List of Gardening Tools Every Gardener Must Have: What to buy
Because each gardener is unique and each garden is different, some of my priorities and advice will be different from yours. Use this page for general suggestions and checklists. And there are always new gizmos on the market that might become the new necessities!
Listed here are some basic choices, something like a trowel is needed no matter how large or small a garden, but some tools become more necessary as you hone in on a particular interest. Take bulb planting, for example. If you wish for just a few bulbs to line your walkway of a a few yards,
a trowel will suit you just fine, but if you have a large area that you wish to naturalize with many clumps of bulbs, you may find a bulb planter just as necessary a tool for your needs.
Tools you need are basically in three categories: those you cannot do without, those which are specially efficient for certian jobs, and those which are increase convenience.
What to begin with? A trowel; but not just any trowel. I want you to find the best you can afford.
This is one tool not to skimp on, and if you shop garage sales or auctions it need not be expensive.
It should feel comfortable in the hand with the strongest shank, solidly connected to the handle or even one with it.
A strong heavy steel is preferred. The trowel is used for every garden endeavor from containers to borders to bulb planting;
it can weed, dig, cultivate, divide plants, work in edging bricks, pry out small rocks. You name it, the sturdy garden trowel can do it.
If you should decide to economize on this tool, you will regret it. Several replacements that don't work properly are not an economy.
I have broken one or two and my boys- well, let's just say when it comes to breaking tools, they manage a superior job.
My favorite was a West German (that dates me!) solid steel trooper. Unfortunately, it has disappeared and I do miss it -never found it's equal.
A good one will cost around ten to twenty dollars, and worth every penny.
Next, the spade: there are several types and I like having three kinds, but the most basic is the long handled
rounded digging spade. Some might like the same type with the D-handle. This is necessary for moving larger amounts of dirt and digging borders;
it can handle edging, dividing large perennials, moving plants, shrubs, grubbing out unwanted woody plants, and planting wanted ones.
A straight bladed spade is a good edger, and the long bladed nursery spade is very useful. The garden fork has excellent results in
everything but moving soil and edging
There are no substitutes for the cutting tools, hedge shears and pruners.
These are needed to trim bushes, overgrown perennials or dead stalks, deadhead flowers, trim roses, and remove small dead branches.
Loppers handle all large unwieldy branches from bushes and trees. The pruning saw is for larger branches, I like the Japanese hand saw
for something too large for loppers, and a bow saw for hand cutting very large branches. I leave the chainsaw work to guys.
I've learned the hard way that a little protection for knees when kneeling, leather gloves when working around thorns and a cart are more of a necessity especially for older gardeners. But really, these types of protection prolong your gardening by helping to keep you free from injury.
Actually, a wheel barrow is not necessary- just something to haul plants, soil amendments, tools, etc. from place to place
in the yard. A child's wagon will do. After several trips to the tool shed you will determine the need level for the hauling apparatus
yourself, (not to mention your back warning you to use it less and your brain more).
Most tools are subject to the job priority:
grass and vegetable gardening require the garden rake and hoe.
Roses and thorny bushes need the gloves and loppers. You may substitute
tools, but some perform jobs better: the weeding tools, the adze is my personal favorite, are vastly superior to the trowel for that job,
even though it will get the job done.
Hope this helps you to buy what you need for a happy gardening experience.
An addendum here...
even though a wheel barrow is not necessary, some sort of wheeled cart sure is handy for hauling tools around with you and garden cleanup, I have gone
through several here (ok, my kids are hard on things ...longer story than I want to go into right now - maybe I'll write some stories in my garden blog.)
And another useful thing I didn't mention before is the garden tote. These organize my tools - and after a tiring day of weeding it helps to just have all the hand tools in one place to bring back to the house.
Not something you have to have, but something you end up being grateful for if you do much gardening. Plus this is a way to keep things tidy, even if you have a small garden
and "hauling things around" doesn't hold so much importance.
A couple of things that are nice for gardening and with use might find its way into the 'necessary' category for you would be a pair of garden boots, known as Wellies in England. Or for this climate, the colorful plastic clogs,
which I find more useful in the humid summers. These are great for tromping around in the soil, whether moist or dry.
They slip on and off and are waterproof, stainproof, and dried mud is just knocked off. You also may find a large galvanized
watering can useful, especially if you have many plant containers to water.
Garden Hoses! Get a good quality hose with quality brass fittings, and find sprayers that do the job you desire, these, too, will be a money and time saver if you purchase with quality rather than economy in mind.
I recently bought some on sale, a long handled one and a short handled. If you have container plants on the porch the long handled
sprayer attachment is really going to be handy. I have found those black perforated soaker hoses good for my drought-given summers. They preserve
water that would get evaporated into the air with the use of regular sprinklers. Although, the kids have more fun with the sprinklers. Another nicety which
can easily turn necessity ( if you have enough length of hose) is some sort of Garden Hose Reel, I haven't found the perfect type yet, but it is better to have one than to struggle with dragging lots of hose all over th eyard in a tangled mess.
OK, now I am telling stories on myself...
I like to have a large watering can for watering containers. For all my garden beds I use a hose with a long handled sprayer attachment, capable of different spray patterns and strengths.
You will probably want to a way to make your own compost. Use the leaves you rake, either by themselves or mixed into other compost makings. A leaf rake is important for leaves and grass clippings, a garden rake is too heavy and hard to use for this, it is much better for raking small stones and clods of dirt from garden soil
I like using an English style border fork.
This is about the size of the square bladed spade and is useful for turning compost, and for dividing perennials or digging up plants with less damage to their root system.
There are many types of hoes and weeding tools. My favorite hoes are the shuffle hoe and the regular garden hoe. My favorite weeders are the adze and the cape cod weeders. I also appreciate the dandelion weeder
for grabbing long rooted weeds and prying them out.
More Helpful Tips! Don't forget to clean your tools before winter storage. eHow.com
says you can get rid of rust by wiping with kerosene and using steel wool to gently rub off the rust. You can coat them with WD-40 or mineral oil,
and linseed oil.