This year it is apparent that time has finally caught up with my sixty-year-old joints, hence my kneeling pad in the yard and garden has become my new best friend, and it occurs to me that there are a few affordable products out there that really do make outdoor work a bit easier.  I have two kneeling pads, former heavy foam stadium cushions left over from my children’s high school days. To me, they’re a proven godsend, as the soil in my yard is rock-hard. They are also fairly waterproof in case you inadvertently leave one out in a summer storm.  These sturdy cushions may be ordered online from any one of the high school websites, and the proceeds will no doubt go to a worthy educational cause.   

Other little treasures include a lightweight garden bench that becomes a portable seat, then when turned over provides a kneeling pad and two “handles” to aid in rising (I found mine at Menard’s against the garden shop interior wall-about $14 on sale).  Although not worth much as a kneeler (it’s a bit too high off the ground and so puts a strain on one’s lower back), it’s still a good “hands up,” a help to anyone who has asthma on these heavy, humid days.  Used as a lightweight seat, however, it is a perfect height for pruning when the shrubs get out of control. I also purchased a smaller-sized plastic garbage can on wheels for $16 at Ace Hardware.  This latter item is so light it feels almost weightless (FYI-you will need the 45 gallon garbage bags to go around the top opening of this cart, or a really stretchy, 39-gallon size). After a few months of usage, I actually prefer this to the yard card I mentioned in an earlier entry here.   

Trellis gardening is looking better and better, as well. The pole beans and climbing cucumbers are clinging to the supports, whipping their trailers a little higher each day, and I know this is going to ensure an easier harvest.  The varieties are all new to me, so time will tell if the climbing varieties are worth the saved effort, but right now, it’s looking good. Initially, I planned this to save space in my small plot, but I realize now this creates yet another bonus; because trellised plants use less soil area, the weeds are easier to control.   

The last to mention here are lightweight, foam-based pots. The Anaheim peppers I stuck in them are flourishing, and they have been easy to move around as the shade to sun ratio becomes apparent around the yard. And here is something I learned from watching our county extension show last week.  Most gardeners know that peppers love the heat, and although I likely knew that soggy soil and cooler soil temperatures would stunt them, it wasn’t until I saw the plants in those foam pots nearly double their size in the same time as those planted in the ground, that I became convinced this is the way to go in our area.  With less surface area to heat, they warm up quicker than the soil.  The peppers planted in the ground look spindly; some even have a few yellowing leaves.  But the ones in those pots appear to be jumping for joy, with blossoms and lots of new growth.  With the wet, late springs we’ve had the past few years, this may be a good way to get those plants out early.  Additionally, they can be moved into the garage fairly easily if a late frost threatens.  Foam pots look like terra cotta or stone, but they are a fraction of the weight.  With the use of a light potting mixture even I can easily lift and move them.  Wait for end of year clearance sales, and save a bundle on their purchase. ~Georgia Totten, Sioux Falls  

 

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