Thursday, October 29, 2020

Everyday Household Items for the Garden Shed - 2020 Edition


I have a lot of cleaning brushes lurking around the garden shed.  Everything from fingernail brushes to kitchen scrub brushes, bucket brushes, and bench brushes.  Then I realized what I really needed to clean my four inch pots was a  Toilet Bowl Brush.  This is just the right shape, size and stiffness.  It even works on 3 inch pots which sort of surprised me because I thought it might be too stiff to push into a 3 inch pot. And of course gallon pots.  But the best is the 4 inch pots.  Pot in one hand, brush in the other.  Rotate once or twice and anything and everything you would be getting off with a brush is off.  Why did I not think of this sooner?

I have a couple of cleaners in the garden shed.  For basic scrubbing I have Castile Soap .  For the counter top and windows and other hard surfaces I have Windex.  I have a simple spray bottle with Pine Sol and water to make yucky stuff smell clean.  I have a pump bottle of Germ-X for disinfecting pruning shears and hands.  But what I use a lot is my Armor All Cleaning Wipes.  These things really clean plastic and rubber very well and they leave a nice shine.  For one thing they keep my rain boots and garden clogs looking nice.  They polish up my glossy plastic resin planters that I spent a pretty penny on.  And when I get done with the string trimmer or leave blower, I wipe them down too.  Just about anything you invested a little money in (Hunter boots ain't exactly cheap) that you want to keep looking new deserves the ArmorAll treatment.

For years I've kept a small number of essentials right at the garden gate.  Usually a pair of kitchen shears and a kneeler of some sort.  An old dull knife comes in handy for harvesting if you've forgotten to bring a good one out.  A few pairs of gloves clothes-pinned to the fence to dry. And usually a collection of different hose attachments from a watering wand to a misting nozzle for delicate seedlings.  Due to being relatively weather resistant and in constant use they have collected at the gate post in an untidy mound.  The shears are on a nail on the side of the post, but that didn't work for everything. I know some people put a mail box in their garden to keep tools, but I wanted something that would hold my big blue kneeling pad and watering wands not necessarily my trowels and such.  So I came up with this Wire Basket that hangs on the wire fence and is just what I needed.

I am always seeing people ask what kind of markers last the longest.  The answer to that queston is these metal markers.  But I get tired of writing them up with the special carbon pencil, cleaning the name off with steel wool, collecting them and keeping them corralled for the winter.  In fact the last time I used them was when I was expecting the Master Gardener class for a garden tour.  I figured that it would be helpful if they could read things for themselves instead of having to ask.   I don't use a lot of markers anymore.  I plant things in the position that seems logical to me (which is sort of like storing things in the first place you would look for them), and before long the plants are mature enough that I can pretty reliably tell the difference between tomato varieties or even pea and bean varieties.  

What I really want is a marker that will get me through spring transplanting and then go away.  These good old fashioned Tongue Depressors are just the ticket.  I write on them with a Sharpie.  They do really well marking pots and I can give them away freely that way.  Some of them I put in the garden and by the end of the season, they go into the compost pile with the plant waste or just get raked into the soil.  Nothing irritates me more than a plastic tag floating around the garden.  Problem solved.

A good vegetable brush.  This isn't technically IN the garden but it is very closely related.  When I was studying up on how to prepare sweet potatoes, one of the warnings was to make sure they are very clean and to not spoil your sweet potato pie with garden grit.  This is really true of all our root vegetables.  So I read Amazon reviews for awhile and settled on this handle-less coconut fibre brush.  Its quite a nice little brush and it tucks away in the corner of the dish drying rack, out of sight.

And that is a list of my garden tool improvements for this year.  I'm always looking for a better way to clean and store things.  Someday I may get it right all at once.

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