Handles Poking Out Makes them Easy to Grab
The Lineup – Daily Use
A Small Bag is Ideal for Container Gardening
You don’t need a lot of special tools for container gardening and light in-ground gardening. Last year my small daily gardening bag had what I needed for nearly every job. I had a second small bag for fertilizer (fish emulsion) and Bt powder (caterpillar control) which only gets used every few weeks.
When you live in the city and your balcony is exposed to the elements (aren’t they all?) or your backyard gate can’t be locked, keep your gardening tools inside so they are protected from the weather (they last longer) and don’t get stolen. A gardening bag keeps them in one place, reduces clutter, and keeps any dirt from your toils inside the bag and not loose in your home.
If it’s an attractive gardening bag, then you can hang it from a hook or set on an open shelf and have one less thing taking up valuable real estate in your limited storage space! Bonus.
I was cleaning out my daily gardening bag and thought I should pick a few up as gifts to friends since they were $2/pair when I got mine. Looking online, sadly, IKEA no longer sells them. Bummer. Seeing what IKEA Hacker has done with them made this news even worse.
So much for “DIY – The Perfect Gardening Bag for Starting Your Container Garden.” This is more of a “Winging It – Navigating Home Depot” for buying as little as possible. Here is what’s in my bag and perhaps should be in yours, especially if your local garden center both excites and frightens you with large displays of specialty tools:
The Lineup - Daily Use
If your container roster is all herbs and flowers -
1. Gardening shears/scissors (harvesting herbs/flowers and trimming plants)
2. Trowel* (mine is technically a transplant trowel which is narrower with a pointier nose – I only wanted one and this has proved to be multi-purpose)
3. Close-fitting gardening gloves (it is so much easier to get the dirt out from under your fingernails when it never gets there in the first place, plus you can just pull them off to quickly answer your phone or tend to a small child)
If your garden roster includes veggies or other plants that need caging/staking/trellising, add the following –
4. Plant ties or Velcro gardening tape (you can buy long gardening twist-ties but the Velcro gardening tape is pure magic, you cut what you need, re-use it for years and it is very multipurpose)
5. Gardening wire (I trained some vines with this but could do without it, actually)
6. Wire snips if you need the wire
If you garden in the ground (yard/tree box along the sidewalk/raised beds), consider adding -
7. A weed tool (these come in a variety of formats but it’s basically a little crowbar for pulling weeds – this thing makes your weed pulling every effective and efficient since it gets down and gets the roots up with an easy motion)
8. Sturdy gloves (perfect for spreading mulch, setting pavers, laying gravel, moving lumber, and preventing blisters from prolonged shovel/hoe/pick axe/rake use)
Miscellaneous but very handy -
9. Insect repellent (Herbal Armor works well for being inexpensive and widely available)
10. Gorilla Glue and/or super glue for repairing pots (generic dental floss works perfectly for tying a pot together while the glue sets)
11. Sidewalk chalk (I garden with a two-year-old, bubbles are a mess compared to sidewalk chalk)
12. (Not pictured) An old hand towel (not only for wiping your hands but also for wiping down your tools when done for the day)
*A note on hand tools: If you buy a tool brand new, spend a few extra bucks for the stainless steel tool. Period. The plastic ones break and the metal non-stainless ones rust immediately. The packaging will clearly state “stainless steel.”
Garage sales, craigslist, freecycle and thrift stores are all excellent sources for all manor of garden tools (and containers). Sometimes you just want to go to the store, get what you need and come home. If you’re on a budget or live in a small place, buy garden items as you need them, not as you see them.