The height of the spring gardening season is fast approaching. Here are some new products to make your tasks a bit easier.
Many homeowners struggle to keep their landscapes lush as they battle the blazing Florida sun and insufficient rainfall. Because much of the area's soil is sandy, frequent watering is often necessary to keep plants healthy. But now, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties are restricted to once-a-week watering.
We've seen potting soils with amendments to help retain moisture. Soil2O works similarly, and can be applied to your landscape or container gardens as a soil "conditioner" when planting, or applied to soil around existing plants.
Soil2O increases the soil's ability to retain water, reducing the need for frequent irrigation. It holds 400 times its weight in water and nutrients, then gradually releases them to the plants.
Mix the granular form into the soil with new plantings. The powder form can be used for topical application for established plants. $3 and up for granular form, $2 and up for the powdery amendment for established landscape and container plants. Soil2O.com
Radius Garden 6-Piece Ergonomic Hand Tool Set
These hand tools, made of lightweight aluminum, have an ergonomic stress-free grip. Perfect for digging, planting, potting and weeding. $50 at amazon.com
Peel Away Pot Kits
These reusable fabric pots "air-prune" roots for a healthier plant to transplant. The self-watering tray keeps the soil moist. The sides, which are fastened with Velcro, peel away so the tender plant isn't disturbed when planting. The pots are washable, reusable and store flat. The kit includes three pots, in red or brown, and a self-watering tray. $25. gardeners.com
CompoSpin Home Composter
No, this isn't the Death Star. The 50-gallon CompoSpin Composter makes composting easy. Just open the twist-lock top and add your greens and other organic scraps. The microbes will start creating their own internal heat while the air tubes continuously feed them.
The base has ball bearings to make tumbling the ball easy. When the compost is ready, roll the ball to your garden plot to feed your plants. $180. brookstone.com
Atlas NT370 Nitrile Garden and Work Gloves
These nitrile-coated gloves are puncture and chemical resistant, and they are machine washable. They feel natural and are ergonomically shaped. $8. amazon.com
Fiskars 30-inch Cut and Grab Lopper
If you've ever been hit by a branch you just trimmed with a lopper, you'll love this tool from Fiskars.
The Cut and Grab Lopper uses a clamp that holds the branch that's being cut, so you can direct where the branch falls (hint, away from you). It's also great to cut thorny branches and remove them without having to reach in and suffer scratches.
The lopper portion has compound action levers that make it easier to sever the branch. It comes with a lifetime warranty. $40. www2.fiskars.com/shop-products/loppers
Fiskars Quantum Bypass Pruner
Another Fiskars tool is the Quantum professional-quality bypass pruner. It incorporates Scandinavian designs, and has an ultra-sharp low-friction stainless steel blade that cuts with less resistance and stays sharp. The blade tension is adjustable. Natural cork covers the lightweight aluminum handles to makes it lighter and more comfortable. $80. www2.fiskars.com/shop-products/quantum-pruning-tools/quantum-bypass-pruner