2015 Master Gardener Gardening Gadget Gift Guide

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2015 Master Gardener Gardening Gadget Gift Guide
2015 Master Gardener
Gardening Gadget Gift Guide
When it comes to garden tools and gadgets,
Master Gardeners know what works!
Whether you’re looking
for the perfect gift for a
gardening friend, or
building your own wishlist of gardening musthaves, you’re sure to find
some great ideas among
these recommendations
From Master Gardeners
across the state.
2015 Master Gardener
Gardening Gadget Gift Guide
From hand tools to yard tools and beyond, the ideas shared in this 2015 Master
Gardener Gardening Gift Guide will help make gardening easier and more fun for
you and for your gardening friends.
I cannot
function without my
pruning shears. I even keep
a pair in the car so that if I
see an interesting plant, I
can take a snip of it.
~ Carole
Dramm 18016
Florian 701
Fiskars 9124
$35
$20
$50
$10
Felco F2
$35
Wiss Shears
$50
Fiskars PowerGear2
$25
A good set of pruners (or two or three) are essential equipment for any gardener. When choosing
pruners, quality is important. Look for pruners with strong steel blades; softer blades will dull quickly,
making pruning difficult and more damaging to the plant. Look for models with adjustable tightness;
keeping blades closely aligned will allow you to make cleaner, easier cuts. A strong spring is also
important; strong spring action to push the blades open after each cut will reduce effort and hand
fatigue. For most applications, bypass pruners are preferable to anvil pruners, as they slice through
stems rather than crushing them. Pruners are available in a variety of grip sizes and ergonomic designs;
choose a model that fits comfortably in your hand.
These are some of our favorite models:
• Felco F2: A high quality pruner with replaceable parts. These pruners should last a lifetime.
• Fiskars 9124: A quality affordable pruner that can be adjusted to fit your hand strength.
• Dramm 18016: Great for small cuts, such as deadheading. Comes in several bright colors.
• Florian 701: A durable pruner with ratchet action to increase hand strength by up to 700%.
• Fiskars PowerGear2: An ergonomic rolling handle combined with ratchet action is great when
you’ve got lots of cutting to do.
Not a pruner, but handy for all sorts of garden cutting, are Wiss Heavy-Duty Shears. Donna Nelson says,
“my first pair was picked up when I worked in local shoe factories as a teenager; I keep an eye out for
them at yard sales, and rotate those I have so that I always have a sharp pair. PERFECT for pruning,
trimming, shaping plants and greenwood, even slender hardwood. They reach into dense, delicate
foliage such as thymes better than anything else I've ever tried. I wear carpenter pants all summer
because I like them at hand whenever I'm working outside and they fit snugly in that little side
pocket...” Available online at www.universalsewing.com
Fiskars PowerGear2 32 inch lopper
$40
The ratcheting function of
these loppers adds a lot of
power to the cut, which my
aging muscles appreciate!
~ Rick
When cutting stems 1-2” in diameter, loppers are the tool you’ll need. As with pruners, look for high
quality bypass loppers with hardened steel blades and adjustable tension. Ratcheting loppers will
provide more power with less effort.
This kneeler board is far better
than any I’ve found for
gardening. The sturdy back,
padded top, and convenient
handles make it my go-to tool.
- Amy
$5
$10
A concrete mixing tub is the
best tub for transplanting,
seed starting, or planting into
pots. Much better than
buckets, especially if you are
trying not to make a mess.
- Jacqueline
Some of the best garden tools are not necessarily designed for use in the garden. Stop by the home
improvement store for some must-have items.
Look in the concrete section for this durable kneeler board. The hard plastic bottom spreads your
weight to minimize soil compaction and protects your knees from any sharp rocks or stems. The rubber
pad and sturdy handles also make this a handy tray for carrying supplies from one area of the garden to
the next.
Also from the cement section, is this low-cost heavy duty PVC tub. It holds 10 gallons and weighs
under 2.5 pounds. Use it to contain your mess when mixing soil and filling pots.
These ball bungees are
extremely helpful if you
are doing any type of
small project.
~ Judy
$10
$100
My favorite garden tool is a reciprocating
saw. Aside from cutting tree branches, the
GREATEST use I have found for it
is separating perennials (lillies, hosta, etc). I
use it to cut clumps after I have dug them out
of the ground. When thinning clumps, I cut
the clump while still in the ground, then use
a fork/shovel to dig out the pieces I want.
~ Nancy
Also from the home improvement store…
Ball bungees come in various sizes. You can pick up a pack of 25 for around $10. Judy Von Feldt says
“These bungee cords are extremely helpful if you are doing any type of small project. For instance, I use
them to hold a tarp on a chicken coop year round and in the winter we also use them to hold plastic on
the coop. In the spring you just release the ball, the plastic comes down, and you store the bungees.
You can hold fencing together or some temporary project you are working on.”
A reciprocating saw is another useful tool for the garden. Nancy Heath says, “I use my husband's
which is a Craftsman cordless. I use 12" wood blades and a 19.2v battery.”
