Gardening as a hobby and as passion is a serious business. When you have converted yourself to getting your hands green, you sure need to have the prerequisites of this beautiful art. You may be in your infancy or an experienced gardener but the choice your garden tools will decide the extent to which your backyard can be treated giving it a very natural look that it deserves. A combination of the right garden tools takes care of soil preparation, planting of seeds, harvest that has grown, and finally cleaning up plant debris for winter. Your choice of garden tools could be fancy or practical, latest gizmo or traditional depending on what accentuates your style of gardening. Here is the list of 10 must-have gardening tools.
1. Good, Sharp Pruners
If you are into a lot of pruning stuff, this ought to be your number one tool. A strong and comfortable sharp pruner will make you seem indefatigable as it makes your job much easier. It is sure to conserve your energy for various other gardening tasks. Buy the by-pass-type. Garden shears function well to trim the plants, to remove dead and diseased stems, to cut back the perennial flowers, small twigs and other ingredients for your compost pile or for disposal.
2. Long-handle Pointed Shovel
Prefer the pointed version of the short-handled variety. A pointed shovel helps to turn over the soil, dig a trench, dig holes, move plants and rocks, and scoop up as also spread loose material like sand, mulch and compost. When you go for a good quality shovel, it is sure to last you for many years. While there are many choices available in terms of weight, material used and the purpose, a gardener is always best off to pick the shovel that feels just right in his hands.
3. Garden Rake
Also referred to as ground rake or bow rake, this tool is just indispensable. Go for a heavy-duty, yet light steel rake. With short tines attached on one side to the frame or bow, the rake smooths out the growing surface, breaks up clumps of soil, particularly if the soil has clay, and cleans up plant debris, twigs, and such other materials. The rake head should not be wiggly or be loose but should fit firmly in the handle.
When you pull the tomatoes, peppers or any other vegetables off the liana by hand, you often end up pulling some of the stems from the main stem away, thereby damaging the plant and opening it to insect damage and plant disease. At this juncture, a curved knife comes to your rescue. It helps make a clean cut for harvesting broccoli, cabbage or to cut leaf lettuce and greens.
With many options available on shapes and sizes to choose from, narrow down your selection on one big factor – does your hand appreciate it? Trowels help you to get up really close to your plants. Choose the kneeling option. A little bit of bending to get personal with your plants is ok. Trowel is absolutely helpful for planting tubers, bulbs, rhizomes, plants, etc.; for cultivating, dividing plants, weeding, and digging out small rocks. When you have space constraint they work better than even a rake or a hoe.
A hori-hori is a favorite of several gardeners. This Japanese tool has a stainless steel curved-in blade with sharp edge on one side and a saw-like edge on the other. It is a great help to cut through roots, and even for transplanting and/or dividing perennials, slicing through clod, weeding, getting rid of bonsai plants from the pots and many more garden tasks.
Hoes are the go-to devices when moving soil, making trenches for seeds and transplants, besides for cultivating and weeding. A loop hoe does a good job of edging and weeding. Its back and forth motion works perfectly for turning inside out the soil’s top layer and scraping the roots carefully out of the dirt. Also, they cultivate the soil’s top layer, making it perfect for mixing fertilizers and compost in the top layer with no disturbance to the soil structure beneath.
Technology is making its way to our gardens too and it is especially helpful for novice gardeners. Plant sensors feed data on your plant with its growing environment on your phone. Their objective is to assist you in becoming a better gardener by checking on your plant’s vitals – like moisture levels and sunlight, advising you on how to take care of the plants and alarming you when something is wrong.
If your garden is not exactly reachable for your hose or if you are maintaining a plot in the community garden, then will you carry gallons and gallons of water to the green area? Rather, get a self-watering container. In fact, you can even make one, rather than purchase it, if you have a huge storage bin. This works perfect not only for the above situation but also for some of us who are slightly forgetful of this activity. A self-watering container is sure to simplify your gardening life!
Keep two sets of garden gloves: one for heavy lifting like removing sharp brambles or rough plants or rocks and another set for general harvesting when the plants or the garden is wet. Though dirty hands are synonymous to gardening, working bare-handed with soil dries out your hands, causing cuts and bruises. Gloves work here! Kneeling on bare soil for long makes knees a bit sore. Kneelers – pieces of Styrofoam or pieces of old carpet – anything that cushions your knees from tiny rocks will protect your knees. Your head will surely thank you for protecting it with a good fitting hat.
Gardening is not a one-time activity. It’s a process that progresses with you with every passing year. Maintaining a journal that records the evolutions of your garden – written as well as a visual record – will give you a better idea of what grows best there. In short, by the time you have become a successful gardener, you will have lots of green memories to look back on.