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The Right Equipment in the Right Place

Soil dropped on one of the decorative rocks in my garden? Ants mounding sand up over the inch-tall leaves of Arabis sturii? I don't wear out my garden gloves so fast now that I keep a whisk broom in my garden tools. Somewhere I even found a plastic one; so I don't worry about it rotting, especially when I mislay it — like now. (Where was the last place I used that thing?!)

For keeping tools at hand you can buy little racks you wheel around, pants with loops sewn in, holsters and aprons and belts with pockets and loops... even a sort of apron which goes around a bucket, and a cushion to top the bucket: voila! storage plus seating. For the big stuff, I use my all-purpose garden cart; for hand tools I keep two sets — one on our side-front porch, one in the garden shed in the back yard — in easy-to-carry baskets.

Several years ago I bought a potting table, to reduce bending over. I put it out behind the garden shed, by the compost bins. Still I seldom bothered to pick up a plant I'd just dug and carry it to the table; it always seemed easier to put it in a pot on the ground next to the hole I'd dug it out of.

However I just noticed there are a fair number of potting jobs I've been doing on the floor of the porch. So now the table has moved there. Buckets of compost and soil sit in the shelf under the worksurface; my tool basket, a basket of garden gloves, and a basket for miscellaneous stuff look pretty on the little high shelf. Having it right next to the kitchen door makes potting not only pain free — but tempting.

The first time I used it here, I went straight from cooking, wearing a bib-front apron. When I saw its front covered with dirt, I thought about all the clothes I've scrubbed to make them presentable after wearing them gardening. If an apron comes out of the wash with stains still on it, I don't care. Aprons get in the way when I'm bent over, but now I'm potting standing up.

Having one great piece of equipment — the table — in the right place, helped me discover the right place for another — an apron.

© Copyright 2003 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publishing papers on Friday, 23 May 2003

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