“A bad workman blames his tools” or so the saying goes. But if you don’t have any tools, who are you going to blame?
Seriously, though, I’d be lost without my gardening tools because they save me so much time and pain. Literally! Using the wrong tool or equipment around the garden can really cause some serious back problems. You want to make your time in the garden as much fun as possible without ending up needing a trip to the chiropractor.
Here’s my top 10 gardening tools that I’d never be without. Of course the list goes on but these are the first things I’d recommend investing in before you start.
A trowel is simply a short handled spade. This is used for digging small holes in the garden when transplanting seedlings. It’s also used to fill a pot with potting mix if you are doing container gardening. Trowels can be light weight and made of plastic or a more sturdy steel/aluminum construction with wooden handles.
This is a pronged hand tool used to break up the surface of the soil. Use a cultivator to scratch out loose weeds in the garden or fluff up your worm farm (acid from your hands can kill any eggs).
Small hand held snips are used for light stem or tip pruning around the garden. If you’re dead heading (taking off the dead flowers to encourage the plant to keep flowering) or harvesting vegetables or even cutting string for tying plants to stakes, then snips or secateurs will do the job. Look for “anvil” blades for cutting old woody twigs or “bypass” blades for soft plant material.
LONG HANDLED TOOLS
Forks are essential for moving loose materials, especially compost. Long handles mean easier work on your back and less bending.
A spade has a round edge where a shovel has a square edge. A round pointed edge is good for digging holes when planting or turing over soil. Square edges with slightly turned up sides are best for scooping up garden materials. You can use a square edge for making straight lines for planting or defining edges.
This long handled tool is used for chipping out weeds or defining planting drills (rows) without bending over.
Gather leaves into a pile from around the garden with a plastic light weight rake. A sturdier metal rake is good for scratching in manures, compost and rock dust into the soil. Leveling out soil can be done using the back of the rake.
You’ll need a wheel barrow to cart materials from one end of the garden to another, like moving compost from your compost heap to the veggie patch. Rake up leaves and then transport them back to your compost via the wheel barrow. Saves time and effort.
If Harry Potter can use his wand to do magic, then I can perform garden magic with my watering wand! The long handle means that I can reach plants and pots that are just a bit out of reach, so I avoid over stretching and hurting myself. It’s great for watering hanging pots if you get one with a tilting head. The rotating nozzle has different selections so I can do anything from misting or showering through to full pressure or even jet spray. Fantastic – I’ve even known visiting kids come over and play with my watering wand in preference to the toy box!
Must have a trolley. This is particularly handy when moving large heavy pots or bails of garden materials. It makes light work and easy movement and saves the back.