A GROWING CONCERN: Must-have supplies for your garden

THE OTHER WEEK I gave you a “Bakers Dozen” of March garden chores. I practice what I preach because I got so busy with that list I missed last week’s deadline for this article.

This past week the sun was out and temperatures were on the rise, which is so appropriate for the official start of spring this last Wednesday.

So this week, here is a list of must-have supplies and equipment to make sure you can easily plow through the chores and hoe down that work list.

Sun hat

Unless big hunks of flesh taken from your face and nose is a look that works for you, protect yourself from the No. 1 ravager of gardeners: Melanoma.

Get yourself a wide brim sunhat — after all, we gardeners live outside, you know.

Sunscreen

Doctors will also carve away on your arms, hands and legs, so now that the spring equinox has arrived and the sun is up, cover your skin with a 30-plus SPF sunscreen.

An apron

I really love this garden wardrobe accessory for two reasons. First, the pockets hold many useful items needed for the job at hand, and second, most of the dirt, grime, algae and mess that occurs an apron can prevent.

This simple and inexpensive item is a real comfort saver.

Scissors

Everyone needs a good pair of gardening scissors for fine ornamental work. Dead-heading, cutbacks and cut flower harvesting are all greatly improved by having a good pair of scissors at the ready.

Pruners

And here the word is Felco. These are the world’s best pruners, bar none, and ultimately, my No. 1 tool.

The cut is only as good as the pruner, so get the best.

Loppers

A pruner on steroids, this is needed to correctly cut branches bigger than the pruner can handle.

Always purchase bypass/guillotine loppers or pruners.

Orchard saw

This sharp, fast, easy to use curved saw for tight crotch angles is the perfect poor man’s chainsaw.

Every gardener needs an orchard saw or two (fold-up or fixed blade) if you own fruit trees or large landscape trees, bushes or shrubs.

Always buy a rip-saw-bladed model so you can cut on both the inward and outward strokes.

Backpack sprayer

This is really the only sprayer-type model you should own because it holds two to three gallons of material, is easily transported on your back, and most importantly, it can be pumped up to high enough pressures to disperse the product in a mist or fog particle, which is the most desired result for even coverage.

This is what professionals always use.

Dramm it

Dramm water breakers are in 90 percent of all greenhouses and nurseries because they are 90 percent better than all the rest.

Dramm breakers are full-flow and low-velocity water heads, which is the secret.

Get a 24-inch or 36-inch water wand and you will instantly become a professional in the field of watering, which is an art form.

Whirlybird spreaders

These handheld rotary spreaders with ergonomic handles are really the cat’s meow for many applications.

Seed, lime, germination inhibitors, fertilizers, bone meal and even pet-safe slug baits easily go through this piece of equipment.

Tarps

Aren’t these a Pacific Northwest staple? Tarps are great to keep an area clean and easily haul or pull away the trash.

Rake in leaves, spread around a tree as you prune or throw your deadheads into it — this simple tool does it all.

Buckets

I cannot say enough about buckets for their ease and simplicity.

They carry in mulch, soil, compost or your tools, then haul out leaves, clippings and debris.

Their size allows you to control and dump just what you need exactly where you want it. Bucket up — it’s the law.

Carpet hunks

I absolutely adore old pieces of carpet when cut into various sizes and lengths because they are perfect for kneeling pads, whereas those foam things are never big enough and must be moved at each reposition.

Carpet remnants are as big as the area you cut them for, and when they become wet and disgusting, you just throw them away and people will put more on the curb for you next week.

A great hand trowel

This is my No. 2 most used tool, so get a good, sturdy, top-grade model because the less the trowel costs, the worse it is.

Cultivator

Same deal here, seek out and buy a very sturdy, expensive, professional-grade long-handled cultivator. This tool should be used all season long.

Metal-pronged rake

A good, sturdy leaf rake consisting of metal (not plastic) tines is essential for many garden chores from leaf or plant debris clean up to soil prep, so find a good one this week.

Double-wheeled wheelbarrow

Twice the tires means twice the load and stability. Imagine never spilling a load again while hauling more and completing the job quicker. Need I say more?

Hand truck

Dollies are the perfect invention for saving your back and knees. Fertilizer bags are heavy and so are your decorative pots, rocks or a newly purchased tree.

Every gardener needs a hand truck. We are always on the move with lots of weight being transported and relocated, so get yourself some really cheap help and sleep pain-free at night.

________

Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email news@peninsuladailynews.com (subject line: Andrew May).

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