In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
December, 2006
Regional Report

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Ideas are plentiful for adapting tools to make gardening more comfortable.

Comfortable Resolutions

My December decisions include: What New Year's resolutions should I make for myself and the landscape? Well, I'm resolved to have a more comfortable garden in 2007, and here's how.

Gripping News
In the past five years, I have tried numerous kinds of ergonomically engineered tools. Each design has its good points and less useful attributes, and I've learned how to go easy on wrists and hands. I grab the fat-handled trowel and ratcheting pruners already, but I may have to adapt my own rakes. A recent educational display caught my eye for its simplicity and low cost. The long gray tubes with slits used to insulate pipe also fit around most hand tool handles. Secured with duct tape or packing tape, they offer a thicker surface that's easier to grip and softer to hold. My plan is to try it on garden and leaf rake handles and practice better posture for less strain raking those late-falling red oak leaves.

Hands and Knees
Padding and pliability are the keys to success in both gloves and items designed to ease stress on knees while gardening. The glove world has expanded in materials, but if you have not shopped in years, be prepared to try on an amazing array. Knees are a large concern of mine, and should be yours, too, since problems with those joints can affect your back, hips, and more. This year I will learn more about seated gardening and resolve to "try on" a rolling stool and a rocking seat.

Smart Comfort
Most gardeners resolve to use insect repellant and sunscreen, but even those who do can forget to reapply it as needed. Better products, finer hats, and specially designed clothing are on my list, along with a reminder to myself to use them. Thanks to great doctoring, I am blessed with friends who survived skin cancer and West Nile virus. They "nudge" me, and herewith I'm nudging you: Give gifts for more comfortable gardening, and put yourself on that list, too.


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