This inexpensive liner, for
any five gallon bucket, is a
great way to organize your
hand tools. It works great.
~ Judy
$3
$7
$10
$5
$5
And while you’re at the hardware store, you may want to pick up some buckets and bucket-accessories.
Having a few standard 5-gallon buckets on hand is a good idea – the uses are endless.
• A Bucket Buddy or other bucket organizer keeps your hand tools and supplies tidy and accessible.
• Plastic inserts, such as the BucketBoss products, can be used to keep small items handy. Consider
designating a bucket for carrying in your vegetable harvest – larger produce (tomatoes and
cucumbers) in the bottom, smaller produce (cherry tomatoes, pea pods) in the insert.
• A bucket lid with storage and a seat-top can really expand the potential uses of your standard
bucket.
$25
I'm a kneel-in-the-dirtweeder, and the CobraHead
Weeder is the tool I use all
the time. My spouse and I
used to vie for it when we
were both gardening, so now
we own two.
~ Christy
The EZ Digger is the tool I cannot do
without. The curved blade makes
digging a fluid and natural motion.
It’s sharp to cut through roots,
pointed to break up tough soil, and
narrow to fit into tight spaces.
~ Roberta
$25
Every gardener has their favorite hand tool. Here are some of our favorites:
The CobraHead Weeder. This tool is strong, sharp, and great for getting into tight spaces. Use it for
digging, pulling weeds, breaking up soil…
The Korean hand plow, also known as the EZ Digger or Ho-Mi (which means “little ground spear”) has
an ergonomic shape and sharp blade which make it an excellent tool for digging, weeding, loosing soil,
and more.
My husband gave me a
Hori Hori Garden Knife
for Christmas last year.
It is awesome.
~ Dawn
$35
$30
This right angle trowel is
great when transplanting.
Easy on the wrist and
allows you to transplant
seedlings at lightning
speed with ease.
~ David
The Hori Hori Garden Knife is a versatile tool for digging and cutting. Use it as a trowel to dig and use
the sharp serrated edge to cut through roots, divide perennials, or slice open a bag of mulch. It even
has a ruler imprinted on the blade to measure planting depth or spacing.
The Right Angle Trowel is available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine. As David Kiley
says, “Not cheap at $35.95 each, but the quality is unbelievable. I like it so much, I bought a couple
extras in case they ever discontinued them, but I've been using the same one now for 15+ years. I'll
probably never use one of the extras unless I lose the first one.”
$50
$45
I can't live
without
my fork.
I just removed the
peskiest Siberian
irises with ease,
after fighting with
them for 2 years.
~ Melody
The ‘clam rake’: This tool is
indispensable for prying weeds out
of the ground, pulling
hay/mulch/all sorts of stuff out
of the truck, spreading mulch
and so forth and so on. I’ve
been doing a lot less
bending over since
I’ve brought this
tool back from
the sea.
~ Ann
I use many tools in
the garden, but my
favorite is the Ames
54in. Wood Handle
Action Hoe.
~ Susan
$20
A quality garden fork is an essential tool for many gardeners. Quality is important, as garden forks are
often used for tough jobs requiring a lot of force. Look for models with foraged steel prongs. Avoid
models with weak connections between the prongs and the handle.
An Action Hoe, also known as the Hula Hoe, makes easy work of cutting small weeds at the root. Just
push the hoe back and forth through the soil to dislodge all those little weed seedlings. It comes in
several sizes, and even in a small hand-tool design. Look for models with a strong connection between
the head and the handle.
$50
$45
I can't live
without
my fork.
I just removed the
peskiest Siberian
irises with ease,
after fighting with
them for 2 years.
~ Melody
The ‘clam rake’: This tool is
indispensable for prying weeds out
of the ground, pulling
hay/mulch/all sorts of stuff out
of the truck, spreading mulch
and so forth and so on. I’ve
been doing a lot less
bending over since
I’ve brought this
tool back from
the sea.
~ Ann
I use many tools in
the garden, but my
favorite is the Ames
54in. Wood Handle
Action Hoe.
~ Susan
$20
Ann Eldridge writes, “My favorite tool as I’ve gotten older has become what my family (from Cape Cod)
knew as a long- handled ‘clam rake’. This far inland, they seem to be known as a potato rake. Perhaps
rather like Odysseus who was instructed at one point to walk inland with an oar from his boat until he
came to a people who mistook the oar for a winnowing rake, the clam rake came inland and found
other uses. I may well be wrong about the Odysseus reference, but it went something like that.
Anyway, I find that this tool is indispensable for prying weeds out of the ground, pulling hay/mulch/all
sorts of stuff out of the truck, spreading mulch and so forth and so on. It is a little too pointy, to my
mind, for use in digging potatoes, but this too, is possible. I’ve been doing a lot less bending over since
I’ve brought this tool back from the sea.”
The BackSaver Grip is a backsaver, for sure! Simple, inexpensive,
and highly recommended.
