Kitchen Gardening

Your Back-To-School (Gardening) Shopping List

Shopping for school? Remember to get a few things for you and your garden.

Photo/Illustration: iStockphoto/sampsyseeds

When I was a boy (even before I found gardening), I loved the beginning of every new school year. Why? It may seem weird, but I loved going to get new school supplies. The smell of new pencils, erasers and glue captivated me. While I don’t have any children to pass this tradition off to, I can still appreciate the renewed spirit that the start of the school year brings. After all, it almost coincides with Fall garden planting for some of us.

So it came as no surprise when I thought to myself… “since many of my green-thumbed comrades will be spending a fair amount of time in stores, armed with their school-provided lists, why not do some garden shopping at the same time?”

So without further ado, here’s a suggested garden shopping list, divided into “departments”.

The Store Entrance:
• Weekly ad circulars – grab a few for your worm bin, as long as it’s the uncoated newsprint type stock.

School & Office Supplies:
• Pens or permanent markers – for labeling plant markers, spray bottles, seed packets, etc.
• Graph paper – for laying out your Fall or Spring garden plans.
• Ruler – you want nice straight boxes and rows on your garden plan, right?
• Notebooks – the small pocket-sized ones are great for taking notes while in the garden or bringing to the nursery, home center, etc.
• Scissors – plenty of stuff to cut, so get a decent pair.
• Yellow poster board/construction paper – spray some tree tanglefoot on there, and you’ve got a flying pest lure.
• Popsicle sticks – great as labels for transplants, seed flats, or in-garden bed plantings.

• Hobby/utility knife – cutting string, fabric, bags, plastic mulch, etc.
• Linseed oil – for preserving and maintaining your garden tools.

• Plastic baggies/paper lunch bags – holds packets of seeds, soil to be tested, and of course; for distributing your harvest to friends, neighbors and food banks
• Plastic Tupperware-style containers – stores seeds, soil amendments, bulbs, tools, etc.
• Cooking knives – for removing or chopping up plant matter bound for the compost pile.
• Towels – for wet cleanups.
• Colander – for washing your freshly-harvested veggies prior to bringing them inside

Women’s or Men’s:
• Socks – If you’re like me, having a few pairs around doesn’t seem like enough.
• Clogs – Isn’t it time for a new pair?

• Bottled water or refillable water containers – to keep you hydrated as you work. Save the larger one-gallon containers as mini “hot houses” during the winter.
• Coffee – Probably already on your regular shopping list. The grounds from which have multiple uses in the garden and compost area.
• Coffee Filters – Also compostable.

• Insect repellant – If natural methods fail you, there’s always the commercial sprays and lotions.
• Sunscreen – No sunburns allowed on my watch!
• Hand sanitizer – Goes without saying with what we get our paws into.

• Boxes – for new planting areas or for your worm bin.

I’m sure I didn’t cover everything, but it’s a good start.

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