We all know the amazing curative powers of retail therapy. It's remarkable how shoe shopping can cure a bad date, a lousy interview, or an annoying roommate. This time of year, when the trees are bursting with buds and the flowers are just starting to show their faces, I get a hankering for garden tool shopping. (Retail therapy for a long, cold winter.) Here are my ten must have eco-friendly garden tools.
Glamorous? Absolutely not. Necessity? Absolutely! Compost is the food that feeds your garden. Just as healthy food fuels you, the same is true for your garden. What's the difference between short, scrawny tomato plants, and Instagram-worthy beauties bursting with life? Good compost.
Maybe you have your own compost bin but if not, then you need top quality organic compost. Your local nursery will have some, but a local farmer may as well. Next time you pass a farm stand stop and ask if they sell compost or manure.
Just because you enjoy a good putter in the garden doesn't mean that you want to damage your manicure. Arm yourself with a sturdy garden glove that will serve you through many gardening seasons.
My favorites? These Honey Badger gloves that double as a cultivator. The pockets at the end of the fingers give your fingernails extra protection (and you the power of a Honey Badger).
3. Hand cultivator
There's no way around it: You're going to have to weed at some point in the growing season. And a handheld cultivator is going to make that chore more palatable.
In addition to digging up weeds, working with a cultivator, you'll also aerate and till the soil. Mix in compost with the cultivator while weeding, and your plants will thank you.
A hand cultivator is an eco-friendly gardening tool because it's you who is destroying the weeds--not a nasty herbicide.
Remember that colorful plastic spade that came attached to the handle of the pail that you schlepped to the beach when you were a kid? Now you need the adulting version of that.
A sharp, rust-free spade is more than a garden tool--it's a garden friend. From removing stubborn rocks, to digging a hole for a perk test or planting, a spade will be your constant garden companion.
Of course a rake is helpful for those pesky fall leaves, but also through other seasons as it cleans up grass clippings and helps to spread mulch.
A bamboo rake is not only sturdy but also eco-friendly. Look for one with steel reinforced tines.
If retail therapy isn't enough to cure a bad day at the office, then breaking up soil with a hoe should do the trick.
Using a hoe to break up soil is one of the first garden chores of the season. Later in the season it will prove helpful in defining the edges of your garden as it gets more overgrown.
If you break your back carrying all of your garden tools from the shed to the garden and back again, then you won't be in good shape for the long growing season ahead. Save your back and use a wheelbarrow for transporting those tools.
It will also be useful for moving compost and leaves around as well as transporting plants and small bushes that need relocating.
8. Drainage hole cover
These nifty covers go inside your garden pot and help to absorb and maintain water, which is of critical importance if you live in a drought-prone area. Eco-friendly gardeners in other areas of the country aren't off the hook. We should all be doing our part to curb excess water use.
Even if you don't live in an area affected by drought, these covers can help eliminate messy drainage from the bottom of pots and containers.
9. Bamboo stakes
Early in the season, your peas may just be peaking out of the ground, but in a few weeks they'll be a foot high and looking for some place to climb. The same is true for beans and tomatoes. Give them a sturdy bamboo stake to climb and reuse at the end of the season.
10. Push reel mower
This is old school. Real. Old. School. You know that gas and electric powered lawn mowers take a toll on the environment. A push reel mower has zero carbon foot print and, if you keep the blades sharpened, will do a great job at keeping your lawn tidy.
Oh, and it's a great cardio workout. Feel the burn!
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photo of gardening tools via Shutterstock