Gardening: is it a hobby, an art, or a sport? No matter how you classify it, it’s a wonderful way to spend your time. Gardening combines artistry and ecology with physical activity. It’s also the perfect thing to get into now while trying our best to stay at home and limit contact with others.
If you are new to gardening, it may seem overwhelming at first. You may be asking yourself: What plants should I purchase? What tools will I need? Where should I even start? But, fear not, garden enthusiast! If you can get to a local garden store or Home Depot, you will find a collection of plants that will thrive in your area, as well as all the tools you will need to get started.
This list of the ten most essential garden tools will help you become that gardening master you’ve always wanted to be.
Gloves protect your hands from thorns, dirt and plant sap. They allow you to work longer and get more “intimate” with your plants. Gloves may not seem like the most essential gardening tool, or even like a tool at all. But here’s the thing: if you start pruning or planting without a good pair of gloves, you may abandon the idea of gardening before you even really get started! Go get yourself a pair of gloves if you are serious about gardening.
9. Kneeler or Seat
You may be thinking: a kneeler, seriously? And, while it’s true that you can garden without one, you may not want to after learning about how useful it can be. When working with house plants, you can choose a work spot at a comfortable height. However, outside, there’s no other option – we have to get down to earth, literally. Squatting can be hard on your back, legs and feet. Also, sitting in the dirt can be hard on your clothes. So, find yourself a good kneeler or stool, depending on your preferred position for gardening, and if it has an attached tool bag or pocket, all the better. Your body will thank you!
8. Pruning Shears
OK, now we’re getting down to the meat-and-potatoes of gardening tools. If, like most backyards, yours already has a few plants and shrubs in it, it’s best to work on those first and, once you have them the way you like them, you can head out to buy some other plants to fill in the gaps. Use the pruning shears to trim back anything that looks scraggly and unkempt. Make diagonal cuts instead of cutting branches and stems straight across, as this will encourage new growth. And make sure you keep those shears dry and greased between uses, so that they will serve you for years to come.
7. Garden Fork
Once you’ve pruned the existing plants on your property, you’ll need to prepare the newcomers’ ground. A good garden fork can help loosen up the soil around existing plants, allow the soil to aerate, and add fertilizer as needed. If it’s not too large, a garden fork is an excellent tool for indoor gardening as well, since potted plants also need to have their soil loosened from time to time. Ensure the one you choose has a comfortable handle, as this will be a well-loved part of your tool collection.
A garden fork is excellent for smaller areas and potted plants, but for larger patches of hardened dirt, you’ll need a hoe. Along with a shovel, a good hoe is indispensable for turning over a garden before a new planting season begins. It can also be used for loosening the soil in larger areas, like around trees and along fence borders. With a hoe, the handle’s length needs to be appropriate for your height to protect your back from unnecessary strain.
5. Hand Trowel
Now you’ve got your old plants trimmed nicely, and your ground turned over and ready. So, what’s next? Pick out some new plants and get digging! A hand trowel is a perfect tool for digging a spot for smaller plants, like flowers and bulbs. Just like with the garden fork, a comfortable handle will spare you blisters and discomfort.
4. Shovel or Spade
When adding larger plants, like shrubs and trees, you’ll need a shovel or spade to make a big enough hole for the roots to fit comfortably and without being damaged. A good shovel is also just a good tool to have around the house in general – you never know when it will come in handy. And, as with the hoe, make sure the handle length is the right size for your height.
A good quality rake is something your budding garden simply can’t do without. Not only useful for raking up leaves in the fall, but you will also find it helpful in gathering trimmings after pruning, spreading fertilizer or wood chips, or removing dead leaves and stalks from older plants. A nice, wide rake is ideal, and though it may not last quite as long as a metal one, a plastic head is gentler on smaller, newer plants and softer soil.
2. Hose and Watering Can
Plants vary as far as water intake, but one thing’s for sure: all plants need water to survive, especially if you don’t get a lot of rain where you live. A hose with a water-saving spray head will do the trick nicely for vegetable and other wide beds. For narrower flower and edging beds, a watering can is more than sufficient and will help you save money on your water bill. As for potted plants inside, you will want a watering-can with a long, thin nozzle to keep water in your pots and off of your floors and furniture.
Unless you plan to do all of your gardening inside, a good wheelbarrow is a must. You’d be surprised by how much compost-worthy stuff can get generated by pruning and raking. Without a wheelbarrow, you would have to make many more trips to the compost bin. So, give yourself a break, and invest in a good-quality wheelbarrow.
There you have it – with these ten essential garden tools, you will be ready to start creating your own, private Eden. Your perfect garden, and all the joy that gardening brings, await!