My best indulgence this year was a self-reeling hose container for the front spigot. It uses water-pressure to reel in the hose BY ITSELF when you flip a lever. There's a short drain hose that drains the water in the main hose as it reels in (good way to water that part of the garden). Only drawback is it was only available to hold max 175? feet hose, and I had a 250 ft hose in the front yard box (hand crank plastic kind - the handle broke off, I bought a replacement handle, THEN realized that it had broken in such a way that the replacement was useless
) I kept that box for a long time, unwilling to consign it to the trash when it was made of such sturdy plastic -- I've found a place for it in my veggie garden -- it replaced a 5 gal bucket with a seat lid, in a 22"x22"spot as a temporary compost keeper, and the tool holder inside holds hand shovel, a pair of pruners, garden fleece, string, tie-wraps, etc. that used to be in the bucket, AND it's about 24"H flat top needs a small hop for me but is a comfy place to sit and rest and overlook my veggie domain.
After my shoulder injury last winter, manually coiling that 250' hose was KILLING ME ('ya ever watch The Deadliest Catch
with those guys hand coiling big fat and soaking wet rope from every single King/Opie crab trap? In the subzero weather? I could NEVER do THAT for sure.), and I hated the sight of the coiled hose pile on the driveway. Happily, when I went to transfer the hose, I realized that the 250' length consisted of 2 175's. So I just unscrewed the extra. I decided if I need the longer hose, I can always screw it in for use -- as it turned out, I never did that once this summer -- the few plants that needed it, I filled the watering can at the end of the hose. You still have to help guide the hose when it reels in -- mostly making sure it doesn't snag on things like solar pathway lights
, but it's a heck of a lot easier.
I guess I mainly use the wheelbarrow and a 5-gal bucket too. I've thought about buying one of those canvas/tarp on wheels types, but I sometimes need garden fork, spade, AND shovel, plus rake and hoe -- too hard to carry them all by hand and too heavy for a flimsier conveyance. The one that lays flat so you can rake stuff in, then lift up handles to trundle away on a single wheel caught my eye, until I realized that a tarp would work just as well -- gather up the corners and drag away! Usually, if I need all those, I need a pile of compost, mulch, and/or sand/gravel amendments anyway, so wheelbarrow. I've also considered a 2-wheeled cart, but in my crowded shed, I can tuck the wheelbarrow wheel between the pile of pots and the lawnmower without breaking anything.... and if I'm too tired, I just leave everything in the wheelbarrow for another day. It's also easy to maneuver along narrow paths or barely through the gateway just by tilting to one side or another. (An excellent example of time-honored/proven design, Kids!
I tell you what -- one useful tool for me would be a something that would let me carry 3 or 4 long handled garden tools by hand (2 I can carry in each hand, but if I could carry 2 at once in one hand, I could use the other hand to carry a bucket or the pot of shrub to be planted, for instance). Not a cart, mind you -- I don't want another big thing to deal with, more like what you use to carry a pair of skis -- one of those WHY didn't *I* think of that! Forehead-smacking idea.
Speaking of which -- I keep a stash of plastic grocery bags with my garden tools. It's useful for gathering small amounts of things destined for compost or trash or taking back to the shed -- weeds, labels, nursery pots, etc, and for slipping in an unwieldy biggish potted shrub or perennial to carry, AND for carrying about a gallon of water