Tools make great gifts for Father’s Day

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

By Gary R. Bachman

sg20140603_fathersMSU Horticulturist

Coastal Resarch & Extension Center

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Last month, I wrote about getting mom the perfect Mother’s Day rose. With Father’s Day just a couple of weeks away, it’s gift time again. I’ve always enjoyed getting flowers as a gift, and I think a lot of other dads appreciate them as well.

But what do dads really want for Father’s Day, besides a chance to barbeque and watch the finish of the U.S. Open? Tools! As Scotty from Star Trek always said, “You need the right tool for the right job.” Nowhere is this truer than in the garden.

So here are some of my thoughts on really handy tools that I use in my gardening endeavors.

We all know we need to take care of our shovels, spades and other digging tools. Just propping your shovel up in the corner of the garage means the edge gets bumped and nicked on the concrete floor. Sharp shovels make gardening so much easier, but bringing out the file and beveling the edge is a lot of work. Too sharp, and the edge dulls quickly; too blunt, and digging is difficult.

The perfect solution I found is the AnySharp Edge Tool sharpener. This tool has tungsten carbide blades that you can easily pull across the shovel and give it a consistent, beveled edge. It also works great on trowels and hoes. I’ve been amazed at how easy it is to maintain a good, sharp working edge on all my garden tools.

Now, if your dad is as serious about gardening as I am, then he already has a pair of really good professional pruners that he carries everywhere in the garden. There’s always a branch or shoot out of place. But there are times when I need to cut something other than plant material, and I wouldn’t dream of using my good pruners to do it. For everything else, I use Smart Sizzors.

This tool is like a Swiss Army knife for the garden. The blades are hardened steel, and the padded grip is large enough for my hand to fit comfortably around it. You can find more information about both of these tools at

Everyone knows there’s an unwritten rule that says anything electric is not a good choice for mom’s day, but dads don’t care if they receive a gift that’s electric, as long as it has a lot of power. If the word “cordless” is involved, it’s even better.

This spring, I started using a Black and Decker high-performance trimmer powered by their 20-volt MAX Lithium battery. I’ve run this trimmer for more than 30 minutes at a time without the battery running out of juice. The unit is lightweight, which is important to anyone with back issues.

It has two speeds that help power through tough weeds. You can also flip it over and use it to edge along the sidewalk and driveway. But the thing I like best is that the trimmer automatically feeds the string — no more bumping and banging needed to advance the string. Find more information on this machine online.

So consider these tools for dad to help make gardening easier and ultimately increase his enjoyment of the garden. Just remember Scotty’s saying, and you’ll never consider garden chores as work.

Happy Father’s Day.