Garden supplies and tools you don’t know you need

When you think about things you need to garden, the obvious stuff probably comes to mind. Things like shovels or pruners, maybe a wheelbarrow or planters. Without a doubt, those are all essential garden tools. But what if I told you there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that could make your gardening life easier? Here’s a garden problem solvers you might not be using.

These simple items can make a huge difference in the success of your garden. I’ve included links to each so you can learn more about them. They are affiliate links, so if you purchase anything, I’ll get a small commission. Affiliate links are one of the ways I cover the costs of producing content without resorting to annoying ads.

Organza bags

These bags are sheer, lightweight and cheap. They come in a wide range of sizes and their drawstring makes using them a cinch. So why do you need organza bags for your garden? Good question!

If you’re saving seeds, cover the flower head with an organza bag. Tighten the drawstring and leave it on until the flower has set seeds. The bag keeps the seeds from being blown away or eaten. It also reduces the chances of cross-pollination. And the bag makes collecting the seeds, especially very small seeds, a cinch.

You can even just bag the flower, snip off the stem and put the bag on a drying rack. That’s how I harvest seeds like coriander, dill or lettuce, as well as calendula and other flowers.

Organza bags are also great for protecting larger fruits and vegetables from pests. Got a furry garden visitor snacking on your tomatoes? Try bagging them! Pull the drawstring tight enough to keep the bag in place, but don’t cinch it so tightly it compresses the stem or fruit. It’s best to use bags that are at least 4″x6″.  I have an assortment of sizes on hand, so I always have the size I need.

Shop for organza bags

organza bag for seed saving

Velcro plant ties

There’s plenty of ways to tether a plant to trellises or poles but Velcro plant ties are my favorite. They’re easy to use and very durable. Just buy a roll (it’s cheaper that way) and cut whatever length you need. The best part of Velcro ties, in my opinion, is how easy it is to adjust them as needed. Just pull the Velcro apart and loosen or tighten. Easy peasy.

Unlike string ties or ropes, the Velcro doesn’t stretch or dig into the plants. And it doesn’t snap or rip, making it a great choice for windier areas.

Thought Velcro ties are pretty strong, they’re not usually strong enough on their own to hold up large plants, like vining tomatoes. While those sorts of big plants might need sturdy rope or wire to keep them trellised, the Velcro ties can help hold smaller branches and vines in place.

Small plant stakes

Garden structures like trellises, arbors and tomato stakes get a lot of press. That’s understandable, since they’re garden workhorses. But don’t underestimate how useful smaller garden stakes are.

I use these 1/2″ stakes all the time! They’re the perfect height for supporting pepper plants and other shorter vegetables. They work great to hold up chicken wire for a temporary fence – just weave the stake through the holes and push them into the ground. Use them with the Velcro ties to help train and support vines and branches that escape larger cages and trellises. I’ve also used them to support or secure shade cloth or floating row covers.

While these stakes can be part of full season plant support, I use them mostly as short-term solutions. They’re very easy to put in and remove from the ground, unlike bigger stakes.

These stakes come in a variety of lengths, from 2-4 feet. I’ve found the 3 and 4 foot stakes are the most useful. Be sure to buy stakes with metal cores. The hollow plastic stakes aren’t very durable and bend very easily.

using stakes in the garden to make a temporary fence

Recommended Plant Stakes

Pop up mesh tent

I originally bought a pop-up mesh tent as a run for my chickens. It was great for that purpose but now that they’ve outgrown it, I’ve found a whole new use for it. In fact, it’s so useful as a garden tool that I bought a second.

Ever set out plants, especially tender new seedlings, only to find them chomped to the ground the next day? Or maybe you’ve carefully packed cuttings into soil  propagate new plants and had squirrels or birds gleefully dig them all out? In short, if you’ve ever lost plants to pests (insect or four-legged), get a pop-up.

The mesh means the plants still get plenty of light and rain, though both are diffused slightly. That can actually be a benefit for tender plants or plants that don’t love full, intense sun.

You can either cover a planted bed with a mesh pop-up or designate the pop-up as a sort of ‘plant nursery’ and put it in an out-of-the-way area. I’ve used mine both ways.

In the early season, the pop-up is great for protecting cabbage or broccoli from the dreaded cabbage looper. It can also protect lettuce and greens from rabbits. The frame is sturdy enough to support very lightweight cloth, making it easy to protect plants from frost.

My favorite way to use my pop-up is as a place to propagate perennial herbs and plants. Cuttings root best when they aren’t subjected to intense sun, so I just tuck the pop-up into a slightly shady pot and put my pots of cutting in it. They’re safe from curious squirrels, rabbits and birds and can form nice strong roots. In this same vein, the pop-up is a great place to harden off seedlings before planting them.

You can buy pop-ups with both side and top zippered openings and they come in a couple of sizes. I use the largest size as a cover on my raised beds and the smaller size as my nursery.

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