This story was originally published in the Chicago Tribune Prime Time senior living section.
Buying new gardening gadgets can be as much fun as gardening, with so many nifty products designed to make it easier and more enjoyable. Here are some gadgets that will help you continue gardening well into your golden years.
1. Themed seed kits
Plant Theatre is a UK company that promises to make your garden dramatic with its clever seed starter samplers called Plant Theatre Kits. These clever, all-in-one seed starter kits are designed around a theme. For example, “Psychedelic Salad” contains seeds for five multicolored vegetables: Lemon Cucumber, Red Lettuce, Golden Detroit Beet, Red Globe Bunching Onions and Fiesta Radishes. Other kits include the Cocktail Garden Kit, which includes tasty herbs that can be added to drinks, plus 18 original cocktail recipes to try. The Gourmet Flower Kit has six types of edible flowers. Each kit comes with peat pots, peat discs, and plant markers to start your seeds indoors. The kits retail for $14.99-$18.99 each at Amazon.com. One of these kits would make a great gift for your favorite gardener!
2. Ergonomic digging tool
Handigger by Good Dirt was made in Sweden to make planting easier and more comfortable than using a hand trowel. It was ergonomically designed to make it easy to scoop dirt toward you, rather than away from you, which is a more natural motion. The versatile, hard plastic digging and scooping tool can be used to break up clumps in the soil, dig a hole to plant a flower, then smooth the soil after planting. The Handigger is available at Amazon.com for $15.95.
3. Ratchet pruners
Designed by a senior couple who ran a tree nursery for years, these pruners are tailor made for those with restricted hand mobility. They are ergonomically designed to cut with very little hand effort. The three-stage ratcheting mechanism inside the tool does the work, so you don’t have to squeeze very hard to cut a thick stem. A soft rubber hand grip is part of the ambidextrous handle design. A detachable oiled sponge cleans the replaceable hardened carbon steel blade, preventing rust and disease. The hardened carbon steel blade is replaceable. The lightweight aluminum construction prevents rust. Sold by The Gardener’s Friends on Amazon.com for $39.95.
4. Garden scooter
The Deluxe Tractor Scoot by Gardeners Supply Company is a top rated, durable metal garden scooter that allows you to plant and weed from a seated position, eliminating the need to squat or crawl along the ground as you go. The Tractor Scoot has a swivel seat that adjusts up and down, and special wheels that don’t get stuck in the soil as you move along. The handle can be used to pull and maneuver the Scoot or as a support to help you stand up. There is a convenient tray beneath the seat for tools, and a basket on the back that fits a 5 gallon bucket, sold separately. The Scoot comes in red, green and blue. It retails for $89.95 at Gardeners.com.
5. Elevated garden beds
Elevated garden beds are the perfect way to garden while completely avoiding bending or kneeling of any kind. Elevated beds are counter-height troughs on legs, which enable gardeners to stand upright while working at them. When buying an elevated wooden bed, look for a company such as Gronomics, which uses long-lasting wood (western red cedar) that will not rot quickly, and offers a warranty on the wood. Gronomics elevated beds assemble in minutes with no tools. They are excellent for small patios, decks, condos and apartments. Gronomics elevated garden beds that range in size from 18-inches wide by 34-inches long to 34-inches wide by 48-inches long. Buy them online at garden retailers such as HomeDepot.com starting at $163.99 with free shipping.