Basic Tools for the Beginning Gardener

If you’re just starting to garden, here are some tools and accessories that will make your job easier. If you’ve been gardening for a while, you may need to renew or replace some of your tools.

Gloves – Working in the soil can quickly dry out hands and cause cracking, to say nothing about blackened fingernails and cuticles which can be hard to get clean. Gloves are especially necessary when working with manure, compost, and mulch.  Leather gloves are good when carrying concrete blocks, rocks, or pavers. Nitrile gloves are easier to work with when handling plants as their thinner structure allow more control.

Hand Pruners – There are four basic designs of pruning shears. In the bypass pruner, the blades pass each other to cut. For thicker branches, the bypass ratcheting pruner comes in handy. For cutting spent flower heads, the pruning shears are great. Finally, the last design has a narrow plate on which the cutting blade strikes to make the cut.

Watering Can – You’ll like having one of these with small holes in the spray head for watering tender seedlings and new plants; and it will take water to places the hose won’t reach.

Hand Trowel –The hand trowel will come in handy for digging planting holes, scooping compost, filling pots with potting soil, and a bunch of other uses in the garden. Wood handled, maple or white oak, are tougher and last longer than fir and pine. You can sand down the handle and paint it bright colors so you can find it easily. For the strongest trowel, look for carbon steel, stainless steel, or tempered.

Garden Hose – You’ll want enough hose to reach the farthest garden plot. If you have multiple outdoor faucets, you’ll want a hose with a spray nozzle attached to each one. Kink proof is great because there’s nothing more annoying than a kinked hose. If you go for the newer “shrinking” hoses, be sure to release the pressure in them when you are finished watering.

Garden Rake – A fan rake works for leaves and small piles of debris, but for heavier jobs like moving dirt and raking garden beds, you’ll want a welded bow rake.

Garden Digging or Soil Knife – You’ll keep this knife close to you as it has many uses like digging weeds, opening plastic bags of mulch and potting soil, and cutting string