Lazy Gal’s Garden Guide – Part 2
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Last week we got started on a gardening series here at Flower Patch.
If you missed Part 1 then click on over if you wish to start at the beginning. If you click on over it opens in a new page so you won’t lose your place here.
Basically I covered why and how you would start in the Fall on your beautiful new garden.
Two main points were how to build your soil for a great Spring and to start small.
This week we will continue with…
#3 Good Tools will be a Lifesaver
Great tools go a long way in helping to make your gardening experience much easier. I have a few favorites that get used time and time again.
My very favorite is my Hoedag
This tool is so versatile, I dig, plant, break up hard dirt and weed with this little baby.
I first found this tool at a large garden show in Boise, Idaho. Actually I should say that a friend I was with there told me about it and we hunted down the booth selling them.
I met the man who makes them out of his workshop in Northern Idaho. He takes great pride in the quality and workmanship, and I like knowing I am supporting a small business that cares about quality.
I have owned, used and abused this tool for 6 years and it is still sturdy and strong! The handle isn’t splintering, nothing is loosening, and the blade is still sharp.
It is so well made that I know it will last for years to come but I am getting myself a second one to have as an extra.
Good gloves are a must for me. Many don’t like using gloves, saying it hinders their dexterity and I used to think that way too. But something changed my mind overnight.
When I lived in the San Joaquin Valley I had a neighbor who came down with Lockjaw (tetanus) and ended up in the hospital for a very long time. It really did a number on her…do you know how she got it?
She didn’t step on a rusty nail or anything like that.
She cut her hand on a walnut shell while gardening and working in the dirt. The open wound allowed the bacteria that causes it to enter her system. Tetanus can be prevalent where animal manures are present and even in just common dirt. She lived on a walnut orchard but past owners had had dairy cows on that property.
The Doctors told her to always wear gloves and shoes when working with soils, composts and animal manures. After seeing what she went through for over a year to recover, I always wear gloves. They also warned her that tetanus is not the only bacteria present in soils that can cause illness. Good soil is full of organisms, a lot of good and some bad so it is wise to take precautions.
The photo above shows more tools in my repertoire. The little hoe is from a set of AMES childrens garden tools. These are not toys but very sturdy child sized tools. I have the set of shovel, rake and hoe. The link is to the shovel, I could not find it as a set anymore.
I use the shovel the most, I use it more than I do a regular size shovel. It is easy to get in between plants to dig up something, takes smaller chunks which are lighter therefore saves my back and is just a handy size all the way around. I have read that the manufacturer has discontinued making these so I need to order another one soon to have a spare.
A good pair of bypass Pruners…the one in the photo above is my old Fiskars which I have had for over 8 years now. I carry them with me whenever I am in the garden, I think I saw you can get a holster for them which would make it easier to carry when I am carting around my morning coffee while touring the garden.
The green foam cushion is a knee saver. Little stones, sticks and other garden stuff can really dig in when your kneeling and it helps when your aging knees just can’t take your body weight that well. They come in narrower sizes but I like this size the best.
One precautionary note, don’t leave it outside, cats seem to love to leave their mark on these and the smell is impossible to remove. Also leaving them out in the weather causes them to deteriorate which in turn means it will leave green color on your skin or clothes. It does wash out but it is a bother.
I have a few other tools but I will mention those later on, the tools I shared today are my everyday ones in the garden thus my most important.
#4 Choose Plants that Thrive in your Area
How do you find out what thrives in your area?? Visit fellow gardeners who have had success. Look up a local garden club, many times they will have an annual garden tour of homes with fabulous gardens in the area and you can get ideas.
Visit local garden centers, not big box stores but real garden centers and nurseries with knowledgeable people running the place.
Learn what your zone is so you can avoid wasting money on any plant that absolutely couldn’t survive in your garden.
Observe your garden space through the season so you can note how much direct sun an area gets. This could help determine what plants will do better than others. Some do best with 6 or more hours of sun a day, some like morning sun but afternoon shade and some need a lot of shade.
Being we get cold, snowy winters I could not even dream of having Bougainvillea thrive in my garden, though I do love it, trying to grow it would be just a plain waste of time and money here.
If there is a plant you love but find you cannot grow it because of your Zone then try to find one similar that will.
For example, I love roses of all kinds but Hybrid Teas just will not thrive here where I live.
Now many heirloom and English roses do fantastic for me. I always make sure to get own root roses instead of grafted.
The reason being if we have an early hard freeze (been known to happen) before the roses have gone dormant, it can kill the rose to the ground. Come Spring the roots will have survived and the rose will return true to form, it may take a year or two before it will be back to its former glory but it will return. Grafted roses will return but it will be the root stock (many times Dr. Huey) and not the rose you had fallen in love with.
David Austins website now offers many of their varieties on their Own Roots and Heirloom roses have a great selection too.
Do you have a favorite tool for the garden? Or a plant that performs well? Please do share. I love learning about new garden things. Remember it was a friend that told me about the Hoedag and now it is my all time favorite garden tool.
Remember growing a fabulous garden is not hard. Just take it one little step at a time and it will all come together.
A garden read that I have enjoyed is Ruth Stouts No Work Garden book. It is out of print now but you can buy it used or check your local library. She is a hoot and my garden inspiration. She had me at “no work”.
Now I am reading another by her called Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, The Busy & The Indolent.
Happy Garden Planning!
I hope you enjoyed our second installment of The Lazy Gal’s Garden Guide for Part 3 of the Lazy Gal’s Garden Guide CLICK HERE.
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