At the January meeting of the Horticultural Society, members brought in their favourite hand tools and gardening tips. Here are some of the suggestions:
Pruners, the by-pass kind, are a must have. Get the best quality you can afford.
Connect a Rain Barrel to a downspout -- anything that will hold water will do. Use a store-bought one or improvise from a plastic garbage pail or vinegar barrel. If it doesn't come with a lid, cover the top with screening, and use a small amount of vegetable oil on the water to discourage mosquitoes.
A Watering Wand is essential for watering hanging baskets, and underneath plants. Get one with an adjustable head (at least six positions) and buy the best quality you can afford.
Reference books help, such as "Favourite Gardening Tips" by Marjorie Harris or "The Gardener's Handbook" published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs.
Vertical gardening means using fences, railings and plastic netting to grow plants. Plants get more light, produce more, and vegetables are cleaner and easier to pick
You can't have too many Bamboo stakes - packages of these can be bought at the dollar store.
Kneelers come in many styles, from a 7" x 14" foam pad, to a platform with handles to help an arthritic gardener stand up.
A Crack Weeder is a small sharp tool to weed between patio stones and pavers.
Long-handled hand tools are available. They give you a wider reach and greater leverage.
Pieces of styrofoam can be used in the bottom of pots to save on soil and lighten the weight. Aluminum pop cans will do the same thing.
Hand cream (Silicone Glove, Bag Balm): You rub it on before you work in the garden, and it acts as a dirt barrier to keep hands clean and soft.
Latex gloves work well in the garden. After use, wash, dry, and dust with baby powder or cornstarch, and they are ready to use again.
Epsom Salts is great as a source of magnesium. Work a handful into the soil around roses, tomatoes and clematis. As an added benefit, the slugs hate it.