The last couple of years, we have been planting a relatively small garden in our backyard. This is something my grandparents would do every year and I remember spending summers with them and helping out with the harvesting, canning, watering….all the non-fun stuff I hated doing but kind of enjoy these days. Their gardens were HUGE, I seem to remember them getting bigger each year but that could have been my imagination. They taught me a great deal when I was a kid but after all those years, I have promptly forgotten pretty much everything.
When my husband and I decided to try out the gardening thing, it happened because we were moving around a lot for his job and we had begun renting a small house in central Texas that had a small garden plot. We utilized it that first year and grew tomatoes, jalapenos (because Texas) and some bell peppers and herbs. Everything grew really well and we started to realize how awesome it was to be able to pick fresh veggies whenever we needed them. So, now we do them every year and as of right now, we enjoy every second.
Through this small amount of experience we have with gardening, we have run into the normal problems of every gardener. We have also done a great deal of comparison shopping for gardening equipment and found some unique and interesting items to add to our collection out in the shed. I thought I would share some of these with you since it’s summer and many of us are beginning to see the fruits of our labor (ha, see what I did there?).
This is something I wanted as soon as I saw it because I am a “one-trip” person. When I buy groceries, I will get every single bag out of the trunk at one time or die trying. Seriously, going back for a second trip would surely kill me and I am the same way with the garden tools. I try to grab everything at once and I am sure you can guess how often I’ve dropped things on the way from the shed to the garden.
This handy dandy caddy carries it all and you can just push it over to your garden and then back to the garage or shed with little to no effort. The bucket can hold all of your shovels, rakes and larger tools while the pockets on the sides are for smaller items. There is even a trash bucket on the back or you could use it for potting soil or fertilizer bags. I would probably use for the vegetables that I pick so I do not have to make several trips into the house (see, one trip).
The reviews on this one are all positive (save one or two) with most saying the convenience of carrying everything around at once being the most impressive. Others also stated that the caddy is sturdy and stands up while holding heavy equipment without falling over. The one negative review stated that the item was difficult to put together and also they felt that the pull handle could be longer, especially when having to carry longer rakes or shovels. However, this particular reviewer upgraded their rating to three stars after contacting customer service on their issues with putting the caddy together.
Elevated Planter Boxes
If you are planting vegetables or flowers that stay relatively small (i.e. don’t spread out) or grow tall and slim, these boxes would likely be a good addition to your garden. Also, a good idea for those with bad knees or that have a difficult time squatting down or getting back up. Don’t be embarrassed, it happens to all of us, myself included. Some days, I have a hard time getting up the stairs (I mean, who chooses a two story house with the master bedroom upstairs, anyway?)
So these particular boxes can be purchased at Target but there are plenty of other options (sizes, materials, etc) that you could choose from depending on your needs. I picked this one because of the size, which is 32″ and the excellent reviews. I also think it has a clean appearance and, aesthetically, I like the mix of materials used. The legs are made of aluminum and are on rollers, the wood is stained Canadian spruce for those of you that care about such things. The wheels also are lockable, no runaway gardens here.
On to the reviews, 82% agreed this product deserved 5 stars while the remaining 18% are split between 1-4 stars with 4 stars receiving a whopping 11%. Those giving 4 and 5 stars say the planters are easy to assemble and they look great. Those giving less than 4 stars stated the directions are not easy to understand, therefore assembly can be difficult. There were also missing boards in some packages, however a few that gave higher reviews mention that you are supposed to allow spaces in between the bottom boards to encourage drainage so these packages may not be missing pieces, they just may not be assembled correctly. However, it sounds as if the directions are not clear on this, so be mindful if you purchase this that you will need to spread the bottom boards out (some reviewers say about the width of one of the boards between each) in order to get this put together correctly.
Stand Up Weeder
I can say from personal experience that this thing is awesome! When we first moved into to our house, we have a huge flower bed in the backyard that needed to be cleaned out and this weeder helped make the job go much faster than if we’d had to do this with small gardening tools or just our hands. Basically, you just position the center of the tool over the weed, press it down and step on the pedal to push it down to the roots. When you press the pedal, the bottom metal prongs rotate to grab the weed at the roots and then you just pull it up. Once you have the weed out of the ground, pull up on the side of the tool (almost like cocking a gun) and the weed is released. Simple as that.
A negative on this tool would be that sometimes, if you are not paying attention, you can grab too much dirt by going down too far in the ground. You can always put it back but it’s kind of annoying to have to replace the dirt every time you pull a weed so just be careful not to push down too far, especially if it is a smaller weed. I would also suggest not using this tool for weeds that are tiny because you will grab far too much dirt. This weeder is better for larger flower beds with tons of weeds or weeds that are 3″ or taller.
These are definitely worth a try!
I think any of these will help you in the garden, especially those of you that have back or knee issues. Gardening is really fun if you do a little research and know what you are doing beforehand. I kinda flew by the seat of my pants and got lucky the first year because we got quite a lot of vegetables, but I wish I had done some reading and saved myself a little frustration (like not planting certain vegetables next to other certain vegetables, or making sure I sprayed for snails in the beginning and not after an infestation).
If you are an avid gardener, what are some tips you could give us newbies to get us started? Do you have any of these products or do you have others that you can’t live without? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!