Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there are certain tools that every gardener needs to be successful and have a more enjoyable time gardening.
When you are looking to purchase any garden tool it is highly recommended that you only purchase quality products.
This will insure that you have the tool for many years to come, which will help you save money in the long run.
Also, it is disappointing when a tool breaks in the middle of working with it and you don’t have a replacement on hand.
1. GARDEN TROWEL / SPADE
One of the most basic tools for a gardener is a hand trowel or spade which is an essential small hand-held shovel that is made for digging up weeds, scooping soil, planting, and transplanting plants.
There are several different designs including one with a saw blade on now side for cutting through roots. Because of the different designs, you may want more than one spade.
Choose a model with a non-slip grip and ergonomic handle to prevent hand aches as well as slippage. A stainless steel trowel is more durable and it is less likely to rust.
Regardless of your skill level, a hand-held trowel is an essential tool that every gardener should have in their tool shed.
2. PRUNING SHEARS
There are several reasons to own a good pair of pruning shears but the main one is for convenience.
These tools help to cut branches quickly and efficiently without straining your hands.
A good pair of pruning shears should be easy to maintain and sharpen. It should also come with a locking mechanism that keeps the blades closed when not in use.
If you are planning to buy a new pair then choose ones made from durable materials and one that is designed to swap out components quickly.
This is particularly important for young children who could potentially damage the blades of the pruners.
Proper use of pruning shears is vital for the health and beauty of the plants.
Pruning will keep the plant healthy and attractive, preventing the plant from growing out of control. There are several types of pruning shears, which are categorized as an anvil, bypass, and ratchet.
Bypass pruners are best used for cutting live wood while anvil pruners are mainly used for removing dead wood. A bypass pruner is easier to use than an anvil pruner and is great for cutting twigs and thicker stems.
Depending on the purpose you might want more than one that is suitable for both your needs and your budget.
3. HAND-HELD WEEDERS
A hand-held weeder is a useful lightweight tool to remove weeds from your garden beds or around shrubs.
Hand-held weeders come in a wide variety of designs.
Some have a miniature hoe on the opposite side of the weeder while others resemble long-handled weeding tools.
Despite their short handles these weeders still give you good control and are powerful enough to make any job quick and easy.
A fishtail weeder is another essential tool for your garden. Its long narrow shaft makes it easy to dig deep into the soil and work across large areas.
Its blade is in the shape of an upside-down V and helps remove roots and weeds. Some of these tools have ergonomic handles, while others have a fulcrum for a steady grip.
4. GARDEN RAKE
Garden rake handles are made from wood, aluminum, stainless steel, or fiberglass, but it is recommended to choose an aluminum handle because it is lightweight and will last for years.
Rakes help remove stones before planting, smoothing out the surface of the soil, and can help to prepare your garden beds.
5. GARDEN HOE
A garden hoe has a long handle with a paddle or blade at the end but this tool also is available as a hand tool for tight places.
This tool can also come as a combo with a three-prong rake that can make weeding easier especially when the root system is close to the surface of the soil.
This simple but important tool is used for removing weeds at the roots as well as mounding up soil and shaping it.
This is great when your potato plants need more topsoil and is also helpful when making strawberry beds. There are different variations to this tool depending on your needs.
A cultivator is a tool with a long handle that is used to break up the soil at the surface, preparing the soil for fertilizing, improving water absorption as well as removing weeds.
You should look for a sturdy handle and a solid shaft will be the best quality and last the longest.
A good tiller will make the work of turning and improving your soil easier and faster, but it is more costly than a cultivator and may only be used once or twice a year. Tillers are more practical for medium to large-sized gardens because of the time savings over the use of a cultivator.
Also, a quality tiller starts at around $300 and goes up from there to over $2,000 and with a smaller garden, this expense may not be worth it.
When digging the soil in your garden a shovel is a must-have tool.
There are several types to choose from but most shovels are sharp and have a step on top of the blade.
This step helps the gardener push the shovel into the ground with their foot.
There are several types of shovels and some people confuse a spade with a shovel.
A spade is similar to a shovel but has a flat blade with a concave design. A spade is designed to dig soil and can be used as a scooper or a digger. The edges are sharp and help cut through tough soil.
