Sunday, April 3, 2011

The right tools can make any gardening job easier

Taking the DIY approach to home decorating and gardening has many advantages. It gives me an opportunity to flex my creativity, to get some fresh air and, in many cases, it saves my family money. The drawback is that it takes more time. That’s never a good thing for a working mom.

So, when I run across an item that saves me time and money, I take notice.

My newest discovery is the Planter Pal from Ames True Temper. This nifty hand-held tool offers seven gardening and planting functions in one: a chrome-plated steel trowel/transplant blade for planting; a serrated edge for cutting open bags of mulch/soil; a sharpened straight edge for cutting sod; a twine cutter; a weeding tip; a poly tamper for tamping down stakes, markers and fertilizer spikes; and a 11-inch measurement scale for proper plant placement. Oh, and it’s ergonomically correct (poly grip is comfortable and easy to use) and inexpensive (less than $10).

Another product that saves time is the Water Genie ($19.99), also by Ames. This lightweight watering can, which resembles a long-neck goose, has a 40-foot-long, retractable hose coiled inside of it. Just attach the end to the spigot and off you go watering the plants like you would with a can, except this one never needs refilling. It also eliminates the inconvenience of unraveling and untangling the hose, which makes this long-necked watering goose worth a gander.

Since we’re on the topic of saving time, here are five gardening tips from the experts who make products such as these possible:
1. Get yourself organized before you start a project. A great deal of time is wasted when you can’t find a tool that you need or re-purchase one you already have.

2. Have a plan in place. If you’re looking to add new plants or a fountain to an existing flowerbed, first draw a layout of what you imagine it will look like.

3. Whenever possible, use multipurpose tools.

4. Instead of wasting time weeding all summer, take the initiative to add preventative landscape fabric between the mulch and ground to prevent weeds from cropping up.

5. Use your time wisely. Teach your children the benefits of gardening. It will enrich their lives and the more helping hands you have, the easier it will be to get the job done.
Both the Planter Pal and Genie Watering Can are sold online at www.ames.com and home and gardening warehouses such as Home Depot.

Send your comments or home and garden tips to Gina Joseph, The Macomb Daily, 100 Macomb Daily Drive, Mount Clemens, MI 48043, or email them to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com.

Today's Muse
Spade!  with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands,
And shaped these pleasant walks by Emont's side,
Thou art a tool of honor in my hands,
I press thee, through a yielding soil, with pride -- William Wordsworth

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