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Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these tools will make your job easier and your garden more prolific. I use them myself.
These Thermacell tubes are filled with Permethrin-laced cotton, which mice will find in your yard, and gather and use to build their nests. In the process, they’ll get some of the active ingredient on their fur, which will kill baby ticks, which primarily feed on mice before moving on to deer, pets and humans as they mature. It’s a prevention-control method that works similar to our pets’ flea and tick treatments. And it’s safe for the environment. Genius!
I received my first EarthBOX as a gift circa 2007, and bought a second a year later; I've been using them ever since, usually to grow extra tomatoes, but you can grow almost anything in them. They're self-watering (from the bottom, which helps prevent disease), self-feeding and can be easily wheeled around to chase the sun if your garden gets shady during the day. Expand the diagram to learn how they work.
This self-watering grow system uses low-wattage LED lighting and high-tech soil capsules to grow flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables . Grow edibles indoors year-round, or use the optional seedless capsules to start your own seeds, like I do, before transplanting outdoors. My model is the Smart Garden 9.
After years of disappointment with flimsy, broken, blown-away supports, I finally ponied up for a set of sturdy Texas Tomato Cages, and I can attest they're worth every penny. They didn't even budge during Tropical Storm Isaias, which knocked out our power for 10 days. Made of two pieces each with 6-inch stakes to anchor them, they unfold in seconds and are tall enough to support mature plants. (The Ebay selling page looks a bit simplistic, but they are 100% legit; it's where I bought mine.
Gone are the days of balancing a one-wheeled barrow only to have it stall and tip. My Gorilla Cart GCG4 is as steady as they come, with a comfy handle, a strong, tough bed design, and pneumatic tires. Its quick-release dumping system allows for easy unloading of mulch, soil or whatever you're lugging, and it has a four-cubic-foot, 600-pound capacity.
Translated from Japanese, "hori-hori" means "dig-dig," but this tool does much more than that. I use it to remove weeds, cut through roots, plant bulbs and cut open bags of mulch, etc. One side of the sharp blade is smooth and the other is serrated, so it will handle a multitude of tasks. The blade also is marked in inches, which comes in handy. I find this model to be sturdy -- and I appreciate that its handle includes a protective hand guard; many do not.
Available in three sizes -- and left- and right-handed models (I use #6) -- Swiss-made Felco pruners are the gold standard for gardeners all over the world. All parts, from blades to screws, are replaceable, so they'll likely be the last pair of pruners you ever buy. And the red handle keeps them from getting lost in a pile of weeds.
Made by a century-old Japanese knife manufacturer in Ono, Japan, Silky's GOMBOY landscape folding saw is portable, comfortable and effective. I've been using the 240mm medium-toothed model for pruning and trimming soft wood around the garden for years. It comes with a sturdy plastic hinged carrying case, which protects against accidents when not in use.
So simple -- and so cheap! -- Showa Atlas nitrile gloves are my favorite. They fit like a second skin so you can feel what you’re doing (you can even wear them when sowing seeds) and are strong enough not to tear or puncture while performing routine tasks. They're even good for opening jars in the kitchen
This contraption makes four nice-sized, compressed soil blocks at a time. No need for seed-starting containers, as they hold their shape better than you'd expect, even with watering. When the time is right, just plant the whole thing in the garden -- and the risk of transplant shock is eliminated. Yes, a little care needs to be taken, but overall, they're a big win!
Cloches protect tender seedlings from early-season temperature drops, and these are the best I've seen. They're made of clear PVC and vented to control airflow, feature water wells that accumulate and disperse water gently (protecting from heavy rain or hose streams) and can be combined to customize long rows, if needed.
I've tried the cheap plastic trays and can attest they do not last more than a season or two. But this kit, which was developed for European horticultural laboratories, will last years. Its sturdy tray is dishwasher safe and has tapered cells that are 50% larger than standard tray cells, so roots grow deeper, stronger, sturdier and more shock-resistant.
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