Tool Time

Although spring is officially here, it’s still a bit too early to get out and start digging. However, there are a few things we can do before our plants break ground: organize and tend to our tools.  Consider how many tools you actually use throughout the course of the gardening year, and the task may become a little more daunting than expected.  But don’t fret, there’s plenty of time to care for the tools you have, and I’ve provided a few of my favorites if you’re looking to replace anything else. 

Start by checking your wheelbarrows and carts, often the tires need attention or replacement.  I solved this issue for my wheelbarrow with a tire that never needs inflating, the flat-free tire, available on line from  Worth the slightly higher price, mine has lasted at least ten years with not a single pump.

West County & Women's Work Assorted Gloves in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

West County & Women’s Work Assorted Gloves (photo credit: Kathy Diemer )

Gloves are available for every chore, and I have an assortment that I rely on; rose gloves, mud gloves for pulling weeds and planting, and work gloves for everything from weed whacking to shoveling. West County’s rose gloves provide great protection from thorns, their mud gloves keep my hands clean and dry without sweating and the work gloves prevent blisters. They come in a good assortment of colors and last for years, which says a lot given the way I abuse them:  For the really heavy stuff (thorn bushes, barbed wire) Women’s Work heavy duty cowhide is the only glove that stands the test of time; my pair has lasted close to twenty years.  They are a woman-owned family business, celebrating their 29th year, and have a great motto: “Strong Women Building A Gentle World”:

Felco Pruners & Loppers in A garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Felco Pruners & Loppers (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Pruners and loppers are used throughout the growing season, and need to be cared for continuously. That means cleaning with a bleach product (Clorox wipes) after every use, sharpening and lubricating.  If you do these three simple steps, your pruners will last decades (unless you lose them, alas a nice pair of Felcos are buried somewhere in my compost pile).  I use Felco pruners for all hand pruning, they have a nice selection available for both left or right handed users.  I invested in the Felco loppers a few years ago for pruning my larger trees, and never regretted it.  After using the cheaper versions that constantly fell apart, I was relieved to find that Felco’s also carry a lifetime warranty:

Black & Decker Weed Whacker in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Black & Decker Weed Whacker

Weed whackers are a necessary evil, so I feel a little better using the environmentally friendly, much quieter and lighter, rechargeable-battery operated version.  After a lot of research, I found the Black and Decker Lithium 36 volt weed whacker to be the most practical and reliable product for me. It has multiple ranges of power for lighter or heavier cutting, which helps preserve the battery life.  That said, I still have two rechargeable batteries, as one usually lasts about an hour, and I need at least twice that.  The battery operated beats gas and cord types for convenience and easier handling, and it is much gentler on my body parts!  You can find them at Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, or:

Medium Orange Tubtrug in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Medium-sized Orange Tubtrug

Buckets are always helpful when you don’t need, or don’t feel like lugging the wheelbarrow around.  I often use buckets to help transplant or transport plants and shrubs as they come in a variety of sizes (and colors!).  They are light weight, so it’s easy to carry a large amount of garden scraps, and they’re solid so you can drop them, step on them or haul some pretty heavy stuff with no repercussions.  I have two elderly Fiel trugs, a large and a small: or try the Tubtrug at:

So, rustle up your tools, Pardners!  Clean and polish your pruners, wash your gloves, and round up the posse.  There’s a lot of work ahead and your troops need to be at the ready.

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