Gardening Tools

Gardening Tools

Beresford Community Garden
photo credit: vicki moore

Most gardeners I know have their favorite gardening tools.  I have my favorites and then there are some tools I hardly ever use.

There are a few basic garden tools that are needed for the home garden, and they can be broken down into a few primary functions.

There are garden tools for digging, weeding and cultivating, tools for cutting, raking, schlepping, watering, and protecting yourself in the garden.  These types of tools often have both long handle tools and a similar hand tools for smaller tasks.  Then there are the power tools that may or may not be needed, depending on the size of the home garden.

Digging Tools – Shovels And Spades

Harvesting potatos - Gardening Tools

 photo credit: tillwe

Some basic tools for digging include shovels or spades, pitchforks, and hand trowels.

Shovels and spades come in many sizes and shapes:  narrow, wide, pointed, rounded, long handled, and short handled.  I have almost all of these and use them all.

One of my favorite digging tools is my narrow long shovel (which is really a spade).  With it, I can dig deeply and get into some very narrow spaces.  I love this tool.

A small shovel is also a favorite of mine as I am able to do small digging jobs that don’t require a large tool, and it is lightweight and easy to carry.

My pitchfork is irreplacable, and I use it even more than I do my narrow shovel.  It is possible to get under a large plant like a shrub or perennial that needs dividing and just lift out the plant without taking a lot of soil with it and without having a large clump that weighs a ton.

My hand trowel is great for planting, digging weeds and making furrows in a small area.  I have several trowels which we place in number of strategic locations in both the front yard and the back for easy access.

Cultivating Tools

Cultivating tools are needed for loosening the soil and are very handy for weeding as well.

I have several garden tools for cultivating.  While I have several hoes which most people think of hoes as cultivating tools, I also have a twist cultivator and a wing weeder.  I hardly ever use my hoe except for deep farrowing in a planting row.

The twist cultivator is my favorite cultivator as it can both loosen the soil and snare nasty grass roots for weeding. I use this tool all the time.

While the wing weeder is primarily for weeding, I use it for some light cultivating as well.  It is one of my favorite tools, as it can take care of some shallow rooted weeds in a hurry.
Vineyard pruning

 photo credit: comprock

Cutting Tools – Pruners And Saws

Next we come to the cutting tools.  These include pruners, loppers, garden sheers and pruning  saws.  I have all of these.

My bypass pruner is one of my most used tools.  It is perfect for cutting out small branches in a shrub and for cutting flowers.  It is in’t strong enough to cut large branches though.  I leave that to my loppers.  My bypass pruner is one of my most used tools.  I have several of these which I also put in both the front and back yard for easy access.

Straight nosed nippers are perfect for cutting in tight places or for cutting flowers.  I am glad that I have this tool when I need it.

I couldn’t live without my bypass loppers, which I use for pruning out larger branches in a shrub.  I couldn’t prune my thorny roses or barberry without them.  Their long handle keeps the thorns away from my arms, while they are strong enough to cut the larger branches.

For the largest branches I need a pruning saw, which is curved to make it easier to get around a limb of a large shrub or small tree limb.  If you aren’t the energetic type, this may be a job for a gardener and you may never need one.

Another pruning tool is the sheers.  They are good for shaping a shrub rather than pruning out branches.  So, if you like rounded or squared off shrubs, this is a good tool for you.  I use them a little less frequently than my loppers, but I am glad I have them when I need them.

There are several long handled loppers and saws which help you get into a tree.  I don’t have any of these.  However, they could be useful additions to a set of tools.

Garden Rakes

Die Arbeit ist getan
photo credit: onnola

Garden rakes are essential tools for any garden and there are several different types.  I have several.

A common garden rake is a flat heavy rake with short heavy tines.  It is perfect for leveling soil in the garden, but not so good for raking up material like leaves unless you really want to dig into the soil as well.  I use my garden rake for leveling out my vegetable beds in the spring.

My favorite rake is an adjustible rake with long tines that can be spread out or left narrowly together.  This is a perfect tool for light raking and for gathering leaves.  It is good for getting into wides spaces or for some very narrow ones.  This is my favorite rake..

We also have other leaf rakes and a small baby rake which is useful for light jobs and getting into small spaces.

Garden Schlepping Equipment – Garden Carts And Wheel Barrows

No garden is complete without some equipment for schlepping.  This can be as simple as a 5 gallon paint bucket, to colorful garden tubs, wheel barrows and garden carts.  I have all but the garden cart.

My most useful schlepping tool is the colorful tub.  I have many of these, positioned in several parts of the garden for collecting weeds that I have pulled, plants that I want to move or something to soak roots of a plants I want to get ready for planting.

I have a four wheel wheelbarrow which is just narrow enough to get into some tight spaces yet large enough to tackle fairly large schlepping jobs.  There are other larger wheel barrows and garden carts, but any of these would be too big for my garden.

Watering Tools – Garden Hoses, Sprinkers And Watering Cans

photo credit: DaveBleasdale

Watering tools include hoses, watering cans, and sprinklers.  I have all of these and use all of them.  I have the usual assortment of hoses and nozzles.

My newest additions are a noodle head sprinkler which can be adjusted to the shape of the area to be watered and a new hose nozzle with different kind of adjustible flow from the usual nozzle.  We will see how I like these as the summer goes on.

Protective Equipment – Garden Gloves And Protective Clothing

The best protective equipment includes gloves.  There are many kinds from lightweight to heavy duty rose gloves and even hevy gloves for winter gardening.  You will want additional protective clothing if you use pesticides or herbicides in your garden.

Lawn Mowers

If you have a lawn, you will want a mower, either electric or push mower.  We have only a push mower as the lawn is small.

Garden Power Equipment

There is a variety of power equipment that the gardener may want to have.  These include string weeders, mowers, blowers.  The string weeder is the only power tool I have.  I find it useful, but not essential in my garden.

Other Gardening Tools And Equipment

Other good garden tools to have items include, floating row covers for covering tender plants, collapsible bags, plant stakes, tarps, and a soil thermometer.

The list of gardening tools and garden equipment is nearly endless.  If you are just starting out, start out with just one or two in each type of tool (digging tools, pruning tools, cultivating tools, garden carts, etc) and you should do fine in the beginning.  It is only when you know what you like and see what you need to do in your garden that you really need to expand the number of tools you have.

Now go have some fun digging in the dirt!


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