Gardening Tools and Supplies to Keep Closeby

by Gardening Coach Susan Harris

You know how gardening magazines show us only the prettiest spots in only the prettiest gardens?  Not that I’m not knocking it, coz I like seeing the highlights, and showing off my own garden at its very best.  But it’s time to put on my coaching hat and reveal the not-so-pretty pretty tools and supplies that make it all possible.  Maybe not exactly showing how sausage is made, but the gardening equivalent.

Where we Store our Stuff
So where’s the best place to keep the stuff you need what seems like all the time? For lots of suburban and city lots it’s the far side of the back yard, nowhere near the house.  But my house is perched at the top of an incline, so under the deck and just outside the basement door is Work Central for this garden.   This space couldn’t be used for much, anyway – under the deck, after all – and it’s close to my toolshed (a former garage built in the ’50s and barely wide enough for a car of any size).

The Essentials
Every gardener’s go-to supplies and tools are unique to them, but here are mine, roughly from right to left in the photo above.

  • Five pairs of gardening clogs.
  • Two white buckets, one for about 10 left gloves and the other for the right-hand ones.   I only devised this scheme a week ago, after 30 some years of gardening, so I can’t claim to be an organizational genius but I love being able to grab gloves without having to check the left or rightness of them.  On the banister you can see more gloves hanging to dry,after which I’ll toss them in the appropriate buckets.
  • Hanging from the column is a container with trowels, a Japanese gardening knife, and some cheap steak knives that are my favorite tool for doing divisions.  Also hanging are some cultivators and larger weeding tools.
  • Loppers, hand pruners and folding pruning saws.
  • Baskets with plastic twist-’ems and mosquito repellent.
  • Shovel.
  • Bag of compost.
  • Bucketful of stakes, all sizes.
  • Watering cans.
  • Garden hose.
  • Containers of all sizes for carrying soil, amendments, mulch, yard waste and – well, you just never know.

Nobody Seems to Have enough Containers
Okay, YOU may have enough but when I help garden-coaching clients with their planting I’ve started bringing some buckets along and they’re usually needed.   Just the other day a client and I were planting along the foundation of her house and lo and behold there WAS no soil.  Potters clay, yes; soil, no.  As is commonly the case around construction sites, the topsoil was gone (it’s often scraped and sold off – no lie!) and construction debris and impenetrable clay remained, so we needed containers to haul off at least some of that stuff and make room for some Leafgro.   She’ll need more containers when she goes to collect free mulch from the Public Works Department.

See, it’s hard to anticipate what might need to be carried.  That’s why experienced gardeners guard their containers like the precious commodity they are.   That definitely includes those large plastic tree-and-shrub containers from the garden center.

The last photo I call “Still Life with Containers” and they’re the ones that regularly move my garden.

  • Large shrub and tree containers from the garden center.
  • Trash cans.
  • Buckets (about $5 each).
  • Kitty litter pans.
  • Cement-mixing pans.
  • A tarp or sheet.
  • And, of course, a wheelbarrow.

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