I hate to throw anything away. I go to extreme ends to fix something before I give up on it. For example, when the plastic handle surrounding the bail on a bucket starts to crack, I wrap layers of duct tape around it making last years longer. Recently I learned of a new device that solves this problem even better. Now available is a replacement handle that will snap around the bail when the old plastic handle gives way. The best feature is the fact that it is a larger handle that makes carrying thing even easier. If you google Amazon, you will see that “replacement bucket handles” come in a variety of colors for about $2 each. If you treasure your buckets as much as I do, I think you’ll give it a go.
Stan, The Tool Man
Sooner or later you will injure yourself while working in the garden. This possibility is actually increased by the fact that if you are using a tool I have sharpened, it will be razor sharp. Your tender skin simply cannot resist the blade of a properly sharpened tool. If there is any consolation, you will be surprised at how painless the cut will be. You see, the sharper the cutting edge, the less nerve tissue damage there it. And it’s not just the tools that can hurt you. The garden is like a battle ground–with enemy thorns, rough bark, splinters, rock and concrete surfaces and just plain pokey branches just waiting for you to make just one careless move. You might win the war, but sooner to later you will lose a battle.
Now most of you will probably ignore the wound and continue your gardening chores. I, however, cannot. Any tiny skin puncture results a blood flow that simply won’t stop because of the blood thinner I take. So I have to go inside and apply a bandage. Here is where my advice comes in: Use Nexcare clear waterproof bandages. After washing the wound area thoroughly (do as I say, not as I do) and drying, apply antibacterial cream or ointment to the gauze pad, and stick on the bandage. Now you are literally covered for days. These bandages are unobtrusive and will remain stuck to you skin until you get around to finally removing it days later. And voila, the wound is completely healed. Now I realize that severe wounds are not treated just with a bandage, and although one of my sons swears by super glue to stick open wounds back together, you are going to have to use a certain amount of common sense in dealing with accidents in the garden. In any case, stock up your medicine cabinet with Nexcare clear waterproof bandages and a tube of antibacterial cream or ointment. You want to be prepared for that next accident that will occur.
Stan, The Tool(?) Man
I’ll bet that you have a roll of green plastic tape in your garden supplies which you use throughout the year to strap up various plants as they grow. There is now a great product that can replace this product. It is Velcro tape. You can buy it in ½ inch wide rolls that are various lengths. For instance, at this writing, a 75-foot roll costs $7.69 which means, of course, that you a paying about 10 cents a foot.
So why would you use this Velcro tape rather than plastic tape. First of all, it is easier to apply. You simply cut off the desired length and wrap it around your plant and the supportive structure—no tying involved. Second, and most importantly, the tape can be reused. You are not cutting the plastic tape and throwing it in the trash. Now I will admit that it is task to save the tape for use the next time. You need to have some system of storing used tape. But that is the cost of reusing materials instead of dumping them into the environment.
If you are interested in this product, it is available on Amazon under “Velcro Brand One-Wrap Garden Tape”.
Stan, The Tool Man (article suggested by Janice)
OK, so this article is not about camels, but I thought it might get your attention.
I want to tell you about a tool that you might want to add to your arsenal. It’s called the “Handy Camel Bag Clip”. This device is a sturdy plastic clip that you can use to seal large bags—like fertilizer, potting soil, mulch, perlite, rock salt, pet food and bird seed. There is a handle on the clip that allows you to easily carry the bag. The “Giant” version can carry a 50 pound bag, and the regular model is for 10 pound bags. If you clip just the corner of an opened bag top, you can more easily pour contents into a container. Google “Handy Camel Bag Clip” for a demonstration.
Let me tell you why I personally value this tool. Have you ever opened a previously used bag of fertilizer and discovered after unrolling the top that the fertilizer was damp? I did. Damp fertilizer does not work well in spreaders. So I poured the damp mix into a tub and set it out in the sun to dry. The next day I had a tub of fertilizer soup. Many fertilizers are hydroscopic—that is, they love water—they will absorb it from the air. This is why I value a substantial bag clip that will seal off the air.
These clips are reasonably priced. You can order them on Amazon for about $10 for the giant version and $6 for the regular size. It is a tool that you can use over and over again, and I think it is a good investment.
Stan, The Tool Man (article suggested by Lorraine)
“So why do I need another shovel?” you ask? Well, probably you don’t. But if your garden soil is hard, then you probably do. I’ve talked about the 2-tiner before. Remember that the advantage of having only two tines is that not only do they penetrate soil more easily, but they also make removing peripheral iris rhizomes easier. This new shovel is called a spear head spade. It has the advantage of a narrow, pointed head that makes it easier to dig into a hard surface. It is stronger than a 2-tiner which sometimes can have its tines bent when the soil is really tough. The base of the spade’s blade is still wide enough for your foot to get a good purchase. I think the cost of this spear headed spade is rather pricey, but it may be worth it and become your favorite tool. I would avoid the really short handled version—it wouldn’t give you enough leverage. Below is the model available from Amazon which is probably your best bet for $52. Google “spear head shovel” to see options.
Stan, The Tool Man