Organic Pest Control Tools

Be Prepared when You go to the Garden – Bugs and Other Stuff

One of my readers has been reading TMG since her first year of gardening.  I think this is her 3rd year. ” She’s come a long way baby” — as the saying goes.  She’s no longer out there trying to dig the dirt with her bare hands and actually has a tool now. She starts her own seed and is even selling some of her organic produce — specializing in heirloom tomatoes!  I’m very proud of her. (I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her in person — and her family.)

She writes to me often, makes me smile, makes me laugh, makes the days even more enjoyable, gives me ideas for posts with the questions she asks and lets me know — in short — that others might view things in the garden differently than this old timer does. As a matter of fact they can view them in ways that I never even thought of.

Such was one of her emails today. She writes:

  • “I want a gardening belt.  When I go outside, I always need this or that – and a lot of times it’s just my gloves.  Bugs often don’t get squashed b/c I refuse to do it w/o the gloves.  — I’m on the lookout for a belt to put my pruning shears, claw, and gloves in.

I’ve heard of belts for carpenters and electricians before, but I’ve never heard of gardening belts. Have you other gardeners who have been around for decades —  like I have — ever heard of them? I guess I’m behind on what’s being marketed for gardeners.  I don’t keep up with all that stuff because you don’t need hardly any of it anyway.

However, there is a real need to have something to carry a tool, gloves, shears and maybe a few other items to the garden with you.

The Reason for the Need

How many times have you gone to the garden for something specific and could have gotten a few more things done had you thought to bring the item you needed to do it.  This usually happens to me when tomatoes are growing and I end up in the garden without my pieces of old nylons that I  use to tie tomatoes to their supports. Or I see a few things that need to be harvested with nothing but my skirt to put them in.

Another Reason – Let’s talk bugs. 

I know most beginning gardeners will feel like my reader does — they want gloves to squash the bugs and won’t do it without them. So if they leave their gloves — the bug doesn’t get killed.

I think most of us who have been around for decades would still prefer gloves.  I know I do.  However — I will make exceptions if —- I get caught in the garden without gloves — and I see a squash bug or a potato beetle and (as of this year) a stink bug or harlequin bug.

The reason  has to do with pain and pleasure; the lesser of two evils; and fear.  If you’ve gardened for a while and have experienced an infestation of one of these bugs—- and know how miserable they can make you when you have to spend hours to search and destroy — you know what I’m talking about.

When I see one of them — I am instantly flooded with thoughts of how quickly they multiply and the many times they’ve made the season miserable for me.  If I leave the bug — it can and will multiply — and the chances of finding it when I come back in few minutes with gloves — are slim to none.

The first time I ever killed potato beetles without gloves I thought I was gonna die!  It was not pleasant.  I didn’t like it.  I washed my hands until I thought they were going to fall off.  (I really wanted to get a new set of hands!)  But the bugs were dead  — and I was very motivated to make sure that I had my gloves whenever I visited the garden henceforth.

A Simple Solution

I keep an old basket by the backdoor with my digger tool, pruners, shears, old nylon pieces, my gloves, and envelope for saving seed and anything else I may need.  When harvesting is at its peak, I carry another empty basket with me for produce.

A friend gave me this old Easter basket several years ago and I really enjoy using it in the garden. When I go out the back door I pick up the basket.  I have it with me 99% of the time. I’ve used a variety of baskets over the years.

Baskets are pretty easy to come by.  You’ll see them for pennies (maybe 25 cents) at flea markets or yard sales.  And they are so convenient to use. You don’t really need any thing that is  fancy-dancy — or that’s costly.  You can save the dollars you’d spend for something really necessary like seed, another pair of garden gloves, or maybe some row covers to extend the season.

Not that there would be anything wrong with a garden belt should you come across one — but just know when you buy it — it’s because you choose to. There are cheaper options —– and in my opinion — more enjoyable ones. (I wouldn’t care for something I had to wear.)

As another one of my readers has told me often,  “It’s amazing – the power of marketing” and what it can make you think you need.


Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • I only have one thing to say, “Why didn’t I think of that.” Everytime I go to the gardan I wish I had brought something with me. I am gonna start immediately filling a basket with my needs. Thank you for your wisdom. Patricia

  • Every year, I have a different carrier for my stuff. Last year, it was a cloth shopping bag with pockets. The year before it was a bucket. This year, I am using a large plastic shoe box.

    They do have a canvas thingy with pockets that goes over a bucket. Here is one from googling “gardeners tool pouches”: bit
    No way I would pay $50. for this, even though it looks nice. I have also used baskets- I may go back to that next year-I like having a nice handle.

  • Your comments are SPOT ON! I have walked back and forth to the house from the garden this year about a bazillion times b/c I didn’t have something I needed – arrrgh! I’m going “basket hunting” very soon! I’m not too queasy with the bugs (I’ve mastered the divide and conquer mindset), but the worms make my teeth itch! I pulled off a 4 inch horn worm the other day – with gloves on – and I thought i would barf, ICK!!

