Check out our editors' favorite equipment for the home and garden this season.
By the Heirloom Gardener Editors
Photo courtesy Klean Kanteen
Many gardeners abide by the rule, “No glass in the garden,” and many are also concerned about health and the environment and don’t want to drink from containers made with bisphenol A (BPA). Klean Kanteen’s Insulated Reflect bottle ($40.95) is a non-plastic drinking vessel that can be used year-round — for warm coffee in fall and cold lemonade in summer. This 20-ounce bottle is made with only three materials: stainless steel, food-grade silicone, and sustainably harvested bamboo. Klean Kanteen says that its new bottle will keep drinks cold for 24 hours or iced for 40 hours. The company also offers 10-ounce steel cups for $7.95 that are well-suited for holding your much-deserved craft beer as you meander through the garden and appreciate all your hard work at the end of the day.
Photo by Allison Evans
The super-handy Clyde’s Garden Planner ($3.00) is a great reference for when and how to plant 22 popular vegetables. The planner’s sliding scale lets you adjust planting dates based on average frost times in your area. The chart includes both indoor and outdoor planting times, along with recommendations for planting depth, distance between rows and plants, and sun requirements for each crop.
Clyde’s Garden Planner is so smart, simple, and affordable that it left our editorial team wondering why we hadn’t heard of it years ago.
Photo courtesy ECO-DISKS
In the garden, any tools or tips that can suppress weeds and promote healthier plants are welcome. ECO-disks help funnel water to the base of the plant while shading the surrounding area, thereby lowering soil temperature and suppressing weed growth. ECO-disks have a distinctive coffee-filter shape, and their colorful circular disks are designed to easily slip around small stems and rest nicely on the soil’s surface.
The company offers two lines of ECO-disks: reusable and biodegradable. The reusable disks are manufactured entirely out of post-consumer carpet. The biodegradable ECO-disk line is made with non-GMO, 100 percent biodegradable biopolymer that’s free of BPA. A set of 12 disks costs $47.95.
Photo courtesy Lehman's
There’s an impressive amount of processing (and mess-making!) that goes along with transforming garden-grown crops into sauce, salsa, jam, and other pantry staples. A tool that speeds up processing times, cuts down on mess, and runs on manual power to reduce tool weight and operating noise is ideal. The Squeezo Strainer and Food Mill ($219.00) is one such tool, and it’s made entirely of metal, so it shouldn’t stain or retain odors. The aluminum hopper holds up to 2-1/2 quarts of produce, and the appliance comes with a standard tomato screen, wooden plunger, cleaning brush, and recipe booklet. The simple clamp allows users to securely fasten the mill to surfaces up to 2 -1/2 inches thick.
In addition to sauces and salsas, the American-made Squeezo will benefit anyone interested in making their own baby food or fruit leathers.
Photo courtesy The Original Muck Boot Company
The right gardening shoe is super comfortable; has soles with good grip; will protect your feet from water, sharp sticks, and bug bites; and is easy to throw on as you charge out the door. If you’re lucky, your footwear will also look good and be worth the cost. Editor Hannah Kincaid did her research and found just the thing in the Muckster II gardening shoes offered by the Original Muck Boot Company. These gardening shoes are available in either a low-cut shoe form, an ankle-high boot design, or — for women only — a versatile “Mid” design that can be worn high on cold days or rolled down into an ankle boot when the weather warms (see photo, above).
Hannah wears her black Muckster II Mid boots whenever she works in her garden. “At first, I thought I would only wear these boots when there was rain or standing water (they’re 100 percent waterproof), but they’re so comfortable and versatile that I’ve found myself reaching for them every time I walk out the door.”
Women’s boots start at $84.99, and men’s boots start at $89.99.
Photo courtesy EcoScraps
EcoScraps’ Raised Bed Garden Mix ($9.99 per 22-pound bag) is made from organic plant materials and composted food waste, which they collect from grocery stores and restaurants. They specially formulate the mix to provide drainage and water retention. The organic mix primarily contains processed food waste, pine bark, coir, perlite, and composted yard trimmings — free of animal waste and chemicals.
The founders of EcoScraps are working hard to find ways to reduce the 30 million tons of food waste produced by Americans every year. If you know of a grocery store or restaurant that may be interested in diverting waste from landfills, have them contact the company at Contact@EcoScraps.net or by phone at 800-537-4815.
Is there a garden or kitchen product you can’t live without? Tell us about it! Email a short description to Letters@HeirloomGardener.com and you may see your top tool featured in an upcoming issue.