Consider your own comfort as you garden, and invest a good pair of gloves. Nitrile coated gloves wash and wear well (toss in washer, air dry in a few hours) and come closest to bare-hand gardening. Top-quality nitrile gloves allow you to feel stems in your fingertips. Search to find a brand you love, then buy a few in multiple colors. Leather gloves are a must for cold- or wet-weather gardening, as well as dealing with roses or other thorny plants. Other comfort tools you’ll grab again and again include a broad-brimmed hat to keep you cool, waterproof boots and shoes, and knee or kneeling pads.
If you have an area where turf is thin or just won’t grow, swap it for some easy-care ornamental grasses and sedges. These plants bring texture and year-long interest to any yard, and their care routine is beyond simple. An annual trim keeps most grasses in check, while sedges need very little annual grooming. A quick brush in early to mid-spring with gloved hands is usually enough to pull out dead stems and trigger new growth.
Try to visit your tomato plants at least every two days to keep tabs on ripening fruit and also inspect for pests. The tomato hornworm is one pest that can literally obliterate plants overnight. These caterpillars munch their way up and down a plant, making leaves disappear like a magician. They can be tough to spot. The easiest sign to watch for is frass (caterpillar poo), which resembles black peppercorns. If you see those, look beneath leaves for a hornworm, which usually hides during the day and feeds at night. Slugs also climb tomato plants to feast on fruits, and stinkbugs can wreak havoc, too. With most of these pests, the best defense is to use gloved hands to knock the culprits into soapy water.
An old, sturdy golf bag makes a perfect storage station for gardening tools large and small. Rakes and shovels fit it in the top, and the pockets are perfect for gloves, a bulb planter and other hand tools.