If you like geeking out on garden gadgets, then you might enjoy perusing some of our favorites. These top tools are items we use regularly… including one plant we’re actually using as a tool and more! Please let us know your faves and we’ll add them to this list (or a new one; as this grows we’ll need to divide this cluster up 😊).
Pest Repellents, Deterrents and Safety
Motion Activated Sprinkler Deer and Squirrel Repellent
This is our top tool for repelling furry critters from our gardens! We have the Hoontz Water Jet Blaster Animal Repeller. It took 15-20 minutes to set up, which just entailed running the hose and mounting it on a post. This works very well at keeping away dogs, cats, squirrels and deer.
An added bonus with this garden pest deterrent is that it also sprays the plants a little each time it’s activated. We had a couple sections where the squirrels found a dry pathway to our tomatoes the summer before, so we’ve adding another motion activated sprinkler to close that gap.
Now we have two in our lower garden and just one in the upper garden to help keep deer away. Squirrels haven’t yet been a menace there as the trees aren’t as close in the lower garden where they’re all around.
Motion Activated Trail Camera
A top tool for security and nature interest, we use trail cams with infrared night vision to get snapshots of wildlife. If you have predators preying on your plants and other measures haven’t worked, to capture the marauders on camera could help you better identify the culprits and determine the next best plan of action.
These allowed us to see what was mauling our garbage—and how. An entertaining episode of Little Rascals starring our resident Raccoons!
We’ve also gotten great shots of turkey, fox, coyotes, deer and a bird facing off with the camera!
NEXT: a few tools we keep in a pocket or nearby, ever ready to put to good use. Btw… we keep these everyday tools in a mailbox right in the garden. Very handy and you can paint them to fit in with your garden decor.
Angry Birds Caught on Trail Cam
(Sort of). It’s a very fast and glancing blow, but it’s cool to watch and you can click your back arrow on your keyboard to see the bird greet the camera again.
Digital Garden Tools
Even non-techies can use these digital tech garden tools. For the garden planner, you’ll just need to be able to download it to your computer, but it’s not hard to learn if you use a computer regularly. The next one… the digital thermometer is super simple.
Digital Laser Thermometer Temperature Gun
The digital temperature gun we’re using and really enjoying for keeping a close eye on the temps of our beds—especially in spring and fall—is this Etekcity Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer.
The tomato seedlings do best in beds not below 55 degrees, so this helps us get a quick shot on the bed to determine if they need a cover.1)https://gardensall.com/earliest-spring-vegetables-to-sow/2)https://gardensall.com/winter-is-over-april-fools/
Garden Planner Pro App
Another favorite app which we’ve been using for several years now—and still love it—is the Garden Planner Pro. It’s easy to learn, fun to use and makes planning and tweaking your garden plans, planting times, companion plants, etc., super easy!
We’ve written more about this in another article where you can see our garden schematic, and even a video tutorial. (We’re have no affiliation with this one… just love the tool, so wanted to share it with you).
Favorite Garden Hand Tools
These favorite low tech tools never never go out of style!
No Blister Trowel – with it’s smooth handle and ergonomic design, it truly is a better, no-blister trowel. No garden—or gardener—is complete without a hand trowel!… and some pruners!
Garden Pruners & Holster
Felco #2 Pruners – quality, strong, great grip and cut, and replaceable parts.
I’ve had my Felco pruners for YEARS and keep it on my belt in a handy holster.
I have a Corona holster, but Felco has their version and their ‘910 pruner holster’ fits the Felco F-2 pruners.
Most holsters will work for most pruners. Just beware of buying the holsters that taper too much to a ‘V’ point unless it’s the same brand holster as your trowel, or it may not fit, since some pruners are shaped in different angles.
Multi Tool Pocket Knife – Keychain Mini Knife
The Leatherman Micra – I love this pocket knife!
The mini multitool has: a great pair of scissors, a sharp cutting blade and several other handy features.
The scissors are great for thinning seedlings, cutting twine, and seed packets. And it all folds neatly and unobtrusively in the pants pocket.
