Tools and Equipment - April Gardening

  • Buy a hose-end shut-off valve; these are available separately or as part of a watering wand. This allows you to turn off the hose as you move around the yard. Also, when you are through watering, you can shut off the water immediately, rather than let the hose run while you hurry to turn off the main spigot.
  • If a wooden handle breaks off of a good-quality tool, look for a replacement handle. It probably will be less expensive than a new tool. However, metal parts are usually very costly to repair.
  • If you take your own tools to work with in community gardens,you can "brand" wood-handled tools for quick identification. Paint your initials on the wood with nail polish then immediately ignite it. Repeat to make the marks deeper, if needed.
  • A "little, red wagon" can be useful for moving fertilizer,tools, or other supplies to the garden. You'll appreciate its stability compared to a wheel-barrow.
  • In a cutting garden, support stems of tall plants, such as gladiolus, with chicken wire. While the plants are small, unroll the wire to the length and width of the bed and stake it 1 footabove the soil, horizontal to the ground. The stems will grow up through the holes and support the flowers without toppling over. Setting up this support is easier than staking each plant, and you can cut blossoms more selectively.
  • Measure the rainfall with a rain gauge posted near the garden so you can tell when to water. You can buy one, or make one by sinking a can part way into the ground and marking off its interior in inches. The garden needs about one inch of rain per week from April to September.
  • Ice cream scoops are great to dig holes of uniform size when setting out transplants, and the dirt slides right off when you release the handle.
  • When raising and transplanting seedlings in the house or greenhouse, an ordinary table fork is an ideal transplanting tool. You can loosen the plants in the seed flat without damaging the roots. Then you can open a hole for the new transplant in the new flat or pot by rocking it sideways. Finally, by sliding thetines around the delicate stem and pressing down, the transplantcan be firmed in the growing medium.
Gardening is an exercise in optimism.
Sometimes, it is a triumph of hope over experience.
- Marina Schinz   ... more gardening quotes

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