5 Super Handy Do-It-Yourself Garden Tools

1. Garden Tote

How many times do you find yourself marching out to the garden like a pack horse, with your arms laden with hand tools? More often than not, you still have to return to the shed for more supplies. With a little ingenuity and a few items you probably have around the house, you can create your own garden tote to store all your garden "must have's".

Round up a canvas carpenter's belt (the kind with a large pocket) and gather together all the hand tools you regularly use. Measure the width of each and add on 1 more inch. Use a pen to mark the sections on your belt pocket. Double stitch along the pen marks, creating several pockets for the various tools. 

Get a small bucket or old cat litter pail, perfect for holding weeds, gloves or other items and tie the belt around the bucket. Next time you work in the garden, just grab your tote and go.

For a variation on this idea, use bungee cords to attach the bucket to a golf cart or luggage dolly, and place shovels or other large items in the bucket and wheel them around easily.

2. Knee Pad

Be kind to your tender knees by using a knee pad when you head out to the garden. Grab an old Styrofoam camping mattress and cut it to size, or go to your local carpet dealer and ask him for some old samples.

3. Plant Supports

Get your sprawling plants in check by providing a support system that's built right into your planter. Begin with a medium sized container. Drive five 1 by 1 inch stakes or bamboo stems into the soil until they protrude about 4 feet. Plant your tomato or other climbing plant in the center of the pot. Get nylon twine and wind it around the stakes in a star shape in 6 inch rows. As your plant grows and develops fruit, it will have plenty of support for all those unruly stems.

4. Planter's Pal

This is a handy little device to make planting seedlings a breeze. In fact, once you've used it a couple times, you'll wonder how you ever gardened without it. Begin with a piece of wood measuring four inches wide and four feet long. Leave one edge flat, or bevel it at a 45 degree angle. You can actually get the lumber store to cut it for you. Along the other edge, mark "V" notches every six inches. Alternate the notches big and small. Make the first one about one inch in depth and the second about 2 inches and repeat.
When you're ready to plant, press the flat side of the board into the dirt, making a narrow channel for your seeds. Lay down the board on its side with the notches facing away from you. Use the notches to help you with spacing, and plant your seeds.

5. Sprinkler Stand

This is a simple method of making your oscillating sprinkler even more efficient. Begin an in-ground sprinkler that has a stake and spigot attached to it. Get a bamboo pole and two plastic fasteners. 

Depending on the type of plants you're watering, cut the bamboo pole. It should be 2 to 3 feet for low growing plants and vegetables and 4 to 6 feet for tall flowers or shrubs. Push the pole into the ground at least 8 inches, place the metal spigot from the sprinkler against the top of the pole, and fasten with plastic strips. Attach the hose and water away.

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