Wackiest Yard and Garden Products
Sure, they're odd, but these products are also handy in the garden
Take it easy on your back and knees this spring with the Garden Scoot, a steer-able stool that lets you roll from plant to plant. The comfy tractor-style seat adjusts to your preferred height, and an accessory tray mounts beneath the seat to hold tools, seeds, plants, and gloves.
About $70, Gardeners Supply Company
To some, it'll seem ridiculous; to others, essential. The Long-Handled Spider Catcher, a 2-foot shaft with a pistol grip at one end and a ring of soft bristle pincers at the other, grabs a spider from a safe distance and releases it unharmed. The package includes a plastic spider for practice.
About $20, Lee Valley
Rather than renting and wrestling a big, heavy aerator, just strap these spiky soles over your shoes next time you mow the lawn. Twenty 1-1/4-inch spikes penetrate through the turf, opening up the compacted soil beneath and exposing roots to air and water. Of course, when they cost a fraction of the price of the real thing, they only do a fraction of the work.
About $17, Clean Air Gardening Supply
It's an oldie but a goodie—place the two iron prongs of Grandpa's Weeder around a weed, step down on the foot lever, tilt the tool in toward the lever and out comes the weed, root and all. Invented in 1913, the 39-inch-long tool went out of commission during WWII and has recently been rediscovered for all you whippersnappers.
About $28, Garrett Wade
Not only are power hedge clippers dangerous in a sweaty palm, they also make a mess of clippings at the base of your hedges. Solve both problems with the Garden Groom, a kind of Dust Buster for bushes. The smaller "Junior" model concealed blades cut branches less than a half inch in diameter, shredding and storing the waste for the compost pile.
About $150, Gardener Supply Company
Adolescent entrepreneurs, beware: The Automower from Husqvarna, "designed to operate with the absolute minimum human interaction," may severely limit your lawn-mowing income this summer. Working a random pattern between the boundary wires around your yard, the robot mower automatically shuts itself off or returns to its charger when finished. It cuts the lawn rain or shine and handles hills less than 35 degrees.
About $2,300, Husqvarna AutoMower
Sunlight charges the Sunjar's NiCad battery during the day, and when night falls, its three LEDs glow through the jar's frosted glass. Water- and weather-proof, the 4x4x6-inch jar glows in the garden like a trapped firefly (and you don't even have to poke holes in the lid).
About $42, A+R Stores
Regular watering spikes are for squares—give your flowers some serious power with these hand-blown glass mushroom spikes, which deliver up to a cup of water to a plant's root zone during the day. At night, phosphorescent speckles inside the glass begin to glow, giving off up to 4 hours of trippy illumination.
About $20, Gardeners Supply Company
Originally designed as a milking stool, the Wearable Garden Stool straps on like a pig tail to let you squat and spring from plant to plant. Save your back and knees from bending, keep your hands free for picking and planting, and adjust the nylon straps so you can comfortably walk while wearing the device. Just don't expect to look cool.
About $50, Clean Air Gardening Supply
The Nubrella's clear plastic dome stops rain, wind, and snow, and its integral shoulder straps keeps your hands free as you stay dry. While the inventors seem to envision their "game-changing" umbrella making a statement with pedestrians and bikers on city streets, we think it'd be great for yard work in a downpour—say, turning off the sprinklers.
About $50, Nubrella
For those limbs even the pole saw can't reach, consider tossing the High Limb Chain Saw up there to do the cutting. This 48-inch chain saw blade cuts in both directions as you pull it back and forth with a pair of ropes. The trickiest part is getting it up there—we recommend an underhanded lob.
About $50, Green Mountain Products
A little color goes a long way with Zorock decorative stones, a blindingly bright landscape accent that comes in such colors as the California Gold, Caribbean Green, Pacific Blue, and Desert Rose seen here. Let's just hope the neighbors share your sense of aesthetic daring.
See Zorock.com for pricing.
This year, lose the DEET and try Insect Shield instead—an EPA-registered apparel that odorlessly, invisibly resists insects using synthetic permethrin, a natural insect repellent found in chrysanthemum plants.
See InsectShield.com for pricing.
You need a rake, you need a hoe, and you usually need them both at the same time. The inventors of the RakeHoe decided to save you a step and just stick them on a single handle. Chop weeds and break clods with the hoe, then turn the soil and grade the ground with the garden rake.
About $30, New DaVincis
It could be the Aqua Net for leaves: Sprinkle Toro's Leaf Lock on a newly-raked pile, and the corn-based powder forms a thin shell around the leaves to keep them from blowing away. Shower the pile with water to activate the granules, and suddenly they're surrounded by a crunchy shell—think dipped cone at DQ, and you get the idea.
About $10, The Toro Company
For that personality type looking for an eco-friendly way to send stinging insects to a slow death, it's time to meet the Fatal Funnel. To use it, you cut a hole in your old 2-liter soda bottles, pour in the fruit-juice-and-protein attractant, and insert the plastic Fatal Funnel trap into the opening. Once they're in, there's no coming out.
About $3, Fatal Funnel, Inc.
An electrified tennis racket called the Zap-A-Bug might not be the most effective way to suppress the pests this spring, but it's certainly the most fun. Send an overhand smash through a cloud of gnats, give a bumblebee the backhand, or simply electrocute an anthill for the sheer sadistic thrill. Advantage: human.
About $20, Zap-A-Bug
Don't let your birdbath sit stagnant just because it's too cold for your feathered friends to take a dip. Treat them to this heated tub instead, which keeps water from freezing in outdoor temps down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Mount it on a stand, attach it to a railing, or get creative and find a way to add some jets for a little avian Jacuzzi.
See Allied Precision for pricing.