What kind of tool carrier do you use?

lou_texas(8a N Central TX)January 30, 2014

I'm interested in knowing what you use to carry your gardening tools around with you. I'm most interested in something that you'd wear on the move like an apron or tool belt. I'd like to be free to walk around in the beds w/o a carry-all and be able to snip something or tie up something on the spot and not have to backtrack to find the carry-all. It's difficult for me to be climbing in and out of my raised beds often because I'm having balance problems. I think I'm going to have to start carrying a cane with me. But then that's another thing to keep up with.

Most of the gardening aprons I've seen are kind of flimsy to be weighted down with pruners, shears, knives, and the like, and when you bend forward, they flop forward. If your tools aren't secured, they fall out. Some are made of heavy canvas or leather and might be less floppy. I'm thinking that maybe with elastic at the top of the pocket the tools wouldn't fall out. (?)

Perhaps a tool belt would be better, but they seem so heavy and awkward around the waist. Do most of you wear your pruners in a holster? What about carrying other tools in a holster?

Do any of you wear something loosely fitted like a fisherman's vest with lots of pockets for cell phone and twine, but one that also has sturdy pockets large enough for pruners and diggers? Or do you have something with loops to hold this kind of tool?

I'm always putting my pruners and scissors in my pants pockets, but most of them aren't made of sturdy jeans material and don't last well because of the pointed ends of the tools.

Or do you just carry your 'bucket' of tools everywhere you walk and find that's the easiest?

Thanks, Lou

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Campanula UK Z8

Oh, i am completely hopeless - a dreadful proportion of my time is spent walking up and down the length of the plot picking up this or that, losing stuff willy-nilly, wearing holes in my pockets (secateurs). Get all the way to one end only to have to go all the way back to pick up daisy grubber.....on and on. Of course, I have various tool carriers - baskets, holsters, wheelbarrow.....but these get left at one end of the plot too...or hiding under a bush.....or still in the shed....or hanging off a post.
It's all a hopeless task (although there is usually an enjoyable treasure hunt every March when the lost tools of the season are revealed from under the plant debris and chaos). I have many multiples of things like trowels, grubbers, rakes and hoes.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 5:37PM
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PortlandMysteryRose(8)

Campanula, you are such a kick! I think most of us garden like that at least a chunk of the time. I usually begin with, "I'm just stepping into the garden for a minute to...." I end up at the far end of the bed with tools scattered everywhere. My tools are all tagged with shocking pink or orange ties, thank goodness. Little life vests in a sea of green.

Lou, I have always found gardening aprons rather flappy and awkward. I do use a tool belt with holsters for sharp, accidents-waiting-to-happen devices such as Felcos. Several unpleasant incidents finally persuaded me to follow safety first principles when gearing up with weapons. I carry other hand tools in a galvinzed bucket. If I suddenly find myself confronted with an extra pile of stuff to remove to the compost bin or weed pile, I can always evict the tools, fill and dump the bucket, and then replace the tools. Multipurpose tool caddy. Large tools tend to end up stuck in various locations around the garden, standing upright. I deposit them blade and tine down after years of clumsy stunts worthy of the label "slapstick."

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 7:02PM
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porkpal zone 9 Tx

I use the pocket/bucket technique, but I like the idea of a fisherman's vest!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 8:52PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

My pockets and I end up with low rider shorts. Good thing none of the neighbors ever comes outside.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:03PM
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seil zone 6b MI

The problem I have with most tool belts is that it really isn't easy to get the tools out or back into the slots. So they end up all over the ground like Camps and I have to got hunting for them I've had the best luck using a big kitty litter bucket and just dropping them in that when I'm done with them. At least that way I know there in there somewhere when I want them. I usually carry my pruners in the back pocket of my jeans because they go in and out easy there. Only problem is they eventually put a hole in the pocket, lol!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:48PM
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melissa_thefarm(NItaly)

Pants pockets, and a bucket for the bigger tools and the odds and ends. Front left pocket, gloves; back left pocket, pruners (sharp end up); front right pocket, mostly debris; back right pocket, depends on the job to be done. Sometimes when I'm labeling or taking cuttings, I cut the ties beforehand and put them through a belt loop, though they can get lost. The bucket works better than a bag slung over the shoulder, as the bag is too limp. My record on keeping pruners is not as good as I'd like it to be, and I lose them (fortunately not TOO often) in ways that are absolute mysteries. But I'm really bad about trowels. It's worth getting good plastic ones because they don't decay even if they stay out in the garden for a year, and usually they turn up again one day.
Melissa

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 2:07AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

This is a problem for us too. The men's work tool belts seem to be so stiff and have things hanging where they are hard for some ladies to reach. We have a hillside garden so that only makes the trudge up the hill to the tools worse. But we have a variety of items to make it work.

