A Guide to Gear for the Green Thumb: Garden Gadgets for Dads
Most people experience playing in the dirt for the first time as a child and while some grow out of it, some grow into it. Learning to yield something far more impressive than mud pies.
However, this progression from playing to cultivating isn’t simple and it can oftentimes be a strenuous process. Whether or not you’re blessed with a green thumb, gardening can be a real hassle.
That’s why it’s important to be properly equipped when it comes to starting and maintaining a garden. Just like each garden is a unique blend of plants and vegetation, a unique set of tools and equipment is required. A gardener has the opportunity to bring their visions to life (quite literally) but it all starts with proper preparation.
Whether you’re a newly minted gardener or a sage of the soil, read on for a list of equipment that can take any backyard oasis to the next level.
- The Beginner Gardener
- The Hobbyist Gardener
- The Farm-to-Table Gardener
- Gardening Tools for Dad
Gardening For Beginners
While starting a garden may seem deceptively simple, it quickly becomes apparent that’s not the case. Successful gardening is really a balance–it requires taking care of the seed, the soil it’s planted in, and the gardener doing the planting. It’s true that gardening doesn’t need to be an expensive past-time, but the proper equipment is still needed. Here’s a list of the basics that will tip the scales in your favor when it comes to a thriving garden.
Basic Gardening Tool Set
Chances are, there are certain staple tools present in any gardener’s shed. Luckily, many of the tools needed are sold in sets. Though not every set is exactly the same, a few items can be found in nearly all of them. These items would include a trowel, a cultivator, and a trans-planter. A cultivator would be the traditional “shovel” looking tool that can be used to dig and mix up soil, and a trans-planter is a thinner, straighter version perfect for getting deep to dig out weeds or scoop up plants to move. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive set, look for ones that include shears and gloves, which are both necessary to cultivating that garden once it’s up and running.
Gardening Pots and Planters
This is where the intended placement of the garden becomes instrumental in selecting gear–will you be gardening in a large plot of land outside or a sunny room indoors? Or maybe there’s a section of the deck you’d like to spruce up. Inside or outside, space matters. If room is no concern, go for traditional pots or plant directly into the soil. Look for pots that have a small hole in the bottom, which will allow water to drain and prevent your plants from “drowning”. If you’re looking to start an indoor oasis, check out stackable planters. These save space and water, by “stacking” plants on top of each other while ensuring they have sufficient space to grow. Home Depot has a great option, or check out Amazon.
The Perfect Apron
Most lists of gardening gear include an apron, but many of those options are flimsy and lightweight, more suitable for things like cooking. The material of a gardening apron is important, because lightweight materials will allow mud and water to soak through and dirty the clothing underneath–defeating the purpose of ever wearing an apron. Instead, look for a more durable material, like the canvas apron from Texas Canvas Wares. Not only will the material keep you clean, it offers a measure of protection from an errant trowel or upturned rake. To top it all off, Texas Canvas aprons also come equipped with pockets large enough to carry your entire gardening tool set with you.
The Hobbyist Gardener
While everyone was once a beginner, the hobbyist has spent a little extra time in the weeds. This gardener most likely has all the basics covered, but could be looking to broaden the range of equipment at their disposal or expand their garden. If you’re far past the need for watering cans or spades, take a look at the list below for things that surpass “necessity” and instead focus on enhancing the garden you already have.
Anyone who’s spent time in the garden knows how hard it can be on your knees and back. The constant bending and kneeling on the hard ground can be killer on the joints, and takes the joy out of what should be a calming and deeply satisfying past-time. To ease some of the aches and pains of gardening, look at stools and seats like this one sold at Walmart. This stool can be sat on or reversed so that the cushion lies on the ground–ideal for kneeling upon and weeding or pruning. This stool even includes storage space on the sides, so you’re not juggling handfuls of equipment as you move.
As mentioned above, the placement of your garden can mean a whole new world of equipment is needed to ensure it thrives. For gardens kept indoors, or in places with unreliable sun exposure, look into a grow light. There are tons of options when it comes to indoor lighting for plants, but this one on Amazon features dimmable lights and an automatic lighting timer. It also clips insteads of standing on its own, so it’s extremely portable and fits in nearly any space. However, if your indoor garden is more of a jungle, it may be wise to look for a larger lamp.
