- Necessary Tools
- Hand Trowel
- Hedge Shears
- Pruning Shears
- Leaf Rake
- Wheel Barrow
Because each gardener is unique and each garden is different, some of my priorities and advice will be different from yours. Use this page for general suggestions and checklists. And there are always new gizmos on the market that might become the new necessities! Listed here are some basic choices, something like a trowel is needed no matter how large or small a garden, but some tools become more necessary as you hone in on a particular interest. Take bulb planting, for example. If you wish for just a few bulbs to line your walkway of a a few yards, a trowel will suit you just fine, but if you have a large area that you wish to naturalize with many clumps of bulbs, you may find a bulb planter just as necessary a tool for your needs.
What to begin with? A trowel; but not just any trowel. I want you to find the best you can afford. This is one tool not to skimp on, and if you shop garage sales or auctions it need not be expensive. It should feel comfortable in the hand with the strongest shank, solidly connected to the handle or even one with it. A strong heavy steel is preferred. The trowel is used for every garden endeavor from containers to borders to bulb planting; it can weed, dig, cultivate, divide plants, work in edging bricks, pry out small rocks. You name it, the sturdy garden trowel can do it. If you should decide to economize on this tool, you will regret it. Several replacements that don't work properly are not an economy. I have broken one or two and my boys- well, let's just say when it comes to breaking tools, they manage a superior job. My favorite was a West German (that dates me!) solid steel trooper. Unfortunately, it has disappeared and I do miss it -never found it's equal. A good one will cost around ten to twenty dollars, and worth every penny.
Next, the spade: there are several types and I like having three kinds, but the most basic is the long handled rounded digging spade. Some might like the same type with the D-handle. This is necessary for moving larger amounts of dirt and digging borders; it can handle edging, dividing large perennials, moving plants, shrubs, grubbing out unwanted woody plants, and planting wanted ones. A straight bladed spade is a good edger, and the long bladed nursery spade is very useful. The garden fork has excellent results in everything but moving soil and edging
There are no substitutes for the cutting tools, hedge shears and pruners.
These are needed to trim bushes, overgrown perennials or dead stalks, deadhead flowers, trim roses, and remove small dead branches.
Loppers handle all large unwieldy branches from bushes and trees. The pruning saw is for larger branches, I like the Japanese hand saw
for something too large for loppers, and a bow saw for hand cutting very large branches. I leave the chainsaw work to guys.
Books to read and gardeners goodies, Garden Sundries aStore.
A couple of things that are nice for gardening and with use might find its way into the 'necessary' category for you would be a pair of garden boots, known as Wellies in England. Or for this climate, the colorful plastic clogs, which I find more useful in the humid summers. These are great for tromping around in the soil, whether moist or dry. They slip on and off and are waterproof, stainproof, and dried mud is just knocked off. You also may find a large galvanized watering can useful, especially if you have many plant containers to water.
Garden Hoses! Get a good quality hose with quality brass fittings, and find sprayers that do the job you desire, these, too, will be a money and time saver if you purchase with quality rather than economy in mind. I recently bought some at Target on sale, a long handled one and a short handled. If you have container plants on the porch the long handled sprayer attachment is really going to be handy. I have found those black perforated soaker hoses good for my drought-given summers. They preserve water that would get evaporated into the air with the use of regular sprinklers. Although, the kids have more fun with the sprinklers. Another nicety which can easily turn necessity ( if you have enough length of hose) is some sort of Garden Hose Reel , I haven't found the perfect type yet, but it is better to have one than to struggle with dragging lots of hose all over th eyard in a tangled mess. Ok, now I am telling stories on myself...
Tips from Dan Vierra:
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original Content Copyright: © Ilona's Garden, Ilona's Reflecting Pool, 2003-2011. All Rights Reserved. Other content attributed and copyright to their authors.
I like to have a large watering can for watering containers. For all my garden beds I use a hose with a long handled sprayer attachment, capable of different spray patterns and strengths.
You will probably want to a way to make your own compost. Use the leaves you rake, either by themselves or mixed into other compost makings. A leaf rake is important for leaves and grass clippings, a garden rake is too heavy and hard to use for this, it is much better for raking small stones and clods of dirt from garden soil
I like using an English style border fork. This is about the size of the square bladed spade and is useful for turning compost, and for dividing perennials or digging up plants with less damage to their root system.
There are many types of hoes and weeding tools. My favorite hoes are the shuffle hoe and the regular garden hoe. My favorite weeders are the adze and the cape cod weeders. I also appreciate the dandelion weeder for grabbing long rooted weeds and prying them out.
More Helpful Tips! Don't forget to clean your tools before winter storage. eHow.com says you can get rid of rust by wiping with kerosene and using steel wool to gently rub off the rust. You can coat them with WD-40 or mineral oil, and linseed oil.