• My favorite gardening equipment

    by  • January 21, 2012 • Garden, Winter

    Grandpa's tools

    Grandpa’s tools

    Winter is a good time to evaluate your garden tools. I’ve stashed them all away for the coming rain and in doing so, looked them all over really good.  After gardening for so many years you kind of get a familiar routine or system when it comes to your equipment, gardening clothes and tools. 

    First of all, clothes:

    • Heavyweight men’s wrangler jeans in one size too big so I can move around. $15. at Target
    • If I can’t garden in my favorite old cashmere sweaters, I wear a T-shirt or a flannel shirt from the thrift store
    • Solid color men’s Vans slip-ons, 1 pair lasts two years, machine washable.  I’ve found that the girl patterned Van’s don’t hold up in the wash.  These are tough and worth the forty dollars.
    • Cotton socks for summer, woolen camping socks for winter.
    • Wide brimmed hat and a bandana.
    Baggy jeans, flannel shirt and nice metal nozzle

    Baggy jeans, flannel shirt and nice metal nozzle. This is from my January wintersowing.  I look cold, huh?

    Hand tools

    Gloves, stretchy fabric, rubber fingered snug fitting gloves.  I buy the cheapest of these several times a year because they just don’t last long.  My favorites were a three pak of deer skin orchard gloves, but alas, they didn’t last long either.

    These four fit in my back pockets:

    • Narrow-bladed trowel.  I pick these up at thrift and junk stores whenever I see them. I paint the wooden handles red or yellow to be easily seen out in the garden. For planting, bulbs, and weeding.
    • Scissor bladed clippers for shearing lavender and any closely cut shaped plants, thyme, marjoram, wallflower and euphorbias.
    • Rose pruners, curved bladed trimmers, the best you can afford.
    • Steak knife to cut weeds, an invaluable tool.

    Hand cultivator  To cultivate the soil around plants will effectively prevent weeds.  Weeds can not survive in disturbed soil.

    Favorite loppers

    Favorite Florian ratchet loppers are expensive, but have lasted 31 years!

    Ratchet loppers are great for cutting branches with little effort. If you haven’t use ratchet loppers or ratchet hand clippers, you are in for a happy surprise. With a chain saw and loppers we trimmed around all our many live oak trees.

    Metal hose nozzle   I get the plainest one, as long as it is all metal.  I’ve throw too many hoses down on the patio only to have the plastic ones break on impact.

    Favorite tools and shoes

    Favorite tools and shoes

    Handle tools

    • Shovel for planting and shaping beds and paths.
    • Metal rake for smoothing beds and raking leaves and sticks from planting beds.  For cleaning up around trees and paths.
    • Leave rake for getting leaves out of planting beds.
    • Cultivator to ruffle up the soil to prevent compaction and weeds.
    • I rarely use a hoe, preferring to hand pick weeds! Personal preference, I guess. 
    Tractor Man mows the fields around the house

    Tractor Man mows the fields around the house

    Gas powered or electric tools

    Chain saw and chaps,….these I reserve for Tractor Man who, as he puts it, does my bidding in the garden.

    Weed eaterThis is also for Tractor man who is the one who whacks the weeds and grass one hundred feet around the house. 

    Big giant brush mower.  Given to us by a friend moving back to civilization, Tractor Man instantly fell in love with this mower and enjoyed many hours mowing the fields of their tarweed. I persuaded him to leave a swath last year for the sake of its glowing color and hope a bigger section can be left this year as much of the bigger weedy plants have been smoothed over and discouraged.

    Organized tools in my potting area

    Organized tools in my potting area

    Winter is a good time to get your tools in shape,…replace broken ones, clean dirty ones, scrape off rust, and spray with a lubricant like WD-40.  I’m doing this and getting ready for a new season. 

    Last year, I set up a small tool station at the back door, where I can load up my pockets and be ready to go.  I also cleaned up my potting area, decorated it and made a place to photograph plants and other objects for the blog or my Flea Market Gardening Facebook page.


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.