If you are anything like me, you are constantly adding to your gardening toolbox. Below are a few tools that I cannot live without in my gardening adventures. The best news is that for $40, you can enjoy these tools and the entertainment they provide for years.
A cheap Jeweler’s loupe can be the best pest management tool in your arsenal and can provide hours of upon hours of entertainment. A jeweler’s loupe can magnify objects from 5 to 20X, providing an eye witness account to what may be causing your plants to suffer. I watch National Geographic a good bit and am fascinated by how cheetahs hunt gazelles on the African savannahs. The same sort of thing happens in your garden, except the hunters are praying mantids, wheel bugs, lacewing larvae, and lady bird beetle larvae, and the prey are mites, thrips, aphids, and whiteflies. To catch some of this action, a jeweler’s loupe is needed to provide the up-close footage happening on your plants. For more information on beneficial insects, check out HGIC 2829, Natural Enemies: Predators and Parasitoids. Go ahead and thank me now and cancel your cable service.
Heavy Duty Trowel
I’m talking about a $20-30 trowel or heavy-duty garden knife that you can use for years. I have one that I carry in my truck to use for pulling soil samples. It has indentations in the metal that indicate the depth of the soil so you can pull samples from the correct depth. The trowel I use is tough enough to use in very heavy clay soils seen in the upstate. I consider my trowel a multi-use tool as it is great for digging holes for transplants, mixing potting soil, dividing perennials, and even as a weapon to throw at invading squirrels. That may be good entertainment considering you’ve canceled your cable service by now.