Gardening, just like any worthwhile pursuit, requires work, and when we work in the garden, it can be a sweaty affair. Today let’s go over five favorite products to make our labor of love a little more lovely (especially on my lower back…):
- Spade Tipped Large Shovel. Spade tip shovels are pointy enough to cut through tough ground and roots but with a large enough head to transfer dirt efficiently. I tend to break the wooden handles on these guys with the clay soil we have in San Diego. The one I recommend is the True Tough Longhandle from Lowes. This beauty has a fiberglass handle with great grip and has taken the hardest loads I can deal out. Plus it’s got a great wide step to push in to the ground so you don’t slip off or hurt your feet.
- Multi-Use Hand Trowel. Hand trowels were always my least favorite tool because I wanted to use it for more things than just moving dirt from a bag to a pot. The one I’ve got now is a true renaissance tool…the Corona Hand Weeder can do it all! It’s called a weeder because it has a forked end on it and a great curve that helps you pry up the most stedfast weeds. It’s got a serrated edge that works great to open bags of soil and cut roots and even small branches. And it’s perfectly designed to transplant since it easily cuts through dirt and the curve helps lift the plants from the bottom.
- Strong Loppers. There’s a ton of options for cutting tools in the garden but if you’ve got a good set of loppers, you can tackle most tasks. I bought a pair of Corona’s heavy duty orchard loppers. Strong loppers are a great all around trimming tool. They cut through everything with ease and have withstood some of the thickest branch cuts on our old lilac tree.
- Pruning Saw. These guys come in handy for all the limbs that are too thick for those loppers. The best pruning saws cut in both directions–you cut as much when you pull as when you push. The best I’ve seen in the area are made by Florian and I got them at the Del Mar Fair (it will never be the San Diego County fair to me). These guys not only cut in both directions but they don’t get stuck when the saw bends a little. We used these this summer to fell a 50-foot tall macadamia nut tree. I prefer the non-folding kind: less parts to break!
- Hand Pruners. Hand pruners are the final tool I keep in my belt (I even have a folding one in my work bag for pruning on the go). I’ve got several pairs of these guys but the ones I like the most are Centurian’s Classic Pruners. They have a Titanium blade that holds its sharp edge forever and the locking mechanism seems to withstand even some occational rusting (Don’t let this happen! Clean and put away your tools!). The grip is nice and it has a sturdy construction that keeps the blades from bending.