10 Essential Gardening Tools

Today’s article is focused on the must-have gardening tools, that you absolutely need to make your life easier.

Whether it’s your first gardening season, you’re looking to replace your old tools or expand your current collection, you should focus on multi-purpose tools. That’s the way to go. You can save some cash by focusing on fewer tools and investing more in quality.

Buying high-quality tools, which you can use for many different garden tasks, is a much better strategy than picking up specialized, expensive tools that will only serve to clutter your tool shed.

So, it’s time to chuck those bent forks and dinky little-painted trowels, and get yourself a set of gardening gear that really work!

1. Garden knife

A really useful gardening tool. It’s like the Swiss army knife of the garden.

It cuts, it digs, it weeds!

It’s a great weeding tool thanks to its sharp edge, making it a great choice for either slicing weeds or digging them out completely.

You can use it as a transplanting and seed-planting tool, as well as a way to harvest your root crops safely. The models that have a blade with a ruler helps to make sure you’re planting seeds, seedlings, and bulbs at a uniform depth.

Opt for a stainless steel blade with a rubber handle for the perfect combination of durability and comfort.

2. Hand pruner

Hand pruners are used mostly to chop branches and stems.

This kind of breaks the “more than one purpose” rule, but pruning is such an essential gardening activity that it makes sense to have a tool dedicated to the job.

If you grow roses, shrubs or small trees, pruning shears (aka hand pruner, ;)) are a necessity. They provide a clean cut and are easy to use.

It has to be sturdy, comfortable and sharp to reduce fatigue (if you’re doing a lot of pruning, this is important) and keep you safe.

Make sure they’re sharp and make sure you like the way they fit in your hand. The pruners do the job, but if you’re uncomfortable using them, their effectiveness is immediately reduced and so is your positive experience.

3. Hand Rake

The hand rake is your soil manipulation tool. You can use it to smooth out soil, remove any pesky weeds that your garden knife didn’t take care of, or turn your soil. You can also use it to gently remove debris from under and around plants without damaging roots or crowns.

4. Bow Rake

The bow rake is your surface-level soil manipulation tool. It’s used mostly to level your garden, comb rocks and dirt clods out of a bed and make your soil more consistent for your plants.

It can also be used to spread mulch, gravel, sand, compost, and remove heavy debris.

Are you getting serious about gardening? If so, we suggest a bow rake with a fiberglass handle. It will last a lifetime, carrying you through even the biggest projects.

5. Digging fork

These are used to manipulate the soil below the surface of your garden.

You can turn and cultivate the unbroken soil, mix amendments into the soil, break up dirt clods, and lift bulbs and perennials for transplanting and dividing.

6. Round-headed Shovel

You won’t get far in the garden without a shovel. From digging holes to spreading mulch, your shovel will be one of your most used gardening tools.

The blade of this shovel has to be sharp with a lightweight handle that makes it easy to get a grip when digging.

If you are able to invest a little bit more, just like the bow rake, we would recommend a fiberglass handle that will not rot, splinter or require any kind of maintenance.

This multi-purpose tool allows you to dig holes to plant trees and shrubs and move loose materials, such as soil, gravel, sand, and compost.

It can also double as a transplanter or a means to dig out annoying weeds or stumps if necessary. 

There are many different types of garden shovels, but you can’t go wrong with a simple round-headed shovel.

7. Safety Glasses

Mowing the lawn, using a line trimmer on weeds or trimming branches or shrubs can be dangerous without protective eyewear.

Be sure to use good safety glasses to protect your sight.

8. Work Apron

Having a good apron will keep the dirt off of you and allow you to keep your tools close at hand. Your jeans never have enough pockets when it comes to tools for gardening.

Besides keeping the dirt off your clothes, a good apron also has to protect you against spills, flying debris and should have a good fit. Look for options that offer adjustable straps to be sure that it is going to suit you well.

9. Gloves

There are many types of gardening gloves out there made from a variety of materials, including leather and rubber.

The best type is lightweight with reinforced tips. These give you enough durability to protect from sharp objects with enough flexibility to still be a workable glove.

10. Knee Pads

If the thought of kneeling in your garden to tend to routine gardening chores makes you wince in pain, relax.

What you need are excellent knee pads that are thick enough to provide comfort and offer mobility to kneel effortlessly.

Kneeling on hard, uneven ground for hours at a time is a surefire way to wreck your knees over time.

Talking about multi-purpose again, a great knee pad is one that you can use pretty much everywhere, like cleaning floors, painting, or anything else that you need.

Overall Tips

For your hand tools, pay attention to the material: the handles should be comfortable and have an ergonomic grip. The bodies should preferably be made of stainless steel.

Look for D-shape handles on short-shafted tools, such as shovels and digging forks: they are easier on the wrists.

This will make your whole gardening experience way better and the maintenance of your equipment easier.

If you are buying tools online, make sure to check out the return policy before your purchase.

Store tools properly. Long-handled tools should be hung neatly on a peg rack, which will protect edges from dulling. Short-handled tools can be stored in a garden bag, that travels with you as you work, or can easily be kept in your gardening apron.

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