    Thanks for all your witty comments and helpful hints! 😉

  • Theresa, Never let it get away alive!! That’s my motto.

    I’ll stop the car and jump out to squish a stinkbug – even if I’m all dressed up for something, because I remember the havoc they caused from a couple of years ago.
    It is maddening to forget a needed tool. My kit is in a Home Depot orange bucket. Yours – much prettier – and lighter.

  • I use a 5 gallon bucket with a canvas “tool Sleeve” purchased at the local farm store that fits over the rim. It has pockets to hold all my stuff. I keep it by the back door to the north garden. I keep a basket similar to yours by the front door to the south garden!

  • Agreed GardenDmpls — $50! No way. Love my baskets — and the handles. Makes it easy.

  • I know what you mean about those hornworms Beth! Most of the time in my garden they have the cocoons on them and I can just leave them where they are. But the other day — I too had a huge hornworm to take off. Even with gloves on I could hardly manage it. They’re creepy!

    Get your basket as soon as you can. You’ll love it. Makes things easy!
    Thanks for commenting.

  • We definitely have the same motto Sandra! The price is too high to let a bug get away!

    Buckets I hate. I guess it’s the plastic that turns me off. Some how — as you said — a basket is much prettier — and lighter.
    It has character and charm. When I harvest I always use baskets. I treasure my produce so much and feel that putting them in a plastic bucket is a notch down. Again – the baskets add charm and character and are soooo enjoyable.

  • Lissa — a North and South Garden — How wonderful!
    And you’ve got all bases covered for having everything you need with you when you visit either!
    Thanks for commenting.

  • Love your basket Theresa. I chuckled when I saw your strips of panty hose. I carry some in my pocket all the time. A couple of weeks ago I sat my husband and SIL down at the patio table with a couple pairs of scissors and a stack of panty hose and promised them grits, eggs and bacon for breakfast in exchange for panty hose strips. LOL, they did it and it was rather comical to watch.
    Anyway, my “garden tote” is my blue denim shirt. I put my gloves and panty hose strips in the pocket and carry a small bucket with a beer logo on it with a cutting knife and snippers. My grandog knows the sound of the bucket rattling and comes out to the garden with “Grandma” every morning. He is my rabbit chaser, so he walks around the perimeter of the garden and then curls up for a nap. Once in awhile I have to call his attention to a rabbit. My denim shirt is on its way out, the fabric is worn thin. I have an idea to make some additions to a new one (add pockets) that is on the list for this winter, will keep you posted.

  • I bet you husband and SIL cutting up panty hose was a sight to behold, Alice. That will put a smile on many a reader’s face!

    And do keep me posted on your “new” garden tote with the new additions.
    Thanks for sharing Alice!

  • I love organizational tips! I use pails and popcorn buckets when harvesting my produce, but I hear you about baskets being more classy. The nice thing about buckets and pails, though, is you can rinse your produce right in them–outside–before ever hitting the kitchen sink.

    I enjoy hearing your various bug stories–but I do wish you’d insert pictures. I don’t know if I have those critters or not, and I’d sure like to know–so I can do what you do.

    This week our cat brought in a humongous green caterpillar with black spots that was holding onto a dry leaf for dear life. As it wriggled, the leaf flicked back and forth, and the cat thought it was great fun. My daughter and I thought it was gross and didn’t want her to eat that! So we took pictures and then I took it outside and stabbed it multiple times with the edge of a shovel. But where there’s one there’s many so I’d sure like to know where the cat found it–and what I should be doing about it!

  • Connie, your cat probably had a hornworm. See pictures on my posts and

    For the other bugs all you have to do to see pictures is type in the google search box each of the following:
    Pictures of stink bugs
    Pictures of potato beetles
    Pictures of squash bugs
    Pictures of harlequin bugs
    I tested all of them and great pictures come up for each.
    Let me know if you have trouble. You definitely need to be able to identify the bad guys. 😉

  • These are such great ideas! My Mom got my sister and I (and herself) a little cheap apron that has two deepish pockets. If you bend too much you could dump something, but it’s good for a few things and we all use it. I sometimes use it mowing if I have no pockets and need some tissue and my cell for a call. I am all about the affordable and functional so am tickled to hear about the ideas ya’ll have and cant wait to put some into use. Thanks for the great post!

  • Hi Alicia — Glad you found the post helpful!
    Have a great growing season this year.

  • I love your garden basket idea, but I also like to keep several gardening items right with me. I bought a canvas apron with two pockets at Home Depot. They have them online for 77 cents! I think that’s about what I paid in the store; it’s been a few years ago. I usually put my pruners, ties for plants, gloves and trowel or weed digger in mine. Sometimes if I’m placing soaker hose I’ll put garden staples in it.


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