10 Surprising Garden Tools You Didn't Know You Needed
You've got gloves and a trowel. What else do you need? Gardening author Mark Highland shares his list of must-haves.
The right tools make gardening easier and a lot more fun. Horticulturist Mark Highland, author of Practical Organic Gardening and owner of The Organic Mechanic Soil Company, relies on 10 time- and money-savers that may not be in your garden shed — but they should be. Check out his list of don't-miss gear.
You won't mind this snake in your garden. American-made Cobrahead weeders and cultivators have steel blades that work like metal fingernails, removing weeds from almost any kind of soil. Highland recommends the handheld Cobrahead. Use the long-handled version when you're standing. A new, mini-cultivator is great for weeding lawns. "Best weeder ever," he adds.
BUY IT: Gardener's Supply Co., $24.95
Unless you’re "flush" with cash, you can save money by turning off the water every time you change your spraying device. But running back and forth to a spigot is a pain. The solution? Add a brass-shut off valve to control the flow from your hose. This handy gadget, Highland says, is "Instrumental in my garden, saves hundreds of gallons monthly and is the earth-friendly thing to do."
BUY IT: Amazon, $12.50
Tell Peter Rabbit to scram. Plastic-coated, flexible wire fencing "lasts for years," Highland says. "It protects my containers and beds from the deadly rabbit, groundhog and deer! Just cut the length to fit." He uses green-coated, aluminum poles to stake his fencing. Fencing rolls are available in various sizes.
BUY IT: The Home Depot, $13.65
Okay, this wand won't turn garden toads into princes, but it's a must-have. Highland recommends a basic watering wand "with a breaker on the end that splits the water stream into a rain-type setting. Not the twisty ones with 10 different settings. Those break too quickly. While it may seem pedestrian, I cannot live without this simple tool in my garden."
BUY IT: Amazon, $29.99
Don't blast your fragile plants with a hard stream of water. A misting nozzle that attaches to the end of your hose is perfect for seedlings, orchids and air-plants like tillandsias, Highland says. It’s also great for raising the humidity around other plants.
BUY IT: Amazon, $14.98
"Straw hat, cowboy hat, your choice," Highland says, "But skin cancer is not fun. A hat is the easiest way to protect your head, face and neck, plus it keeps you cool." Go for style and extra sun protection with a Sloggers hat. It has a UPF 50+ rating and a wide brim so your neck doesn't burn.
BUY IT: Walmart, $20.45
Keep an eye on young trees when rainfall is scarce. Drought can stress and even kill them, and watering with a hose won't help if the water runs off before it can soak into the ground. Highland recommends a slow-release watering system. A single bag fits trees up to four inches caliper and holds 20 gallons of water. The bag empties and waters the tree in six to eight hours.
BUY IT: Lowe's, $19.98
Think of No-Bite-Me insect repellent as another essential tool in your garden kit. It's 100-percent natural and DEET-free, and "it smells nice and works," Highland says. "It’s effective against mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, ants, sand fleas, and fleas and lasts a long time. Even when I’m sweating, I don't need to reapply this repellent." The cream, which is made with 18 essential oils, including cedar, mint and lemongrass, also soothes your skin after you’ve been bitten.
BUY IT: Amazon, $25