Last week, inspired by cooler temperatures and rain,I decided to make some Banana Nut Bread for my sons, Max and Luke, to eat after school. As I gathered up all the ingredients, I imagined how happy they would be when they got home after a long day of classes and band rehearsal. “We love you, Mom!” they’d exclaim, “You’re the best mom in the world!”
Out came the perfectly ripened bananas, flour, pecans–wait, no pecans. Darn. Okay, they’ll still be really happy with Banana Bread. So I continued gathering baking soda, vegetable oil, sugar. Darn it. I had sugar, but not enough. My Best Mom in the World fantasy started to fade. Maybe I could pass it off as Really Healthy Banana Bread.
Somehow, I didn’t think the boys would buy it. They’d still love me, though, right? “We love you,” they’d say glumly, “You’re a good mom.” Okay, you take a look at these faces and tell me that you’d be okay with that. Of course you wouldn’t.
So, here’s the deal. I can’t help you with your kids or your Banana Bread, but I can help you with your garden. When you get ready to work in your yard, you don’t want to get out there and realize you don’t have the tools it takes to get the job done. You’ll be frustrated or worse, you may damage a plant if you use the wrong tool. Here’s my Top 5 Tools that I wouldn’t be caught dead without:
- Bypass pruners: I had Felcos and lost them, now I’m using Coronas and I like them. They’re indispensable for making those small, clean cuts on woody shrubs, perennials and annuals. I have them with me everywhere I go.
- Garden fork: I use my fork more than my shovel. I like how the tines get underneath the plant for lifting it out without severing the roots.
- Sharpshooter shovel: That being said, sometimes the roots need to be severed. A sharpshooter is a longer, narrower version than the standard shovel. It’s great for cutting roots under a plant, trenching, and….I don’t know, knocking some sense into my foreman. He needs it sometimes. He gets ornery.
- Shovel: That’s right, just a regular old shovel. Use it for digging holes, and shoveling compost, rock or soil.
- Hard rake: A hard rake is, well, hard. It’s not a leaf rake. I can do without one of those. A hard rake is great for raking through the soil after you’ve weeded, for spreading soil around, for regrading your soil or smoothing it out.
So there’s my Top 5. They’re not fancy or exotic (for that, see “5 Garden Tools That are Really Cool But Not Necessary.” I haven’t written it yet, but will let you know when I do!), they’re just basic because I’m a basic kind of gardener. I can get almost any task done with these tools, except for knocking sense into my foreman. I think he has a therapist for that.