7 Tools For The Micro-Gardener

Just because the big city shoebox you live in lacks enormous outdoor expanses, doesn't mean you can't still enjoy a bit of green-thumbery. These seven tools will help you cultivate like a pro, even in the most minimal space.

The Magrid ROC Bamboo Gardening Gloves

The tough Nitrile lower section of the ROC gardening gloves protect your digits from scrapes, pricks (great if you've got three mini-rose bushes packed onto a window sill), and dirt under the nails while the upper section, woven from bamboo fibers, keeps your hands cool and dry. The bamboo is excellent at wicking moisture and won't get that musty mold smell that cotton ones do. $US10.

Jump Start Grow Light

One of the most difficult stages of plant care is germination. Sure, you can just plunk a seed in some dirt on the window sill and hope for the best. But to get the healthiest plants and largest yields you can, you need to start them off properly. The Jump Start system uses a 24 watt fluorescent bulb to give seedlings and sprouts an extra kick of lumens so they germinate faster and grow more robustly. $US65.

Naturemill Plus XE Compost Bin

The secret to a lush garden lies in the growing medium - the more fertile the soil, the more nutrients your plants can absorb and the bigger they'll grow. The Plus XE turns your table scraps into the most valuable soil additive (outside of worm castings) available without the smell of rotting garbage permeating your apartment. Just dump organic waste into the top (up to 54kg a month) and after two weeks, boom - Black Gold compost. $US300.

Oasis Vacation Watering System

Just because you've got a kickass indoor garden going doesn't mean you've got to be a slave to it. The Oasis will water up to 20 plants for up to 40 days from its 26-quart reserve and is powered by a single 9V battery. Just attach the dripper line to a watering stake embedded in the pot, set the timer and enjoy your trip. $US82.

Black and Decker Plant Care Sensor

Unfortunately, plants can't tell you what they need - more water, less sun, a different soil mix or what have you. The Plant Care Sensor by Black and Decker, however, does. Just jam this in the soil and it will measure the sunlight, temperature, moisture, and soil conditions. If you then plug it into your computer via the USB cable, the PCS will recommend which plants would perform best in that particular spot (from a database of over 6000) as well as advise you on how to care for the plants already there. $US60.

Fiskars Gardening Shears

No, electric hedge trimmers are not the appropriate lopping device for Bonsai. If you want to keep your indoor shrubbery tidy, the Fiskars Soft Touch Scissors are the way to go. These spring-loaded, ambidextrous clippers have soft grips, which reduces the strain on your hands - great if you've got arthritis or diminished hand strength. $US14.

Wolf-Garten Flower Bed Tool Set

Wolf-Garten's got the right idea when it comes to tool sets - why give everything a long handle when you'll only be using one tool at a time? The Garden Tool set comes with seven of the most common tools you'll need. Each device snaps into either the included short or long handles for the times you need it. This saves valuable space in your closet without hamstringing you when you require extra reach. $US95.

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