The Leatherman Micra also comes in all kinds of colors now so that each member of your family can have one without someone claiming that theirs is yours. (Not saying that’s happened at our house… 😉)
So this simple tool is a fun idea that can also serve as whimsical garden decor. As indicated earlier, we keep our everyday garden hand tools in a handy “garden mailbox”.
Ours is badly in need of a new paint job, but it used to have painted flowers on it and when those faded from the sun, we added a magnetic mailbox cover. Now it needs another facelift. Maybe good for a nice fall day when we have some time.
If you want to paint your own, you might go for a plain white mailbox. We’d love to but don’t have time for that now, so we just ordered this decorative mailbox cover you see above. We’ll post a new photo once it’s covering up this old one. (Wish we could get a facelift as easily)! 😄
But there are so many beautiful mailbox covers, so you can see a bunch in this Amazon search result.
Bigger Garden Tools
Gorilla Garden Cart
Yep! It gets the job done, and you know it’s used for everything!
Ours was yellow. The yellow version looked great the first year, but well… dirt and yellow!
So we recommend the BLACK Gorilla cart. It will last and better hide it’s scars, mars and stains. But we still love ours… it’s proof that it’s a workhorse used for everything.
Seasonal Garden Tools
Row Covers to Protect Plants from Frost
Oh! Also, Easy Tunnel Fleece Row Covers – we’re really like the simplicity, flexibility and effectiveness of these Easy Tunnels, and can definitely recommend them.
The Easy Tunnels are best for smaller gardens as they come with handy hoops ready to spring into place right out of the box.
For larger areas, you can buy the fabric and drape it over your own row cover support system. We’ve made supports using either PVC or bamboo, jute twine and anchoring with landscape staples.
Homemade Row Cover Supports – we’ve made row cover supports using:
- Jute twine
- Landscape staples for anchoring
The row cover with hoops built in is easier to set up initially, but you’ll pay a little more for the hoops and cloth engineering process. Or, you can just buy the fabric and drape it yourself.
We’re also using the black shade cloth with good effect, and surprised that it’s not too hot.
Before choosing the cheapest options always remember to consider the value of your time and whether it’s going to cost you more in time to make.
AND… this favorite “tool”.
Black Bamboo – The Plant that’s also a Tool
Years ago we planted bamboo, and now we have a small grove. It hasn’t overtaken us, even though we’ve heard it can, and it was planted over 20 years ago. But we use it for all kinds of things. First, it serves as a living “fence” to keep some of our gardening and construction “eyesores” shielded from the road view.
To keep bamboo from spreading, you can plant “clumping bamboo”.
The other way to keep bamboo from spreading is to order the plants or seed of clumping bamboo, a non-spreading variety.
In the garden, we’ve used them for stakes, bean pole teepees, light fencing, such as a pet barrier, fabric tent supports, trellis, and even a planting tool, (a straight section pressed into the soil makes a perfect channel to receive seeds and the end of the pole can make right sized holes to drop in seeds).
So, if you want to try it but are concerned about it spreading, choose the clumping bamboo varieties. Our non-clumping bamboo has been growing for over 10 years now and this is the first season where we’re seeing lots more odd bamboo sprouts shoot up feet away from the major bamboo grove.
We planted a blend of bamboo, some lighter and some black bamboo. You can probably find better prices at your local nursery for established plants such as this 2-3′ tall black bamboo from Amazon. Of course seeds are much cheaper too, but you have to wait a couple years before the bamboo is tall and strong enough to start using it.
Okay! That’s a wrap for now… we have more favorites to add, but the garden beckons… gotta go catch some garden pests and water the garden.
We’d love to have you join in the conversation on our Facebook page and tell us your favorite gardening tools or equipment… tips and hacks.
G. Coleman Alderson is an entrepreneur, land manager, investor, gardener, and author of the novel, Mountain Whispers: Days Without Sun. Coleman holds an MS from Penn State where his thesis centered on horticulture, park planning, design, and maintenance. He’s a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and a licensed building contractor for 27 years. “But nothing surpasses my 40 years of lessons from the field and garden. And in the garden, as in life, it’s always interesting because those lessons never end!” Coleman Alderson
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