For those that live for Joe’s Diary, you’ll remember how we peeked inside Keen Kevin’s shed during last week’s post to see exactly what tools helped him make his garden look that much more perfect than yours.
Well, this week, we’re sort of sneaking back inside said shed, but for a totally different (and yet somewhat similar) reason – to find out what sneaky little hacks Kevin has been using to get more out of his tools.
Here’s the good news though: you probably have most of these supplies already (they’re just hiding in boxes and bins and cellars and conservatories and stuff). That mans all you have to do is dig them out:
Once upon a time, the food industry decided that us normal folk loathed cooking with oil and would much prefer it if we could use cooking sprays instead. And, to an extent, they were right. By which I mean, some of us fell for their marketing ploys and actually bought some cooking sprays. There was the Frylight one with only 1 calorie, there was an avocado spray, an olive oil one by Bertolli and even a canola oil spray (whatever that is). The problem was, you never-ever used yours. You just put it at the back of your cupboard and that’s where it’s lived ever since.
Well, now’s the time for you to dust it off because cooking oil sprays are amazing for keeping tools clean. All you have to do is give your spade/shovel/trowel/fork/whatever (delete accordingly) a quick spray before you use it and the soil will slip right off. You could even spray the blades on your lawnmower to stop grass cuttings sticking to them if you fancied.
The knees. Oh the knees. It’s the worst part of gardening. Just think about it for a moment; every time you’re gardening, and you’re on your knees, you probably do that normal thing of wishing you’d bought some knee pads from Homebase. But then when you’re in Homebase and you see the knee pads, you’re put off by a) the price and b) the thought of becoming the kind of gardener that wears knee pads (aka Keen Kevin).
If you can relate to this, then it could be time to dig out that old yoga mat your spouse refuses to throw away (because, as they keep telling you, “yoga is their new year’s resolution”) and start laying that down instead. Trust us, they will protect your nobbly’s just as well as those fancy knee pads you looking at. But comfort is only part of it. The other benefit is simplicity; once you’re done, all you have to do is clean it down with a bit of soapy water (which is easy) and then roll it up again (which is also easy).
If we had a pound for everytime we lost a tool in a flower bed, a shrub, amongst the grass or even in our shed, then we’d have enough money to buy those fancy knee pads we mentioned above. But it isn’t just the frustration of not knowing what you’ve done with a screwdriver or a trowel – or the thinking you’ve gone mad – it’s knowing the weather will wreck them if you don’t find them quickly.
Luckily for you, we have the answer: paint. That’s right. All you need to do is by some bright paint (it can be in pots or spray form) and then paint the handles so they’re a million times more visible. Bright orange, illuminous yellow, highlighter pink, vision-damaging lime green; whatever takes your fancy really. Just don’t credit us with this little hack because it’s been doing the rounds since the late 1800s.
Spring will be on us sooner than you think, and with it will come loads of gardening chores. Pruning and weeding and rearranging rocks and this and that, all of which are a bit of a pain to move. Of course, you could do what Gardener’s Weekly tells you and remortgage your home in order to afford a big pushcart or a snazzy wheelbarrow. But even these come with a few cons. I mean, they take a lot of effort to haul about even if you live in the flattest place on earth (yeah, we’re looking at you Lincolnshire and Norfolk).
So, what is our solution to all this? A sledge. Mmm hmmm. A flying saucer-style sledge. So long as it is sturdy, all you’ll need to do is tie a bit of hardy rope to one end and then pull it along as you go. Grass, gravel, paths – it doesn’t matter, it will go over everything. What’s more, if you’ve got kids that need to be convinced before they’ll help you out in the garden, you’ll now have the ultimate tool to keep them happy.
If you open up your Gardener’s Weekly catalogue again and flick through to trolley section, you’ll find there’s all sorts of carts and trolleys and whatnots you can buy. The problem is, they’re rarely as good as they seem. Things just always seem to fall out as you pull them along. That’s why we recommend you tear these pages out, pop them by your fire ready to be used as kindling and get your old golf bag on wheels down from the attic.
It’s as if golf bags were specifically designed for gardening. Your longer tools (garden hoes, rakes, sheers, loppers etc.) all slot into the main compartment absolutely perfectly, while your handheld tools can be clipped to the outside no problems whatsoever. You could even use the pockets for different things, like seeds and trowels and string and whatever else you may think handy.
And there we have it, some of the little hacks Keen Kevin’s been hiding from you. Well, the cat’s out of the bag, Kev. The cat is out of the bag.