~ Denise
$12
To make rakes and hoes easier to use, the BackSaver Grip is a great modification. This removable grip
allows more leverage without bending over.
I LOVE my Groundskeeper II
rake. It is the best rake I
have ever owned and
everyone else that
tries it agrees.
~ Kim
$35
The Groundskeeper II rake is a powerful, yet lightweight tool, ideal for raking leaves, sticks, and other
debris. The tines are spring-loaded, allowing the rake to dig in without a lot of downward pressure. This
rake is very lightweight (just 2 lbs) and durable with a fiberglass handle and a strong break-proof
polymer head. Available with 9” and 21” heads.
Kim Espinosa writes, “I LOVE my Groundskeeper II rake. It is the best rake I have ever owned and
everyone else that tries it agrees. The tines of the rake are even replaceable, but I have never needed
to replace one in five years.”
$40
$10
small
large
The Kangaroo Garden Bag holds
a lot when in use, fits easily into
the back of a car, and saves space
when folded up for storage.
~ Christy
To collect all those weeds you’ve dug and the debris you’ve raked, the Kangaroo Garden Bag is great to
have on hand. This bag, and other similar brands, are available in several sizes to fit your needs. Many
have rigid bottoms and zipper lids (great for those times when you need to carry away debris in your
car!)
EZ Tarp Tugger
$15
Bosmere
Handled
Tarp
$15
For larger raking jobs, the EZ Tarp Tugger can make loading and hauling leaves much easier. The set of
two handles simply clip onto the corners of any standard tarp using the included carabiners. Attached
stakes hold the tarp in place while you rake the leaves on. Then, pull the stakes from the ground, and
pull the tarp to the compost pile. Tarps with built-in handles are also available in several sizes.
Atlas Nitrile
Garden Gloves…
$16
4-pack
The BEST!!!
~ Christy
A good set of gardening gloves is essential for safety and comfort. These Atlas Nitrile Garden Gloves are
a favorite of many gardeners. They are durable, lightweight, and washable, but best of all, they are not
bulky! They fit like skin so you can pull weeds and do fine gardening work without your gloves getting in
the way. And they come in fun colors, too!
This garden tractor
seat is a heavy duty
piece of equipment. It
is built like a tank.
I'd highly recommend it.
~ Judy
$90
For sitting down on the gardening job, this cart/seat is great. It has heavy duty pneumatic tires, a
swiveling adjustable seat, and a 400 pound capacity.
“About six years ago, I purchased this garden tractor seat from Gardeners Supply, and it is a heavy
duty piece of equipment. The seat can be lowered or raised which helps depending upon what you are
doing. I also put a five gallon bucket with a tool liner in the round space and I can sit while I dead head
and I have all my tools right there. It is built like a tank, and I'd highly recommend it.” – Judy Von Feldt
$15
In the spring or any
time I have a lot of small
branches to pick up, I
use this Nifty Nabber so
I don't have to keep
bending down. I can
then work for a long
time without back pain.
~ Judy
Another great tool for those gardeners who benefit from reduced bending, is the Nifty Nabber. It has a
magnetic tip with rubber grips and a 360-degree rotating head. This lightweight tool opens its grip to
5” to grab even large items from the ground.
The Bucket Buddy cart.
One bucket for tools, one
bucket for weeds.
~ Marion
$40
If you like the idea of carrying your tool bucket on a cart, but don’t need the tractor seat, the Bucket
Buddy cart may be for you. This cart securely holds two 5-gallon buckets and is easily wheeled around,
even over rough terrain.
The Dustin-Mizer is a hand
powered dust applicator. It's
great for IPM and makes
applying things like
diatomaceous earth a
breeze!
~ Anthony
$40
The Dustin-mizer is a hand powered dust applicator, designed to easily apply a uniform fog of dust, even
in tight locations and to the undersides of leaves. This tool is ideal for applying diatomaceous earth (a
silica-based mineral powder used for organic pest control).
APS seed starting system. My
favorite sizes are 12 and 24.
You will have the best looking
seed starts from these systems.
~ Jacqueline
Perfect for spring seed starting. The APS seed starting system is a self-watering seed tray. Simply fill the
reservoir with water every few days, and a capillary mat delivers water to the growing seedlings as they
need it. The pieces are all reusable, and several sizes are available.
Thank you to all who contributed to the
2015 Master Gardener
Gardening Gadget Gift Guide
 Christy Belvin, Hillsborough County
 Ruth Axelrod, Merrimack County
 Anthony Mussari, Strafford County
 Melody Healy, Carroll County
 Judy Von Feldt, Strafford County
 Kim Espinosa, Carroll County
 Betsy Fazio, Merrimack County
 Susan Klingerman, Belknap County
 Jacqueline Bruhn, Strafford County
 Ann Eldridge, Merrimack County
 Carole Stabile, Carroll County
 Derrick LaBranche, Merrimack County
 Dawn Lemieux, Grafton County
 Donna Nelson, Strafford County
 Nancy Heath, Merrimack County
 David Kiley, Hillsborough County