If your ultimate garden goal is expansion, a wheelbarrow may be a worthy investment. It can be used to cart pounds of dirt and mulch from one side of the garden to the other, or haul all those sprouts and seedlings from the car to their new home. Ultimately, a wheelbarrow guarantees ease of mobility for you and your plants, so choose one that has plenty of room without weighing you down. Amazon has plenty of affordable options, like this one, but there’s a wheelbarrow for any budget or goal.
The Farm-to-Table Gardener
Gardens can include all sorts of plant life, from budding flowers and stunning greenery to fruits, vegetables, and herbs. There’s nothing stopping you from including a little bit of everything to your own garden, but growing and harvesting food can be much trickier than a traditional flower-filled plot. These gardens can be demanding: not only do they require specialized equipment as the plants themselves grow, but often additional equipment is needed for harvesting and storing all the fruits of your labor. It can be difficult to feel truly prepared and equipped without spending tons on gear, but the list compiled below shows that budget-friendly options are available for those looking to grow their own grub.
The most difficult part of growing produce is often making good use of it off the vine. Just one tomato plant can produce anywhere from 20-30 tomatoes, which means some will most likely get wasted–unless you happen to be feeding a small army. It doesn’t seem right to spend all that time caring for a plant, just to watch it slowly rot on the kitchen counter. Instead, invest in a good set of canning equipment and preserve all that hard work. There are sets sold on Amazon, like the one listed here, that include everything you could need for a great price.
Similar to growing produce, many herb plants yield far more product than could be used before all those gorgeous herbs begin to wilt. Instead, dry them out and store them, or create your own seasonings. An herb rack, like this one found on Gardener’s Supply Company, allows the gardener to dry their herbs right at the peak of flavor. Not only does this preserve that delicious taste, whatever room your herbs are drying in is sure to smell heavenly. Of course, drying racks aren’t necessarily limited to herbs, feel free to dry flowers or produce as well. Imagine a room full of delicate lavender, plucked fresh from the garden to permeate your space better than any oil diffuser.
As your plants get taller and heavier, many times they’re prone to tipping over and leaving that precious produce to waste in the dirt. This is especially true for vining produce like peas, tomatoes, and cucumber. To provide some support for your growing produce, consider a garden trellis. There’s a wide variety of options available, from smaller trellises meant to fit into a pot to trellis large enough to walk under. Amazon has a great option listed here, for plants that are somewhere in between. Not only does this increase the health of your plants, it can create a stunning visual when used in your garden. Varying the heights of your plants can add a layer of depth and vibrancy to any garden, so it’s not just a pleasure to eat from–it’s easy on the eyes as well.
Gardening Tools for Dad
As spring approaches, it’s the perfect time to show your green thumb dad just how much you love and appreciate him. Whether it’s an Easter gift, or “just because”, any of the items listed above are sure to make all that dirty work a little easier. If you’re not quite sure what to pick, there are other options available. For example, consider a gardening workshop or class where dad is free to really hone his craft. There are even gardening workshop classes available online, so dad is free to learn on his own schedule. If there’s not much he doesn’t already know, look into a gift certificate to a greenhouse or plant nursery, where he can shop around for the perfect new addition. However, it’s possible that though dad has been in the gardening game for a while, he’s missing some of the basics. Dad deserves to be comfortable and safe as he gets his hands dirty–so if he’s been making do without gloves or a quality canvas apron, check Texas Canvas Wares for products that dad will love.
Remember, gardening should be a relaxing, enjoyable activity. The right equipment can lessen the stress of managing gardens of any size without breaking the bank. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, look for quality tools that will last, but keep in mind that quality does not always mean the largest price tag. As with any hobby, safety should always be top priority–so be sure to keep your hands and torso covered with high quality gloves and an apron. Staying clean and well-organized is, of course, a huge added bonus. Dream big and dig deep this spring–your garden will be blooming in no time.