Well the weather is still deeply disappointing here. I look on Instagram and see photos of daffodils, anemones, primroses and even some tomatoes beginning to flower! And then I look out the window and see grey, brown, damp and a chicken coop slowly turning into s a swimming pool. I must keep reminding myself that even without the grim wintery weather, our growing season is a good 2-4 weeks behind many other parts of the UK…
While I wait out this particular wintry blast (yep, it’s actually snowing again here) I thought I’d share with you some of by best bits of kit – the gardening tools I love the most or find indespensible.
- Thermal gardening gloves. I have quite dry skin and these have been a hand-saver all winter – I’m still using them now while the weather is still a bit on the nippy side. They’re lined with soft, cosy material and genuinely keep my fingers warm. This makes them a bit thicker so they’re not ideal for fiddly jobs but for general digging, moving, lifting bags of compost or whatever they’re great and fairly waterproof too so your hands don’t freeze off when the hose drips all over the place.
- Wooden tools. I love these mainly because they’re a thing of beauty. I am drawn to certain materials – wood, corduroy and I’m a total sucker for tan leather. I love these so much I bought matching loppers and shears. I wish I could say I have a set of well-loved wooden-handled tools handed down by a relative or the head gardener of a huge estate, but these were simply bargains in TK Maxx! They may not have the heritage but they look wonderful and I feel like I will care for them more because of it. Hand tools tend to end up a bit rusty and rickety for me – I will confess I don’t usually clean and sharpen them regularly the way you’re supposed to. These look so simple and refined it’ll be easy to give them a wipe down or sharpen them up – I’m sure of it!
- Propagator This model is a 52 cm Stewart Essentials electric propagator which I picked up for just over £20 during the last Black Friday sale. It’s not thermostatically controlled but as I use the rear sun room as a sort of indoor greenhouse it keeps my seeds at a good temperature for germination in a room where the temperature can fluctuate quite a lot, especially at night when it’s pretty cold. I am currently trying to germinate my pelargonium seeds in there and they’re taking AGES. I’ve also have very limited success with astrantia – only two seedlings so far. But I think this is down to my choice of tricky-to-grow plants rather than the propagator! I’m not very patient and need the space in that propagator for other seeds so I think I will very soon cut my losses and move these out in favour of something that will grow much easier.
- Boots. These are my beloved and very scruffy gardening boots. I’ve had them for years, they’re still reasonably comfy but not very waterproof. However when I’m wearing them I feel in ‘gardening mode’ – I feel like I can dig and sow and weed and do garden-y things because I’m in my Gardening Boots.
- iphone. Truly indespensible in the garden for me. Obviously it’s useful if anyone needs to get hold of me, I also take photos to post to my Instagram feed, check sowing times or names of plants, or for various bits of gardening advice if I come across something I’m unsure about. I also really love to listen to podcasts while I’m in the garden or greenhouse, and my podcast library is rapidly expanding – everything from Gardeners’ Question Time to Womens Hour to Adam Buxton to On The Ledge. I’ve added quite a few more gardening podcasts recently, including this new one from Andrew O’Brien and Laeticia Maklouf. I find them so useful and interesting – I like to absorb more garden knowledge through my ears and into my brain as I’m getting my hands dirty in the soil!