#1 are the two green plastic 4 wheeled smaller sized wheelbarrows. They have a nice bin by the handle for tools and of course the main bed for holding the big tools on the way out and then filled with tools on top for the way back watch for them in the $12 -$20 range at the "green Friday" home depot sale

#2 is one of the sit on top rolling seats that has tool space under the seat. This is great when you know you will be working down a row

#3 we use buckets too, only smaller ones usually 1 or 2 gallon buckets so things do not get too lost

#4 the last thing we have is a tool caddy, black Friday $2 deal, that is set up for gardening with things like 6-1 screw drivers, wire cutters, pliers, scissors, pens, twine etc. The caddy fits nicely on the garden cart bed

Hope that helps with ideas

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:26AM
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rosefolly

My DH Tom built me a wooden trug that I just love. We saw some fancy ones at the SF Garden Show, but I wanted a plain one. We painted it green.

Rosefolly

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 1:53PM
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everyrose(z7-8 pnw)

I got the Women's Gardening Utility Vest from Duluth Trading. It is a little pricey but it is well made and just the ticket. There are pockets for everything--pruners, twine, snips, pencil, cell phone, gloves etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Duluth Vest

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:05AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Tool belts? Gardening implements? This thread again confirms that I'm not a "real" gardener. My Felco pruners sit on the bench in front of the dining room French doors and I carry them with me in my hand when I'm using them. Rakes, shovels, saws etc. are stored at the short back end of the house where the wild bunnies hang out under the trees and hedge and no one else ever goes. I don't wear gloves either. Come planting time (which I'm just about done with) my husband drags out needed items from the back and then puts them back. Obviously many of you have a much more hands-on approach to gardening and do what has to be done yourselves. With only about 70 roses now, many of which are young, there actually isn't that much to do. I suspect not having climbers also cuts down on labor considerably. I really admire the hard work that many of you put in to maintain your gardens and increase their beauty over time.

Ingrid

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 1:02PM
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ratdogheads(5b NH)

I use a fanny pack that has a couple of separate zippered compartments, and I put my felco holster on the strap. Inside I keep a pair of light gloves, my little snippers, usually a few pieces of velcro tape. I hang it by the door and clip it on whenever I head into the garden.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 3:10PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Everyrose, that is an interesting looking vest, thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 3:44PM
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growing_rene(7a/b)

I have a make shift area where I keep a basket of all of my supplies. I too only go out to tend to one item, but get carried away once I spot something else that needs my attention. This is when I put down whatever I was using, only to get one more tool for my next quick tidying up opportunity. Then, the next rose calls me and I linger over there until I completely forget my original assignment. I am still missing a pair of sheers, I do believe they are forever gone. I am surprised I have as many items left as I do.
I would like one of those cute gardening totes to keep everything together but that vest, Everyrose gave the link to, is very cute!
In short, I am all over the place.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 8:47PM
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jardineratx

I carry my tools in a 5-gallon plastic paint bucket and my daughter gifted me gardening pants from Duluth that have pockets for my phones (cell and cordless house phone) midway down the outer leg. Of course, projects requiring hoes, shovels, rakes, etc., means I bring out my "lil red wagon".
Molly

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 8:58PM
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Evenie

Mostly I walk around with my machete in-hand and clippers in my back pocket. I'm sure I look look a lunatic, but it keeps my neighbors in check.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:22PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

hehehe Love it Evenie

I have a machete or two......

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:01AM
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jeannie2009

I use a wagon. My DH built a tray for the top that has holes built in so that a lg rake and shovel can be affixed lengthwise. On top are places for Felco's, gloves, etc.
I've gotten in the habit of just taking it with me. I always seem to spend more time than planned in the garden. Love it that the weeds are immediately removed.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:08AM
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gothiclibrarian(5b)

I carry a bucket...then I end up finding weeds that go into the bucket and my tools end up pitched to the ground..lastly I forget where they were carelessly tossed.

This year I am totally making myself a tunic-y thing from recycled fabric...I have so many vintage patterns but can you believe I don't have a good one for a heavy-duty apron? (I've been saying I'm going to do this for years, don't hold your collective breaths.)

