New Gardening Gadgets and Gizmos
Master gardener Paul James showcases several handy garden gadgets.
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Once assembled, you simply add potting mix to the bed, firm the mix a bit with your hands, then plant your seeds or transplants. The bed comes with a weather-proof liner to keep soil in and allow water to drain through.
James decides to fill this bed with some fall veggie crops--lettuce, spinach and arugula--all of which will be ready to harvest within four to six weeks. He simply broadcasts the seeds just as he would in a garden in the ground, adds a bit more mix to cover them, presses them lightly to ensure good soil-to-seed contact, then waters well.
"The only downside to this garden bed--well, besides the most poorly written assembly instructions I've ever read--is that because both the top and bottom of the bed are exposed, it tends to dry out rather quickly," James says. "So be prepared to water frequently--to the point where the water begins to trickle through the bottom of the bed." The raised bed has a slatted shelf at the bottom for storing potting mix, tools and watering cans.
All you do is swivel the two-part discs to compensate for the slope of a patio, driveway or deck, then place your pot on top (figure C). As a bonus, this pot-leveler also protects wood and masonry surfaces from stains.
"This is a brilliant invention, especially for people like me who go crazy at the sight of anything crooked."
First, identify a six- to eight-inch section of branch to be rooted, and make a circular cut around the branch, exposing roughly a half-inch length of tissue just inside the bark layer. This is the portion of the branch from which new roots will emerge. Wrap the pot around the exposed tissue and close.
It may be necessary to support the branch with a stake, given the weight of the pot. Stuff the pot with moist sphagnum moss, and secure the lid on top of the pot.
You'll need to add water to the pot once a week or so, but that's all you have to do. Within two to four months, depending on the plant, you should have a well-developed root system inside the pot. At that point, simply cut the branch just below the pot, remove the cutting and plant it--either in a container or in the ground.
All you do is install the hanger using the screws provided--in this case, on a fence--and slide a six- to 10-inch terra-cotta pot into the latch at the top (figure F).
"With a little imagination, you may find even more uses for these things," James says, "like keeping hand tools handy--or for storing grilling tools next to the barbecue."
"Two things to keep in mind," James says. "The load limit on this gizmo is 25 pounds, and it doesn't work well when placed in a shady location. After all, it's solar powered."
And that's the point in showing you all these gadgets and gizmos, James says. "After all, the simpler gardening is, the more inclined you'll be to get out there and garden."
Paul James shares his favorites among new hand tools and gardening gadgets.