The Strategic Garden Tool Reserve

Here’s an idea for gardeners who, like me, have a tendency to lose their garden tools.

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A pruner found in the border during spring clean-up.

I never figured out how to carry multiple tools around with me while taking care of various garden tasks. Smaller tools usually get stuck in a pocket, which can result in pockets  sliced open at the bottom, which is why you can sometimes see me hopping around the garden, shaking one leg until it gives birth to a trowel. If my pockets don’t have openings in the bottom, then they are probably full of dirt.

In our garden we tend to grow plants densely together leaving no bare ground, which is a good look but which also increases the likelihood of lost tools.  Gardeners with tightly clipped boxwood hedges surrounded by gravel probably don’t lose nearly as many tools.

Sometimes tools go missing for only a short time, but there are always some that are not found until spring cleanup, looking like you would expect after overwintering in one of the borders.

You may think that losing tools in the garden is a problem. However, I see it as an opportunity to address the threat to our nation’s garden tool supply. You may ask, IS there a threat to the nation’s garden tool supply? Well, I can’t think of a single reason why there WOULDN’T be one. So – case closed.

My proposal is that every gardener who regularly loses his or her tools should be certified by the Department of Defense as a contractor for the Strategic Garden Tool Reserve (STRAGTOR). STRAGTOR would protect our American way of life in the event of a critical shortage of garden tools. Each contractor would be issued a hand-held metal detector so that they can locate their reserve tools at the moment of crisis.

Naysayers may point out that the tools maintained through STRAGTOR will be in pretty poor condition. That is why I have little patience for naysayers, they never look on the bright side.

Surely there is enough loose change over at the Pentagon to cover the cost of this vital program, given that they apparently cannot account for over $6 trillion in recent spending. And if the coins are hard to find, we can always use the metal detectors.

Many thanks to Chloris of The Blooming Garden for providing the inspiration for this post.

53 Comments on “The Strategic Garden Tool Reserve

  1. I think its a wonderful idea and I’m glad you changed the acronym, the one you originally came up with would never have caught on, people would have thought it was a disease rather an innovative idea to save your country millions of dollars. And just think, all the money saved from these found tools could go towards the cost of your Führer’s beautiful wall.

  2. Yes, we must have a place for those ‘misplaced’ and possibly forever lost tools. Next to those will be all the eyeglasses that have fallen off or set down and then found ( hopefully) in among the green growth, and of course, unrelated to gardening but just as important, a reserve for all the mismatched socks…the ones that go missing and are never ever to be recovered. Have not yet found a missing sock in the gardening beds, so I have stopped looking there. Fun and delightful post!

  3. I have so many garden tools I think I need a bigger wall to set them on. That stupid wooden fence of mine is useless. I see you have a nice concrete border there for yours. LOL

  4. Thank you for the smile and the creative writing. 🙂 I bet if we all counted up the amount of tools we’ve lost or misplaced, it would be staggering. 🙂 While visiting here in SC, there is a Tuesday Morning. I frequent often because they have a great line of gardening tools and gloves at about 1/3 the price. I always go home with a bag full of stuff.

    • I didn’t know there were a chain of stores called Tuesday Morning. I’m guessing they don’t have any around in Chicago. Too bad.

  5. Splendid idea, Jason. In addition to “lost” gardening tools, I have had one dog since last May who somehow loses her collar in my garden or the neighbor’s. We’re already on to number three! The metal detector would help find tags.

  6. Thanks for some much needed smiles, so needed in these times. I often find myself wandering around the garden looking for misplaced tools. Once, while helping my daughter prune an ancient shrub rose in her garden, we found an equally ancient pair of rusty pruners. A link to a kindred garden spirit.

    • When we were fixing up our kitchen, we found empty pints of whiskey inside the walls, a legacy from the carpenters who built the house in the 1930s.

  7. Nearly spit my coffee at the screen. Thanks for the morning laugh. Love the way you think!

  8. Ha, ha, ha! I regularly misplace my trowel and pruner. Maybe I should paint the handles red or tie a bright ribbon onto them.

  9. I will admit, I am glad to know this is a common syndrome, and not a sign that Jason has lost his marbles.

  10. Thanks for a great post! I have trowels poked in various places in my vegetable garden that I’m always trying to find….

  11. Thanks for the early morning laugh. When we moved into an inner city house with a small garden… I found so many garden tools buried deep in the soil that I felt some previous owner was a kindred gardener spirit. 🌻🌻

  12. Oh if I only had a dollar for every trip around the yard I’ve taken while looking for a misplaced tool… It’s truly amazing how a pruner can be in your hand one minute and totally gone the next. This is clearly a tangible example that proves quantum theory in the world around us.

  13. Lost garden tools aren’t my issue, but now I wish they were. Given the way things are going, you probably could slip in a request for STRAGTOR funding and get it approved: left hand not knowing what the right hand’s up to, and all that.

    Now, if you could come up with a way to keep me from deep-sixing tools off the side of my boats, that would be something.

  14. Thanks for the laugh and reminding me of the lost tools I may never find. I start off carrying everything in a bucket but then I go wandering off into continual distraction and well, of course, you know. But it’s a nice feeling to have something in common with a real gardener.

  15. Add a couple kids into the mix who like to garden, and we have tools all over the place! I always try to buy tools in the brightest color possible, but I heartily approve your suggestion for counteracting our tool shortage!

  16. I thankfully don’t quite have this problem, I usually know that my tools are either in one of a couple of places, which happen to be at opposite ends of the garden, and I need tools from both caches. This means any gardening first involves walking back and forth across the full length of the garden at least a few times to collect all the tools required for a simple job – and of course there’s always several trips needed to put them away afterwards.

  17. And another super fun post, Jason! Thank you!
    I use a builder’s tool vest (with some extra tool holders added by me). It’s not very feminine but it makes me feel so macgyverish. Never lose anything.
    Happy gardening!

    • As a youth I was a carpenter’s apprentice for a couple of years, before I realized there was no way I could make a living as a carpenter. There are also those blue jeans with the hammer holster attached to the side.

  18. I wonder if the Pentagon could spend a little of those trillions on trying to find the fairies that hide so many of those tools because you know we were too busy using them to just misplace them. I nearly howled at the sight of you jumping up and down trying to dislodge a pair of pruners from your pants leg.

  19. Ha! Yes, I’ve found many a tool months after misplacing it. I still try to salvage it, though, with oil and steel wool – I do hate throwing things away – but as it usually doesn’t end up “good as new”, it’s a handy excuse to to treat it as a spare and crack open a new set of pruners.

    • I don’t throw them away either. I don’t really salvage them, either, except for sharpening. I just used them until they fade away to rust-colored dust.

  20. We have 7 trowels in our shed as we know we will lose most of them during the busy season. We usually have two left at the end of the busy seasons and find the others over the winter.

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