plant that is not thriving where you've put it, it will recommend the changes to make and with current technology, including Bluetooth!
Follow the directions and let it measure the environment for at least 24 hours, then plug it into your computer's USB port and it will make recommendations, even suggesting plants that should do well in your environment. You can narrow the search if you want to specify the desired bloom color or season, height, drought tolerance, or even deer resistance.
Leatherman All-In-One Tool
Several tools in one. This tool has seven functions all to help you multitask in one visit out to the garden. Great gift for yourself or your favorite gardener.
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Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife - Handy Holster Tool
The Fiskars big grip garden knife has a comfortable handle to go with its oversized head that gives comfort and control. This garden knife is handy for a number of garden chores, including digging, planting, weeding, and transplanting.
This knife has a serrated edge on one side that helps in cutting roots and a straight blade on the other side that works well for digging. The center part of the blade has a trough-like indention for transplanting soil or seeds, and has a notched tip that makes it easier to remove weeds. The blade is also coated with a rust-resistant material, and the handle has a large hole for hanging while not in use.
Scarecrow Sprinkler - Humane Garden Pest Control
This is one of our favorites. The basic idea is that the sprinkler has a motion detector that is set off by the presence of larger garden pests like rabbits, birds, dogs, cats, deer and the like. The sprinkler senses the movement of the pests, and suddenly starts spraying for about 8 seconds. The sound and the spray of water startles the pests and they run off. Usually after a few sessions of spraying the pests will find some other garden to invade. Just be sure to turn it off before you go into the garden yourself!
Beginning Gardener Tools
Garden tool sets can be a great gift, or just an easy way to get started gardening on your own. There are a lot of options in considering a tool set, but here are some of the more typical tools that you will want to have in your tool collection.
The number of tools can vary a bit. Some simple starter sets have the bare minimum of three tools, while the high end offering is often a set of more than twelve to fifteen different tools. You'll find the price will vary some with the number of tools, but if you start with a price target it will help you narrow the selection quickly.
Look at the handles of the tools. This is a reasonable good indicator of the workmanship of the tool set being considered. Tools with plastic handles will often be cheaper, and unfortunately the construction of the rest of the tool will sometimes cut corners as well, for example using stamped tines instead of cast. Nothing beats a well tooled wooden handle as it will last a long time and is comfortable to use. Some of the high end tools make use of some conforming foam materials that really help those who use the tools a fair amount but are troubled by joint pains or chronic arthritis.
The tools that come with a garden set vary, but there are a few included in almost all sets. A favorite is the garden trowel. Looking like a smaller version of a shovel, it's one of the more versatile tools in the garden, used to dig up root crops like garlic, or to prepare a bed for transplanting smaller vegetables. Check that this is not made from thin stamped steel, as it will easily bend and break if used under a decent amount of pressure.
A bulb planter looks like a narrow trowel, and is used in much the same way as a trowel, but is used to plant items that are smaller and need a deep hole like flower bulbs.
A garden fork, sometimes known as a cultivator, has hooked tines on it and is used to work the surface of the soil. Good for cultivating or weeding a smaller area, they are good for preparing a smaller bed area for smaller seeds like carrots and radishes.
Pruners are popular in garden tool sets. Usually they will include a bypass pruner, as these are smaller and handy for making clean cuts on flowers or vegetables like tomatoes or cucumber vines. It is quite handy when these tools are brightly colored in case you set it down temporarily and if like me, you forgot where that was, it is easy to find. Mine is a bright yellow.
A garden tool set will come with a variety of holders. Some include a plastic holder, more of a package, while a great gift idea is to include a holster made from leather that straps on your belt. These cases will sometimes have molded inserts for the tools, and the best cases are made of wood.
Finally, a garden utility cart can be a good gift. They are especially good for the older gardener who has more trouble stooping or carrying tools. Some of these carts come with a seat built into the top of the cart that let's you work in the garden from a sitting position. You will find these carts very handy for chores other than just working in the garden. When I bring supplies to work at our school garden, the cart is most handy to transport the tools from home to school.
This Fiskars product is indispensable to me. After my husband passed away, much of the yard work was left to me and my teenage son. We are not tall people so trimming trees was not an easy task. I had seen my husband use this tool and gave it a whirl. It is easy to use, very functional, and by trimming the younger, smaller branches with this tool, I feel like I am controlling the canopy growth before I have to call professionals to tree the larger parts of my trees. Highly recommended!