Cheers!
~Anika

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:13AM
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lou_texas(8a N Central TX)

Thank you all for replying. You've given me some ideas and firmed up some others. I had researched what I could find on the web before I wrote to you. I saw the vest you mentioned, Everyrose; I was really drawn to it and may yet get it. I also cked out the images of gardening aprons and the like that people have made for themselves. Most were so flimsy that I swear the people who made them do NOT garden like we do. I also saw one that had been converted from a canvas tote bag that had possibilities. I like that some vests and aprons had elastic at the top of the pockets to keep everything contained.

Another thought that I had was of my dad in his carpenter's overalls years ago. The loop for the hammer was so convenient that I'm sure I could incorporate that idea by adding on a loop or two to anything I finally decide to use.

Up to now I've done like most of you, roaming around with the pruners in my pocket and then backtracking to the carryall for anything else I need. I'd still be content with that I think if I hadn't had trouble keeping my balance while climbing in and out of raised beds. Now I want to carry most of what I need on me with a cane in one hand and a shovel in the other.

I remember one fall I had where I couldn't get up (legs too weak and knees too stiff to get my feet under me so I could change my center of gravity and stand up. Really bad arthritis in the knees prevent me from kneeling prior to standing up. So what was I going to do since I was down on my butt and couldn't get up? I finally 'walked' on my bottom across the grass, then across the patio, and then inside the house and across the carpet until I found something low enough to hoist my butt onto it while pulling up with my arms, but also high enough and sturdy enough to enable me to lean forward enough to get my weight over my feet. This handy place turned out to be the raised brick hearth. Once I had my bottom on the hearth and my feet under my weight, I could stand. Don't want to go through that again so I'm getting a walking stick or cane to help me stay balanced while getting into and out of the beds. Believe me, I was wondering the whole time if any of the neighbors were watching me and cracking up. But you gotta do what you gotta do to remain independent.

I like the idea of a fanny pack with a holster added to the strap. And I like the idea of a wagon with specific spaces for tools. I could also keep a large weed receptacle on the wagon. And I see how holes or fasteners on the wagon would help keep steady the rake, hoe, shovel, etc. Mine always fall off the wheelbarrow en route to their destination.

I think I've decided which direction to go - can't tell you when I'll get it put together. Over the weekend I found a large and wide, heavy canvas tote bag with good straps and a large pocket across the outside. I'd like to take out the side seams and convert this to an apron or vest-type thing, anchored by the straps so it wouldn't flop forward when I bend over. I want the big pocket over my abdomen rather than flopping against my legs. And I don't want the heavy tools pulling on the neck strap so I checked out other ways of fastening the apron. Here is a good illustration of doing away with the neck loop and using over the shoulder straps that are crossed and looped through grommets before being tied. I think I could use velcro at the end of the straps and on the sides of the apron rather than having to tie the thing behind my back. Click on the back-view photo to see the entire thing. http://artifactbags.com/products/indigo-white-tape-1

I'd also like to velcro the big pocket at the opening and then add some loops and maybe a few smaller pockets. If I can get it just right, I think it might be my favorite gardening convenience, and the canvas is so heavy it will probably outlast me.

If I get this accomplished, I'll learn how to post pics of it. Thanks again for your responses that helped me think this through. Lou

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Evenie

If your neighbors were watching, and laughing rather than helping, you might just live next to people more obnoxious than my neighbors. I'm glad to hear that you were ok.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 4:11PM
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shuffles_gw

I don't do this, but someone mentioned putting a large mailbox in a strategically located spot and keeping some tools in there.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 4:53PM
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melissa_thefarm(NItaly)

Good luck, Lou! Your determination is wonderful!
Melissa

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:31PM
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lou_texas(8a N Central TX)

Thank you, Melissa and Evenie.

Shuffles, I do have a mailbox in the back yard just for this purpose. It has come in handy many times when my tool carrier is somewhere else. It a good suggestion; I should keep more small tools in there so it would be even more handy. Lou

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 12:18PM
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cath41(6a)

Lou,

I was given a kneeler for Christmas one year. When turned upside down, it is a low seat. It might be low enough, if stable enough, to get your butt up on so you do not have to scoot all the way into your house. You should make deep pockets for your apron. Short front pockets on women's jeans are a pet peeve. They always used to be deep enough. Now the pruners fall out. What gives?

Also, although jeans pockets do eventually get holes at the tip from carrying tools, especially scissors, I just turn the tool upside down and keep going. The handle end is broad enough to not breech the hole.

When tying up, the ball of twine goes in my left pocket. Since I start with the end of the twine from the middle of the ball, the twine feeds smoothly without rolling the ball around. Then the scissors go in my right pants pocket and I'm good to go all day. Diggers and pruners go in the right pants pocket. I can usually carry two out of three tools there as long as the clothes manufacturers aren't stingy and making short pockets. The left pants pocket carries dog treats to keep the puppy (12 years old) where she needs to be.

