Brilliant gardening trousers and other useful kit
I had never considered buying gardening trousers.
Because I work from home, I garden in short snatches and stolen moments. I didn’t think it would be worth changing trousers just to spend fifteen minutes weeding.
Gardening trousers – surely – are for people who spend hours gardening? Or professional gardeners?
So when I was given a pair of gardening trousers for review by Genus, I was somewhat wary. It’s difficult to know whether something is worth reviewing until you’ve tried it. And I wouldn’t want to write about any product unless I have tried it and think it’s good. Of course, even then, it’s only my opinion – but at least it’s based on using the product regularly in a middle-sized garden.
So while I never guarantee a review, I try not to accept anything unless I feel reasonably sure it will be something worth recommending.
But that can be a Catch-22. I could find myself just reviewing things I broadly know about already. You have to take a leap of faith occasionally. Otherwise I’d never try anything new.
Disclosure: I have bought some of the following, others were presents from friends or family and others sent to me for review. I’ll say which is which. Also links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means I may get a small fee if you buy through them, but it doesn’t affect the price you pay. Other links are not affiliate.
So gardening trousers?
I wouldn’t be without them now. Genus Gardening trousers are stretchy, water-resistant and comfortable. They have big pockets with strong linings that you can put tools in, including a stab-resistant pocket for sharp tools.
And there is a zip pocket at the back for your mobile phone. When I used put my phone in my jeans pocket, it often fell out while I was working. Or I bent over to weed, which squeezed the phone, activating the voice function. It used to give me quite a fright when my pocket started shouting ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that command’ at me. Although having your phone zipped behind you is a little fiddly, you can be confident that you’re not sending pocket calls or otherwise activating your phone in any way.
But the biggest bonus – and a great time-saver – is that Genus trousers have padded knees. If you are going to pick up your tools, then – in theory – it should be just as easy to pick up your kneeler.
But somehow it doesn’t work that way in this house. I used to spend ages fiddling about. First, I’d look for my kneeler or knee pads. Then I’d find I’d left it outside where it had been rained on. After which I still had to find my tools, by which time I’d put down the kneeler again. The kneeler would be soggy when I knelt on it, so I’d have to change my trousers anyway…..
Now I keep the gardening trousers hanging up by the back door, along with my secateurs and a scraping knife. I can go straight out into the garden, do fifteen minutes weeding, then back in for a quick trouser change again. It really is all so much easier.
Genus Gardening trousers start at £95, which is more than I usually pay for any trousers. But they are made of strong, long-lasting material and will save wear on your ordinary clothes.
And the scraping knife?
I use a Wolf Garten Scraper for most weeding. It looks like a right-angled knife, and is sold for scraping moss or weeding between paving stones.
However, I noticed a gardening friend using it for all sorts of weeding. It makes an excellent all purpose tool, and I think I’ve probably used it more than any other single tool since buying it in June 2016. I often place it parellel to the ground, just an inch or so under the soil, to rake away weed roots.
Gardening clogs have been another revelation. I was sent a pair of ‘Eva’ ‘Daisy’ cloggies by Town & Country. They’re so light that I couldn’t believe the package contained shoes.
Cloggies are so easy to slip on and off. I’m always going in and out of the garden, often with my hands full, so these have made my life much easier.
And I do actually garden in them. My gardening isn’t particularly fierce – the Middlesized Garden is approximately 100ft x 80ft of relatively decorous walled town garden. So with the Genus gardening trousers and the Eva cloggies I have enough protection from the elements.
You can also get Eva cloggies from Amazon.
And gloves, of course
Gardening gloves are a repeat buy. However good they are, they get lost or are worn through. I swear by Showa, which I buy cheaply from Amazon. A number of fellow gardeners on Twitter also seem to like them. I was also given a pair of Fiskars gloves to review, and I’ve worn them regularly for over a year. They’re good.
Mr Middlesize likes a tough glove and is devoted to his Cobra gloves for heavy duty tasks. I can’t remember how we acquired them, but we’d happily buy another a pair if these got lost.
Never buy gardening gloves without trying them on (until you find a brand you love). You need flexibility and strength. Too many mass-market gardening gloves are pretty, but stiff and unyielding. Here’s a post with more advice on buying gardening gloves.
Then there’s the wheelbarrow
I have a galvanised metal wheelbarrow, but can’t remember where it came from. I’d never really thought about it.
But one day we had a ton of compost delivered. A rather testy Mr Middlesize wheel-barrowed it from the front garden to the back. He then informed me that a wheelbarrow that is comfortable for someone of 5’5″ (me) is a back-breaker for someone of 6’4″(him).
We researched wheelbarrows, looking for a large, lightweight and strong wheelbarrow at a good price. Our final choice was a lightweight 120 litre green wheelbarrow with a Fatboy wheel from Wheelbarrows Direct, which he has found excellent.
So we are now a two wheelbarrow family. If you don’t have anywhere out of sight to store wheelbarrows, it may be better to buy the wheelbarrow for the taller person. I find his wheelbarrow just as light and manoevreable as mine. But bear in mind that a big wheelbarrow will be heavier than a small one if you fill it right up. Once again, it’s probably a good idea to try out a wheelbarrow before buying it.
So what are your essential pieces of gardening kit? Different brands probably suit different people so if you’ve had a particularly good experience with a brand, let me know in the comments below.
This week’s Middlesized Garden video:
After doing a tour of our garden every month for a whole year on the Middlesized Garden YouTube channel, I noticed that some plants contributed again and again. I’ve called them my ‘plant heroes’, although fashion-forward gardening experts may find them quite dull and pedestrian! Let me know what you think, as I have championed what is probably Britain’s least popular plant.
Pin for reference: