If there's anything that garden lovers enjoy almost as much as plants,
then it's finding new garden tools and gadgets.
Today, I'll feature some products that might make your time outdoors
less arduous and more enjoyable. Cheryl and I are already using some
of them around our own landscape or at the nursery. Maybe one or two
will be just what you've been looking for!
Tractor Seat on Wheels
Well, the name of this one says it all: it's a tractor seat on wheels.
This has become one of our favorite products because it saves all that
wear and tear on our knees and backs. Now if there's a job that would
normally require squatting, stooping or kneeling, we pull this guy out
of the barn and off we go.
The tractor seat rotates 360 degrees and there's a garden caddy tray
underneath it that holds hand tools and gloves, etc. It looks so funky
with its big ol' 8 inch wheels that your kids might actually volunteer
to weed the flower beds. Or maybe not.
If you can't find a product I mention here, drop me an e-mail and I'll
try to help.
Flat Stack self winding hose
If you hate untangling a knotted pile of garden hose or if you're
tired of winding it back onto its storage reel when you're through
watering, this might be what you need. It's a 50 foot, half-inch hose
that stretches out for use like a regular hose then simply retracts
itself back into a perfect pancake-shaped circle when you've finished
It's a bit more expensive than a "normal" hose, but you won't need a
hose reel and it might save you a lot of sweat and under-the-breath
cursing. The Flat Stack is UV and weather-resistant and should last
years longer than those leaky cheapo hoses most of us have lurking
somewhere in the garage.
Rain Bird Time-Release Water We haven't tried this one yet but it
certainly looks useful. Essentially, it's water bound in the form of a
solid gel that slowly converts back into water over time, sending
water and nutrients from the soil to a plant's roots over a period of
30 days or more.
Time-Release Water comes in plastic packages that are the size and
shape of a 12 ounce tube of bulk sausage. Slit the "sausage," lay it
cut-side down on moist soil next to the plant stem, cover with some
topsoil and it will gradually release the water that is suspended in
It costs around $1.99 per 9 oz tube and is available at most home and
garden centers. If you are planning to go on vacation this summer, a
few of these around your shrubs or in your container gardens might
relieve you of water worries while you're away.
Black & Decker Cordless Cultivator If you hate weeding or turning over
soil in flowerbeds with a shovel or a hoe, this could be the tool
you're looking for. Don't confuse it with a rotary tiller. It isn't
intended to cut through hard-packed sod. But it's a good option if you
need to loosen dirt for planting, aerate soil or get in and around
plants without damaging them while getting at the roots of most
Because it's cordless, it can go anywhere, using the same
interchangeable 18V power pack that drives several other Black &
Decker cordless power tools.
Liquid Net Insect Repellent
Cheryl and I have tried just about every spray and lotion on the
market. The ones with DEET are effective, but that's a chemical that
can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked to neurological
damage. We came across Liquid Net and we use it because it's DEET-
free, safe for children, has all-natural ingredients and it actually
smells pretty good.
There's even a version called Liquid Net for Pets that repels ticks
and fleas without any harmful or dangerous chemicals.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs
and landscaping to firstname.lastname@example.org and for resources and
additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed
newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org