Green Thumb Tool Awards

By Jeff Rugg

January 27, 2016 4 min read

Last week we talked about the five new plant varieties that have won the 2016 Green Thumb Awards presented by the Direct Gardening Association (formerly called the Mailorder Gardening Association). This week we look at the tools category. The winning products are judged on their uniqueness, technological innovation, their ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity, and their potential appeal to gardeners.

The Garden Tower 2 by Charley's Greenhouse and Garden can grow 54 plants in just 4 square feet. You may have seen stacking pots before that allow for three or four plants per layer, but this system has nine plants in each of six layers. The 6-inch diameter central core allows for watering as most stacking systems do, but the core is also a worm composter. Throw in your kitchen scraps, other organic matter and some worms. You now have a composting and self-fertilizing tower of plants. This tower would be perfect for annual flowers, strawberries, leafy greens and other smaller garden vegetables.

The base of the tower has a reservoir for holding the compost tea runoff water that can be reused or used to water other plants. The tower rotates 360 degrees on the ball bearings in the base, so the plants can be rotated towards the sun as necessary for good plant health.

If you have a large vegetable garden you know that bending over to plant seeds can be back-breaking work. Using a stick or poker to make the holes and then trying to get the seeds in the holes can take forever. The Hoss Tool Company won a Green Thumb award for the Hoss Garden Seeder. It has hand crafted Amish wooden handles, steel wheels and steel frame. It evenly dispenses seeds into the slit in the soil it creates. The planting depth is adjustable from just one-quarter of an inch to 1.5 inches deep. A seed plate is used to transfer the seeds from the hopper to the ground. If the right size seed plate is not included, they show you how to make your own.

Gardens Alive! has been a consistent winner of Green Thumb awards over the years. This year they won twice. First, with Shield-All Plus. It is a broad-spectrum fungicide, insecticide and miticide. Pyrethrins and an extract of neem oil are the active ingredients. They are safe to use up until the day of harvest on vegetables. This product can be used to stop current infestations of insects and disease and if used according to the label, to help prevent diseases on some crops.

Bull's-Eye Outdoor Granular Ant Bait from Garden's Alive! kills just about every kind of ant imaginable. The bait can be applied around garden vegetable and fruit crops, in greenhouses, around the perimeter of the house, and on lawns. People and pets can enter the area after the bait is applied.

Do you have kids who don't eat enough vegetables? Are they eating the healthy lunch vegetables you packed for school? They might do better if they grew their own vegetables. The Territorial Seed Company has created the Snack Attack Garden, designed to tempt the pickiest of eaters. There are seeds for seven lunch box-sized vegetables, including carrots, peppers, snap peas and tomatoes. To get the seeds started, there is a 50-cell seed starter tray that includes peat pellet soil, starter fertilizer and a greenhouse lid. Also included is a lunch bag made from bamboo fibers and a package of reusable Wysi Wipes.

Email questions to Jeff Rugg at [email protected] To find out more about Jeff Rugg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


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