Gardening is a healthful and rewarding activity which will bring you pretty flowers to adorn your house, bright foliage to brighten up corners and enough plants to improve the quality of your indoor and outdoor air. Contrary to what many think, gardening is a frugal joy and does not require expensive tools. Here are my most useful gardening implements which will not cost you much.
1. Gardening Gloves
I used to do gardening with my bare hands until the family doctor advised me to wear gloves to protect me from nasty worms—the parasitic ones and not the helpful earthworms. Gloves keep me from getting that icky feeling and also offer protection from broken glass or any sharp object that might be found in the compost soil that I am quite fond of using. I have bought myself a pair of gloves, used them religiously every time I garden and replaced them every time they get worn and torn.
Good gloves to choose are those which are made of rubber, are tough and stiff enough to offer protection and yet soft enough to not get in the way of your hand movements. Choose the best-fitting gloves by matching your hand against the size chart printed on the package. One problem with gloves is that they easily get brittle. My tip for that is to wash them with soap and cold water after use and hang them to drip dry in the shade and not under the sun. I hang my gloves upside down by means of a clothespin hanger, with each finger of the glove pinned by a clothespin at the tip, allowing the water to drip down.
2. Pail and bucket
Frugal me does not own any fancy watering pail, only the old-fashioned bucket and pail pair. I find that the bucket and pail system gives me a workout as I have to go back and forth from the artesian well to fetch water. I also find that I can water the roots much more easily with a bucket than with a watering can. You know that roots beneath the soil are really the ones that drink up all the water. The usual way of watering the whole plant may leave the leaves looking fresh, but really, the leaves do not need water. I water my plants only once a day, in the early morning when the sun is not yet up.
By poke I mean a stick or any pointy object which I use to poke holes in the soil. This way I can break up and aerate the soil and let my potted plants breathe. Poking also serves to loosen up the soil so that the roots can grow around much more easily within the pot. It really is an essential part of gardening. I poke once every week or two.
4. Mortar and pestle
You may be wondering how a mortar and pestle could be used in gardening, but it really is a handy tool for breaking up egg shell in pieces. Egg shells (those left from scrambled eggs or sunny-side-ups which are our usual breakfast fare) get pound to powder in my mortar and strewn in the soil of my potted plants. Egg shells make good fertilizer for plants. They contain calcium and many other minerals which promote plant growth. Best of all, they’re free.
I use ordinary scissors to trim dried leaves, wilted flower stalks and diseased portions off my plants. You wouldn’t believe how a simple trim would make your plants look like they just had a makeover. I do my trimming usually when I roam around my garden in the afternoon.
I find that a spray tucked away somewhere in my garden would come handy when watering epiphytes such as orchids, especially those which are high up on a tree trunk. A spray filled with water is best for quick watering at high noon and late afternoon.
Mulch is dried organic matter such as old sawdust, woodchips, twig and dried leaf clippings which can be strewn on top of the soil and around the plants. Mulching helps to keep the soil underneath from getting dry, to hold moisture and to later enrich the soil when the mulch decomposes. You can also add in pounded egg shells to the mix.
These handy-dandy gardening tools and implements may not be the standard tools in gardening but they work for me just fine. I keep them in a nifty basket somewhere in my garden and they’re ready to do me service anytime.
How about you? What are your favorite gardening tools?