For centuries gardeners got by with simple tools--a hoe, rake and shovel were all that were necessary to tend the plants and manage the soil. That's all that is still needed, but garden stores are now full of many interesting items that catch the eye and open the wallet. Whether for serious vegetable growing, or merely for fun, there's something on the shelves that might fit in your garden.
Many of the tools are just variants of the basic hoe, rake and shovel but some are new, such as the simple "step and twist" soil aerator. More attention is being spent on ergonomical designs and comfort, with handles that are shaped to fit the hand and protect the wrists from strain. Trowels come in sizes from ultra-thin to extra-wide, and cultivators have been miniaturized to work around the smallest spaces and most delicate herbs. Gloves are available in the traditional canvas and leather, and come in flexible rubber to protect skin from harmful chemicals. Edgers, string trimmers and blower/vacuums all help keep the vegetable garden looking neat and tidy.
Soil Amendment/Pest Control
Fertilizer mixtures designed to fit specific plant needs are easily available. Easier and more accurate electronic testing of soil pH, moisture and nitrogen and phosphorus and potash levels are available at the touch of a button; leaving the guesswork behind. Controlling insects and other pests has never been easier with a multitude of both organic and chemical products now available.
Getting the proper amounts of water to the garden when it was needed used to require a constant monitoring. Modern technology is now saving time, money and precious water resources. Timers, more efficient nozzles, controllers with "rain cycles," water globes, underground systems, improved soil amendments and capturing run-off water in rain barrels are all product options available to the vegetable gardener.
Garden statuary, bird houses, spinning whirli-gigs, chimes, fountains, globes that capture the sun and send it back out in a thousand directions and custom-made plaques proudly bearing the name of the gardener are all products that add a touch of whimsy and personalization to a vegetable garden.