Unique Gardening Tools That are Surprisingly Handy: Plant Sensors, Ergonomic Shovels, and More

Reader Contribution by Kayla Matthews
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Photo by Unsplash/NeONBRAND

Everyone has hobbies in life, but it’s especially rewarding to create things with your own hands. The same joy that makes people paint pictures on canvas and write countless books fuels other activities, like tending to plants and caring for the earth.

A special thrill comes with being self-sufficient and growing a successful garden. You get to know each plant personally while you defend them from pests and drought, ultimately harvesting delicious food or bouquets of gorgeous flowers.

No gardener or homesteader would be complete without the equipment that makes gardening possible. Step up your game this year by checking out seven unique gardening tools that are surprisingly handy. They could make your passion easier without taking away the pride that comes from cultivating life.

1. Get an Ergonomic Shovel

If you’ve laid out a large garden, you know your plants wouldn’t thrive nearly as well without the use of a shovel. This tool makes a home for each of your seedlings, quickly aerating the soil as you go.

You may believe that every shovel is equal, but that’s not true. Look into getting an ergonomic option this year, which will take into account its weight and handle design. Shovels made with fiberglass handles are top-of-the-line since they minimize the weight of the tool without reducing its effectiveness. 

Radius makes great shovels that model this design, as well as HERShovel. Compare models to narrow down which is right for you and your preferred type of gardening.

2. Try an Electronic Plant Sensor

You might feel the creative urge to plant something new this year, but you’re not sure where to put it. It needs a specific amount of sunlight and water, which will change depending on where you on your property.

Electronic plant sensors are garden gadgets that change the game. Stick one next to the seedling you want to monitor, and it will gather information like how often the leaves are in direct sun and how long the soil holds moisture. Easybloom is one of the most popular plant sensor brands you can choose for your garden, along with Gro Water and Parrot. 

3. Build a Compost Tumbler

Part of being self-sustainable is finding new ways to create what you need. If you haven’t tried composting yet, this year may be the time to start.

A compost tumbler holds all your biodegradable materials and rotates them for a thorough decomposition process. Traditional bins make the contents sit in one spot for months on end, while circulation benefits the process. You can build a compost tumbler yourself or look for one online from major brands like Yimby or Envirocycle.

4. Play With an Online Garden Planning Tool

You may feel stuck when you imagine your future garden. You have a variety of plants to choose from, but you’re not sure how to set everything up. Before you reach for your gardening mat and trusty spade, try an online planning tool that allows you to visualize your garden with graphics.

Many homesteaders use the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Garden Planner, Garden Planner Online, and Plan Garden to map out what and where they’ll plant. The right site for you will depend on the size and purpose of what you want to grow.

5. Carry a Fruit Picker Basket

Most people picture small shrubs and flowers when they think of gardening, but fruit trees bloom in gardens as well. Don’t waste time hauling around a ladder and bucket this year when it’s time to harvest. Use a fruit picker basket instead, which quickly plucks ripe fruit from the branch and holds it in a cushioned basket. 

Look for brands such as Flexrake and Ohuhu, something with features like weightless fiberglass handles and poles. The cushioning is also essential to prevent bruising, though you can add it at home if needed.

6. Wield an Electric Weeder

Say goodbye to the days of yanking out weeds with aching knees and a sore back. This year, defeat your garden’s enemies with an electric weeder that takes care of invading plants with infrared heat. The heat makes the weeds explode on a cellular level so that you won’t need chemical-based pesticides.

Compare products from Rittenhouse and Nature Zap to see which work best in your garden. 

7. Set Up a Solar Sprinkler

Another way to ditch pesticides, chemical treatments and electric fences is to use a solar sprinkler around your garden. They gather energy from the sun and turn on when they detect motion. If a raccoon tries to grab a snack in the middle of the night, the device will shoot water at them. 

Many gardeners trust brands like Orbit, Havahart and ScareCrow to get the job done. Test them out for yourself and consider positioning them on multiple spots around your garden to defend it all day.

Find Unique Gardening Tools That Meet Your Needs

Consider the kind of garden you want to grow or currently have in your yard. What do you spend the most time doing, and where could you make things easier? 

A compost tumbler could free you from buying chemical fertilizers. The right plant sensor may be what you need to grow that mysterious new seedling. Think about the cool gardening tools above and decide which would help you the most.

Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living, sustainable consumption, eco-friendly practices and green energy. In the past, her work has also been featured on GRIT, Mother Earth Living, Blue And Green Tomorrow, Dwell and Houzz. To read more from Kayla, follow her productivity and lifestyle blog, Productivity Theory, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here

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