Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweetstuff's Tools of the Trade

What does Candy use for tools and what does my potting area look like?  I have had some followers on Facebook ask me these questions.  So I thought a blog post would be the perfect way to show you.  First lets look at the tools I use!

Sweetstuffs tools of the trade

Someone told me this looked like I was going into surgery!  Well, sometimes that is the case.  There are times I have to hack away at a plant and I definitely use all of these.  I use quite a few kinds of gloves depending on what I am doing.  The ones on the left would be for planting the softer leaved succulents.  The long sleeved ones on the right are for when I am working on or around my prickly cactus.  These have saved my arms for sure.  Then you will see the drill up above.  I use a diamond headed drill bit to drill holes in some of my thrift store finds.  I have become quite good at it.  Some of these tools are pretty self explanatory but a couple of them I will show you in use or explain.  In the middle you can see some squares of screen.  I bought screen by the large roll at Home Depot and cut it up.  I use it to cover the holes at the bottom of my pots so the dirt does not leak out.  Very effective.  I learned this trick on a planting video of Debra Lee Baldwin.  The little paint brush is used to brush dirt off my plants after I have gotten them potted. Another trick from Debra!  The shells, crushed recycled glass (colored), glass pebbles, & rocks are used for top dressing or decoration.

Cactus tongues

I use the BBQ tongues when I handle my prickly cactus.  This works very well.  If you are careful you will not harm the beautiful stickers.  If the cactus is bigger I will use pieces of cardboard cut into large strips to hold it.

Pulling weed with forceps

Now this idea I thought of myself!  It is so hard to get at the weeds that grow beside or underneath cactus.  My fingers were sore and bleeding before I realized there has to be a better way.  I ordered a couple of pair of different forceps on Ebay.  They work wonders!  You can push this thing way down in the dirt if you want to and never get poked!  Because they are forceps they can lock right on to the weeds and all you have to do is pull!  Yep, I'm a genius!  LOL

Dirt mixing area

So this is my Rubbermaid dirt bucket!  It is the largest one I could find.  I mix my potting soil in this.  I use 1/2 palm/cactus mix and 1/2 dry stall.  I go to a local feed and tack store for my dry stall.  It costs me $12.00 for a 40 lb bag!  Way cheaper than perlite!

New plantings

Just wanted to show you this recent potting!  I think when it gets growing it will look awesome!  I tried to combine great colors and textures!  It should be larger in the back than in the front.

Old scarred Xmas cactus \

I wanted to show you this ancient Christmas cactus.  My mother who was 82 when she passed away about 9 years ago absolutely loved Christmas cactus.  She had three in her living room by the huge windows that were really old when she passed away.  I think they must have been 50 years old.  So I wasn't that into cactus and succulents at the time and I didn't take one.  Dad gave one to my sister and one to her son and the other one died.  My sister's is kind of ok.  But she lives in Phoenix, AZ now and who knows.  Her son Jeff did not know how to take care of it and put it outside.  It somehow lived the rest of these years outside getting froze and coming back until this is all that is left.  I took it from him and I can't believe all the blooms on it.  I will take some cuttings from it and grow new plants without all the scars!

Bloom of Mom's old Xmas cactus

Pretty blooms aren't they!  Check out all the brown scaring.  Poor thing!

Pots and other gardening stuff

This shot is looking under my new gazebo to the left.  I put three shelving units here for pots, etc.  I keep most of my planting materials over here so the other side can be free to display pottings!  Check out the dishes of cuttings I am starting.  Also plants just waiting to be planted.

Potting area inside new gazebo

This is looking toward the middle and my actual potting table.  I have a small vertical planting up on the fence at this time and am just waiting for the other's I have planted to root to hang on this fence.  It will look really great then.  I will post photos when it is done.  This is an old secretaries desk and on the left I keep my fertilizers and other things like that.  You can't see because of the table cloth.  Under the table in the middle are carts to put under larger pots and containers of different rock for top dressing.  The drawers are full of tools, gloves and other misc. items.  The bins on the right hold Shells of many shapes and sizes, rocks and other fun things to add to a pretty potting.

Looking to right inside new gazebo

This is looking toward the right.  You can see gazebo #1 with the green top.  Each gazebo is lines with Christmas white lights.  The green one also has a few strings of pepper lights that look really cool!  At night all lit up this place looks so awesome!

So there you go!  Hope I gave you some good ideas.  Write me a note if you have any questions!
Have a great week and remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!


Joyful said...

Wow! I appreciate all the time you took to explain what and how you do work with succulents.

I didn't know I had any questions but reading your post I remember wondering how you handle all the prickly stuff. I can say you sure do have a lot of plants and I learned two new tips from you for planting in general.

I really like your new pot of plants. Just beautiful.

Mark and Gaz said...

Fantastic post Candy! Cacti and succulents are one of the trickiest plants to repot so it helps to share what tools you use to make the job easier :)

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Thank you so much Mark, Gaz and Joyful! I really appreciate your wonderful comments! They can be tricky for sure and so I had to learn to be tricky too!

Spiky Obsession said...

It is funny how often the tools area of succulent re-potting areas look more like a surgical than a garden section. Very nice potting area you have.

Debra Lee Baldwin said...

This is excellent, Candy! Thanks for the shout-out. I like the string of lights above the workspace and the plastic bins, too. I could sure use some shelves like that. Problem is, utility boxes on the exterior wall of the garage are right above my work table. I should get rid of our land lines, then those phone boxes could go!

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Who needs land lines anyway. Haha! I know what you mean about space. These shelves are next to our tools shed, that is why no utility problems! Should have mentioned that. Thanks for sharing and wish you could see it at night it is so cool. There is so much light I can still plant!

Julie said...

What an awesome work area, Candy!!! Beautiful succulent planting you did. I love the colorful ones!!!

Rohrerbot said...

I love your work area.....I have to make one outside:) Excellent advice Master Jedi! That's how I do it here....just not with succulents....with the cacti! Glove and metal tongs are super important! When it comes to thorns, you don't want to get stuck:)

Gerhard Bock said...

Fantastic post! I love how organized your work area is. And your pot collection is amazing! I've got to visit soon to see everything in person.

I'm so glad you have one of your mom's Christmas cacti!

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Thank you all so much! And yes metal tongs are sooooo important and helpful.
You should come and visit for sure Gerhard! I have lots of cuttings I can give you. Need another Paryyi?

Julie said...

Love your old Christmas Cactus, Candy! Lovely color of bloom! Thanks for your loving comments on my blog! I appreciate you!
xoxo- Julie

Julie said...

Hey Candy! Check out this newbie succulent gardener! Dew Drop Gardens

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Katie said...

Love this, Candy! I'm going to steal your idea re: the Rubbermaid bins. :)

Candice Suter.....Sweetstuff said...

They work great Katie! I have quite a few stuffed with essentials.