Time-Saving Garden Gadgets

Fine Gardening – Issue 217
drill and auger
Photo: courtesy of Marti Neely

Plant dozens of annuals in a snap with this drill and auger combo

Tested by Marti Neely

When planting en masse, I need more power than my favorite trowel or shovel can deliver. To zip through this task, I use my Milwaukee 18-volt cordless compact hammer drill and attach a 24-inch-long, 3-inch-wide auger bit from TCBWFY to it. With this stellar combo, I can plant a flat of 18 annuals in about 15 minutes, or 15 flats in 2½ hours. It’s even more efficient when I’m installing bulbs, as I can easily drill holes in the smallest of spaces and between plants. When using this drill and auger, you must drill deeper than you would dig with a trowel, as the loose soil will fall back as you pull the drill bit out. With compacted soil, you can also use a drill and auger to turn over and fluff the surface of the soil, preparing it for planting. The battery on this drill is powerful and long lasting, but I recommend that you have a second one as a backup in case you run out of power or decide to buy more plants. The drill can be purchased on its own or with two batteries and a charger.


Source: and with batteries and a charger

Price: $139 (tool only); $269 (with batteries and charger)



Price: $26


Bessey MultiSnip cutters
Photo: Carol Collins

This multipurpose cutter saves countless trips to the tool shed

Tested by Carol Collins

The Bessey MultiSnip has sharp, stainless-steel blades that efficiently cut through all kinds of materials that would ruin your good pruners or scissors. This 5½-inch-long workhorse easily snips through rope, twine, burlap, plastic, leather, paper, cardboard, and even thin wire or sheet metal. It also cuts cleanly through plant stems as thick as a matchstick, making it handy for deadheading, spring cutbacks, flower and veggie harvesting, root pruning, and general cleanup. A spring opens the blades automatically, reducing hand fatigue for repetitive cuts. The convenient, thumb-operated lock holds the blades closed for storage, and since the tip is rounded, this tool will slip into your pocket without snagging or poking through. The best part is that it’s affordable enough to buy multiples to have on hand in the house and garden shed.


Price: $13


easy to open gate lever
Photo: courtesy of Karen Weber

Use this ingenious tool to open your garden gate with just one touch

Tested by Janet Endsley

Do you have a gate that is difficult to open, espe­cially when your hands are full? Perhaps you have to reach through a narrow gap, or the latch is placed too low and you’ve had to add an unsightly string to pull. The Gate Lever, invented by a ­female gardener in Washington State, is a perfect addition to most gates. It attaches to a post on the top (pictured), front, or side, depending on your fence. It only takes a few screws to install and connects to your existing latch with a strong chain. With just a light tap, the gate opens. Since installing this lever, I no longer have to reach awkwardly (and painfully, due to shoulder problems) through the opening in my gate to reach the latch, saving me time and muscle strain. There are four designs and two colors (black or silver), and even a design for very narrow 2-inch-wide posts.


Price: $22 to $31

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  1. Rearmiend 04/09/2024

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