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Hello, flower friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I’m excited to start sharing regularly with you again. With the kids, flowers, freelance writing, and life, I haven’t had much time to interact with our followers and customers, even on social media. But, I have noticed a trend! I’ve gotten to chat with a lot of you recently at the Garden & Flower Expo and Art in the Park, and the resounding statement was that you love when I share something educational. I’m looking forward to being more transparent about the ups and downs and experiences of flower farming (and growing to sell in general).
Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tools that I’ve used consistently in my garden. Some of these were gifts, and others were my own purchases. Regardless, they have made my life easier and have done their job well. I’m hoping you all may benefit from these as well!
Just a little note…
Before I begin, I would like to take a moment and share something that has been weighing on my heart lately. Some of you close to me may know that I lost my grandmother in March of this past year. She and I were very close. I can’t tell you how many times I have went to send her an email and realized she isn’t there to answer it. She was also one of my blog subscribers, and usually when I made a post she would send me a quick email and say something about it. This will be my first post since she has been gone.
As we were gathering pictures for the funeral, we started going through her office to see if she had written down any last wishes for her funeral. In her office, we found a folder filled with print-outs of all the emails she and I had ever exchanged. Also in that folder, she had printed and saved every single email notification that WordPress sends to blog subscribers after a new post is made to a blog. These notifications are nothing fancy; they just let you know a new post has been made. And yet, she had printed and saved every. single. one.
I sure am going to miss my biggest fan.
Okay, on to discussing some must-have tools for the garden!
5 Must-Have Tools for the Garden
1. Hori Hori Knife
My husband gave me a hori hori knife for Christmas during the Winter before my first season as a cut flower grower. He wasn’t really sure I would use it (he basically just searched for garden items on Amazon and bought the first few things he saw), but it has become one of the most indispensable items I own today.
What I love about it the most is that it has measurements. No more losing tape measures in the garden! Just lay your knife on the surface of the soil to measure out where the next transplant needs to go.
I use my hori hori knife to plant transplants, dig up tough, taprooted weeds (like Queen Anne’s lace and dandelions), and in any other way I might use a hand trowel. When I plant transplants, I just stab the soil where I want the transplant to go, rock the knife back and forth a few times, and then stick my transplants in the hole I’ve made. Pinch the soil back together around the transplant and you’re good to go!
It is very sharp! So sharp, in fact, that you need to watch this knife around the littles. BUT it also allows you to cut things that need cutting. There’s been a few times I’ve been out in the garden needing to cut open a bag, a seed packet, or cut a ziptie off a trellis, and all I have to do is pull out my hori hori knife!
If you’re thinking a hori hori knife is right for you, you can check out this link to purchase the exact same one I have. It also comes with a handy holster to add onto your belt or gardening toolbelt AND a sharpener.
2. Dramm One Touch Water Wand
I think that hose nozzles are the item I have had the worst luck on. Even before venturing into the field of cut flower growing, I had a hose nozzle bust or break once or twice a year, just from watering my landscaping plants.
Finally, I bit the bullet and bought a Dramm One Touch Water Wand. I had seen a few good reviews on them. Also, I had been in search of a wand that would be gentle enough for seedlings. Too many times the shower setting on the nozzles would completely flatten my baby plants every time. I remembered working at the SIUC greenhouse when I was a student worker for Weed Science and how the wands they used were gentle like that (I’m not sure if they were Dramm brand, but they were high quality).
So, I bit the bullet on the 16 inch Dramm water wand.
I loved it so much that I purchased an additional wand that was longer for watering those hard-to-reach places that the 16 inch couldn’t manage. What I like the most is that I can swap out the nozzle head by simply unscrewing it. I do this often when I want to switch between sizes!
The Dramm One Touch is gentle enough that I can overhead water my soil blocks with this wand. It is well worth the money!
If you’d like to check out the same 16 inch Dramm water wand I have, click here. They come in different colors, too!
3. Plastic Step-In Post
This next item will probably seem strange, but I’ve found it very useful! In cut flower gardening, it is very important to have long, straight stems for many of the flowers we grow. For this reason, it can be necessary to use flower netting (called hortonova netting). Hortonova netting is basically a plastic netting with large squares that the plants will grow up into. You can use it horizontally to keep stems straight or vertically to act as a trellis for climbing plants like sweet peas (or sugar snap peas! I’m using netting vertically this year for my sugar snap peas, and it has been awesome!).
There are many different ways to set up your hortonova netting, but I’ve found these white plastic step-in posts to be the easiest to use. The netting slides right down into the various pegs/holders on the posts and holds the netting in place. They are easy to get in and out of the ground also.
I originally purchased these to fence off part of my horse pasture, so it’s been great to get to reuse them since then!
You can purchase these posts by clicking here or you can head to any farm supply store.
4. Felco Pruners/Snips
Holy cannoli! If you’re wanting a tried and true pair of snips for the garden, then Felco pruners/snips are it!
These snips are sharp and very dependable. I like that I can use them on small delicate stems as well as thicker canes of blackberries and rose bushes with ease. They cut like butter! It is super important to make sharp, clean cuts when pruning or harvesting cut flowers to ensure plant health and optimal water uptake by cut flowers. I cannot recommend these enough.
Felco makes many different sizes of pruners, but the one I feel is most versatile is the Felco No. 2 Classic Manual Hand Pruners. They are a bit pricey, but they are worth it in my opinion!
You can take a look at the pair I have by clicking here.
5. Battery-Operated Weed Eater
Last, but not least, I’d like to share about my new battery-operated weed eater! This item is new to me as of Christmas 2021, but I can already tell I’m going to be using it a ton!
In the past, I’ve had my husband weed eat areas of the garden that were getting completely out of control. Sometimes you just need a weed whacker to accomplish the task that would take forever to accomplish by hand. Other times, there are areas that a mower may not be able to reach because I have other plants that are in the way.
A weed eater also makes it easy to knock down plants that I want to eventually pull out of the landscape fabric in the garden and plant new transplants in. I usually flip the beds in the early Summer after the early Spring plants are done blooming. Weed eating allows me to knock down excessive foliage so I can easily pull the bottom half of the plant out of the holes in the landscape fabric and replant with warm season annuals like zinnias or cinnamon basil.
I found that the gas weed eater we had (or borrowed–it was my in-law’s) was too bulky for me to operate. Plus, it was annoying to have to deal with mixing up the gas and Seafoam (or whatever the heck it is; Hayden always did this).
Now, I can just fire up my Milwuakee Battery-Operated Weed Eater whenever I please and I’m off fighting weeds one swath at a time!
P.S. Thanks, Mom and Dad for the Christmas present!
If you’re looking for some gardening staples, these 5 simple tools/items are it! I use them frequently throughout the season, and they are well worth the money!
If I had to pick one, I would say the hori hori knife is a must-have. I use it in so many different ways. Thanks, Hayden, for the Christmas gift a few years ago!