Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Weekly Weeder: Gardening tools you might not think of

          There are things a professional gardener learns that make the job easier, tools you might not think of as gardening tools.  For instance, one thing I cannot do without is a box cooler that doubles as a weeding seat: the Igloo “Island Breeze” cooler.  If I have a lot of weeds to deal with in one area, I can sit on it rather than bending from the waist, squatting, or kneeling.  I just lift my butt to scoot it along as I work.  It holds two quart Gatorade or juice bottles full of my drinks, and a couple of sandwiches as well, so I am rarely far from either. 
          Another item that comes in very handy is a large black planting pot for putting weeds in.  It is easy to move along as I fill it with weeds and easy to dump into my truck or a yard waste bin. 
I used to use a wheelbarrow for this purpose, but had to get up and move it to keep it within reach.  I still use it for weeds in some situations.  But I would never use it for weeds without a cloth liner to easily empty it.  This cloth also comes in handy to keep an area clean when I am potting; shaking the dirt out of grass clumps; or to put dirt on while digging a hole, which makes it possible to get all of the soil back in the hole.
These wheelbarrow liners are cut from larger truck cloths that have started to get holes in them.  I buy whole bolts of cheap, strong polyester cloth at Walmart to line my truck bed and cover my load.  This makes it easy to empty a load of weeds by pulling out the whole load with the cloth, and to empty most of the last of a load of compost, bark, soil or gravel by pulling up the front corners and bringing it to the tailgate for emptying into a wheelbarrow, sweeping the rest out with a broom. When unloading, my wheelbarrow sits on the load cover cloth, weighted down with rocks when it’s windy, to keep the material off the ground and make it easy to clean up.
Last, because it is not at all least, is a small tool belt with loops or tight pockets for my scissors, and larger pockets for my radio and trash.   I started wearing a work belt when I worked at Lynn’s Nursery, before I started my gardening business, to carry my gloves and hand pruners.  I didn’t get into the habit of picking up litter until two years into my business, because my first customer was litter challenged and I finally realized that picking up litter, and later dog waste, was part of my job: doing anything my customer doesn’t see or get around to.   Gardening isn’t just killing and growing plants; it is keeping order outdoors.
Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener          541-955-9040