Thursday, February 02, 2006

Tools and Toys for the Outdoor Gardener Limited on Space

By Christina VanGinkel

A bulb auger is simply an attachment that you use with your pre existing drill, usually 1/4" or larger. It is ideal to use in very dense soil where planting your bulbs may be difficult to do. It quickly and efficiently loosens the soil. Usually between eighteen and twenty-four inches long, it works for a variety of jobs besides planting bulbs, such as planting seedlings, perennial starts, making watering holes, and readying the plot for fertilizer. These are especially nice to have for small areas, where larger tools just will not fit.

Those who garden in small areas are often just as limited in the storage of their tools as they are actual space to garden, with even small essential tools not having a home to call their own. At the Yardiac store online, I discovered the perfect solution, a Master Gardener Tool Set, which includes a garden trowel, a stainless steel cultivator, and a transplant tool, all housed in their very own sleek, aluminum carrying case with brushed hardwood handles. Perfect for tucking beneath a kitchen sink, or in a hall closet, even on a shelf in the garage. It not only keeps the essentials all together, it keeps them out of the hands of small children or those who might otherwise want to use for them for non garden related chores.

Hose guides, decorative topped stakes that you push into the ground around the exterior of your planted space to keep the garden hose off the actual garden area actually work well for both small and large gardens, but in small gardens, they work especially well. Often times with small gardens, the hose may be brought out for other things besides watering, such as washing the car, watering the lawn, or attaching to a sprinkler for the children and whomever happens to be using it may not be paying attention to the garden. The hose guides will help keep that hose off the plants even when you are not there to protect it. They come in a variety of decorative tops, and work double duty as decorative touches when not being used to guide the hose away from all of your hard work.

A small trellis, one that is capable of doing double duty, such as one that is the back of a bench for example, is ideal for small gardens. They provide extra space to work with those types of plants that want a place to grow vertically. They add visually to the space, and are just plain fun to have. Small trellises are available in wood versions, plastic, coated metal, copper, and more. One in particular that I found to be ideal for very small spaces is a small metal rose trellis that goes right into a potted plant. Perfect for climbing rose species or any small climbing plant that you intend to keep potted. If you are limited to a small spot on the back patio for your garden for example, with no plants planted other than in pots, these are a great way to add to that space without doing anything to the patio itself.

If you always dreamed of having your own greenhouse, but you barely have room for your garden, do not despair, as they do make very useful, but small framed greenhouses that might be just what you are looking for. My sister-in-law wanted one, and only has a small space outside of her back door to commit to bother her garden itself and anything that goes along with this, her favorite hobby. She saw several small ones, but they were all made of fabric that she felt would not hold up long term. Then she found a mini leant to greenhouse. With a seven-year warranty, it was made of an easy to snap together UV resistant plastic frame covered with a twin wall polycarbonate glazing panels that retain heat well. It measured over six feet high, but was only two feet deep by four feet wide, perfect sized for placing right on her patio itself, right next to the small plot she uses for her garden.

If you are limited on the space you can commit to your garden, these are just a few example of the tools and toys that consider your limitations.

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