TYPES OF SHOVELS
With many different kinds of shovels, choosing the right one for the job can be the difference between a short task and one that takes all day.
Flat shovels are designed with a flat square blade to scoop dirt, mulch, compost, or gravel and are the perfect shovel to use with a wheelbarrow.
Pointed shovels are designed with a point at the tips of the shovel, narrows towards the tip, curves up slightly, and are made for digging.
The foot plate allows you to use your weight to push the blade deeper into the dirt and makes it easier when digging in heavily compacted soil.
SHORT-HANDLED UTILITY SHOVEL
These shovels are just like pointed shovels but with a shorter D-handle, making this perfect for working in tight spaces.
This shovel is also known as a ditch shovel and is perfect for digging shallow trenches, as well as cleaning them out.
They have a long, narrow blade with a pointed tip, and are set at an angle to the handle.
Because the blade is so narrow, using your foot to drive the blade into the soil is not possible. Instead of using your foot, you will have to use arm power and because of this, it will be difficult to dip a deep trench.
Pitchforks have a long handle with four or more tines and are used to move hay, straw, manure, or compost.
They come in a variety of different styles depending on the job that needs to be completed and some offer a D-handle for easier lifting.
They also come in varying lengths from 29 inches to 55 inches long and the handles are made from wood, fiberglass, stainless steel, and carbon steel.
9. COMPOST THERMOMETER
A compost thermometer is a necessary tool that helps you to monitor your compost pile so that you know when it is appropriate to turn the pile or add some water.
For proper decomposition, the temperature of the pile needs to be between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the pile reaches 160 degrees then the pile will need to be turned.
If your pile is not properly heating up then it may be an issue of the pile being too small, or not enough water or nitrogen which is necessary for decomposition.
Another issue is that you may not have enough of the right bacteria and may need to add some by purchasing a compost starter or compost activator.
10. PH METER AND PH TEST KITS
Matching the soil’s pH level to the needs of what you are growing is essential to happy and healthy plants.
They range in price from below $10 to over $400 with some offering a duel pH meter and moisture meter or a multifunction tester that reads the pH meter, moisture meter, and light meter.
A pH meter with two probes is more accurate than a single probe meter.
The calibration of the meter is vital to an accurate reading and should be checked at least once a year and are simple to calibrate with newer models.
The other option for testing your own soil is to use a pH test kit. These kits used strips to test the pH of the soil
11. MOISTURE METER
Moisture meters are single probe meters that read how much moisture is in the soil without the need for a battery.
They have three ranges that also display 1 through 10 meaning dry is 1 through 3, moist is 4 through 7 and wet is 8 through 10
They don’t require upkeep such as calibration and they are reasonably priced with most being around $10.
Wheelbarrows are good for moving soil to or from your garden. They come in different sizes and are made of steel or plastic.
For a typical backyard garden, a 4 – 6 cubic feet wheelbarrow will be sufficient.
Ones that are made from plastic should be made with UV-resistant plastic.
Steel wheelbarrows should be hung on a barn wall or turned upside down with 3 – 4 bricks or blocks.
This is to make sure that water doesn’t collect at the bottom of the wheelbarrow and rust it out.
13. GARDEN HOSE AND A WATERING WAND
Garden hoses come in many different lengths and qualities but what is most important is protecting the hoses from the damaging rays of the sun with a hose reel.
When using a hose reel or just coiling up your hose, take your time and don’t put kinks in the hose. Over time, this leads to pinholes in the hose which will lead to larger holes.
Watering wands come in many different styles with some being ergonomically designed for the hand.
Unlike traditional watering cans, watering wands provide a gentle rain-like spray that doesn’t drown plants.
Instead of a hard blast, the watering wand prevents the soil from splashing out and damaging delicate plants.
These wands also have long shafts that enable you to reach plants without bending or squatting.
They also allow you to reach plants in window boxes and balconies.
When choosing between watering wands and spray nozzles, it’s important to find a model that suits your needs.
14. GARDENING GLOVES
A good pair of gardening gloves can come in handy when pruning plants like a rose bush but they can also help prevent blisters and cuts.
They also help you keep your grip which reduces hand fatigue and yes they keep your hands clean. This may be more desirable with container gardening for some people.