I use a 10 gallon bucket (I think it held grout at one time) for tools. This is kept next to where I walk out the large garage door and so is easily picked from, especially since all tools, including a small landscape saw, are set in vertically. There are enough tools to keep everything upright. I seldom bring the whole bucket. I use other 5 and 10 gallon buckets, which all have handles that can be slung over the handle of the wheelbarrow or the handle of a shovel being carried over my shoulder, to carry fertilizer and a few plants that need planting or for picking weeds.

Cath

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I forgot to add that I bought, on clearance, a bucket organizer similar to the one in the link (for under $10)

It has more large sized pockets for tools and a wrap for the handle. I have a drop in organizer tray for drip parts, but think I want one that sits higher in the bucket. And I have a rounded top so I can sit on the bucket too

Here is a link that might be useful: Bucket organizer

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 11:25AM
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PortlandMysteryRose(8)

Lou

I've seen some kind of a scooty bench/stool/cart/tool holder contraption that might serve several purposes at once. I think Gardener's Supply or Plow and Hearth carries it. Arthritis hits early in my family. It began to invade in my back and such as soon as I turned 40. Tiger Balm is good and that scooty thing sure looks promising.... Carol

This post was edited by PortlandMysteryRose on Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 22:51

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 10:49PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

The height of sophistication:

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 12:51PM
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lou_texas(8a N Central TX)

Cath, you've given me several good ideas to consider. Thanks for being so detailed. You know, I've never thought about hanging a bucket of tools on the handle of the wheelbarrow. But why not? How do you carry your shovel? Over your shoulder with your hands on the wheelbarrow? I guess you have the shovel blade laying in the wheelbarrow with the handle on your shoulder. I can see that. You certainly have thought it all out well.

Kippy, I like the pocket organizer for your bucket. And then, maybe you put the weeds in the bucket. (?) I usually have to have a larger container for things I pull up or cut off, but I'm going to see about getting one of those. I've seen them advertised, but hadn't heard from anyone that they work well.

Carol, I've also seen the scooters that hold tools. I didn't get one because I need to get into and out of the raised beds so often. I can see how it would work well on a fairly flat surface, though. Tiger Balm, huh? I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.

And Harryshoe, it may not be sophisticated, but if it does the job, that's all you need. BTW, how exactly do you use the miniature pick ax thing? What do you use it to do?

Thanks, y'all. Lou

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 2:58PM
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prairielaura(6b)

Lou, I just want to say that when I grow up I want to be just like you...and we are probably not so far apart in age at that.
There are a lot of different scooty things out there. Surely one would be helpful. Or maybe a castoff motorized kid toy? (Getting an image of a matron lady in a Barbie jeep; I've ridden in one, and I've seen them at Wallymart.) The Gardener's Supply catalog has a lot of different vehicles, and I'm sure there are others.
Long may you wave!!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:00PM
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rosefolly

This is the garden trug my husband Tom made for me. I just love it.

Folly

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 8:27PM
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cath41(6a)

Lou,

It's either or. Either I hang the bucket from the wheel barrow handle if there is insufficient room in the wheelbarrow (usually) with the shovel lying in the wheelbarrow with the handle paralleling the wheelbarrow handle, or if I am not using the wheelbarrow, I can hang the bucket from the shovel, near the bade end with both the bucket and blade behind me. It isn't so much that I have thought it out (but thank you for the compliment). It is more like taking the line of least resistance over a long period of time.

If you have raised beds, can you just sit on the edge or are they too large to reach everythiing?

Cath

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 1:28AM
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gothiclibrarian(5b)

I know that those scooty things were at Target last year because my brother got me one. (So I'm sure they're everywhere :D)

It even has a drink holder. Which made it hard to, you know, scoot safely...but a drink holder!

Worked great for the week I had it before my kids seemed to be getting more use out of it than myself and I gave it to them.

I am totally motivated to sew some aprons for myself now.

If anyone else is like me and likes vintage patterns, you're (generally) looking for something called a "cobbler apron" that is usually designed to be constructed sturdily enough with a heavier fabric to have the ability to carry weights in the pockets.

Cheers!
~Anika

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 11:00AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Lou,
The garden pick has many uses. It makes short work of stubborn weeds, pries out rocks and it easily makes small planting holes for annuals. Plus DW has found that a few well-places shots to the head will quickly get my attention.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 11:42AM
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