Mother Earth Living

Cool Tools

Several new tools on the market this year make gardening more fun, less stressful and more efficient.
By JIM LONG
February/March 2005

The Carefree Tire is made of a urethane material guaranteed to keep your wheelbarrow from flat tires for its lifetime.
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CAREFREE TIRE

How many times have you been in the mood for some serious garden work, only to find your wheelbarrow has a flat tire? Up to now, there wasn’t a choice: you could either fix the tire or forget about the garden chores. The Carefree Tire changes all that. It’s a lightweight, solid urethane tire that won’t ever go flat and doesn’t require air. The specially formulated urethane material guarantees the tires won’t go flat for the lifetime of the wheelbarrow (or lawnmower or tiller, as there are sizes for those, too). Selling for about $45, this is a cheap way to make sure you don’t miss valuable garden time with flat tires. And just in case you’re someone for whom garden fashion is as important as function, the tire comes in festive, summery colors: blue, green, yellow and red (as well as traditional black). Available at hardware stores and home centers, online at www.Care FreeTire.com or by calling (877) 352-8776. No more flat tires, guaranteed.

BIONIC GLOVES

For gardening, I’ve always used ordinary brown, cotton gloves that cost $1.99. I buy them in packages of 12 pairs and as they wear out, I hang them from my glove tree in the garden. So far, this disposable glove technique has worked fairly well for me, and I didn’t think another glove would get my attention. When I saw these Bionic Gloves at the Garden Writer’s Association trade show this year, I thought, “Oh, great. More gloves. Ho-hum.” Out of curiosity I tried them on and, I admit, I was amazed. Now, you too can become the bionic gardening man or woman.

The Bionic Gardening Glove was designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon not only to improve comfort, but also to improve grip and encourage better hand motion.

What I dislike about gloves is the loss of control for picking up small objects, such as a nail, a rock plucked out of a shoe or a coin on the ground. You usually have to pull the gloves off, pick up the object, deal with it, then put the gloves back on before continuing with your work.

You can easily pick up a coin while wearing these remarkable gloves. They’re made of Cabretta leather, machine washable (yes, really!), have a nifty closing system near the cuff (no more dirt inside your gloves) and they have earned an Ease-of-Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation. If you think all gloves are alike, try the Bionic Gardening Glove and see if your tune changes. They’re not cheap (about $45 to $50) but you won’t need to buy them often. They last and last, and feel great. Even people with arthritis or other inflammatory problems will notice their comfort and ease of use. Available at select garden centers, online at www.BionicGloves.com/gardening or by calling (800) 282-2287, Option 6.

FISKARS POWERGEAR® LOPPER AND BYPASS PRUNER

Every serious gardener I know is a fan of Fiskars’ garden tools, and I’m no exception. Their line of PowerGear® tools was designed to be lightweight, sturdy and easy to use. And they have certainly been that. When I go to the woods to cut materials for my bentwood trellises, I use the PowerGear® Lopper, which only weighs 8 ounces and slips into my belt loop. I take along the PowerGear® Hand Pruner, which will cut anything I run across. I really didn’t believe Fiskars could improve on the PowerGear® line, but this year they’ve outdone themselves with two new products. The PowerGear® Bypass Lopper cuts even better and easier than the older anvil-type lopper. At 12 ounces, it weighs only slightly more and carries the Fiskars lifetime guarantee. The new PowerGear® Bypass Hand Pruner is even lighter than the older pruner. How can it be so amazingly light yet still so strong? The whole thing, except for the stainless steel cutting blade (which can easily be replaced with the twist of a wing nut), is made of Nyglass. Retailing for about $29.95, they’re available at most home and garden stores nationwide.

For more information about the full line of PowerGear® tools and other Fiskars® lawn and garden products, or to find a retailer near you, contact Fiskars’ Garden & Outdoor Living Customer Service Department at (800) 500-4849, or visit www.fiskars.com.


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