When gardening, you need a variety of garden tools. These tools come in different shapes and sizes. It is therefore up to you to analyze your needs and choose tools that will meet your gardening needs. A person with a large garden may need different tools than someone with a small garden or one who has potted plants on a balcony.
Below are some of the garden tools that a gardener should have. This does not mean that you must have all these tools. For instance, if your plants are potted, you may not need to use a garden fork, rake and hoe; but a garden trowel may be useful for planting in pots. On other hand, if you have a small garden, you may only need to use a few of the tools such as a garden fork, a hoe and a shovel. You may however, need gloves regardless of the type of garden that you have.
- Garden fork: When the soil needs turning, a garden fork is the best tool. It is also useful in mixing nutrients and creating soil aeration as well as lifting, turning and loosening the soil. Its other names are spading fork, grape or digging fork and it is among the must-have tools in a garden. It features a handle with a T or D at the end and about four closely spaced tines.
- Garden spade: This is for turning soil, aeration and digging. It can also be used for cutting a trench, or edging on thick turf. However, if you want to dig holes in areas that are confined such as that of a bed that is densely planted, you can use a transplant spade.
- Garden hoe: This is one of the oldest garden tools around and it is the best tool for removing weeds in the garden. You can also use it to shape soil such as piling soil around plants and creating trenches and furrows that are narrow. You can use it to harvest root crops, dig holes and to clear soil. The hoes come in different shapes such as the pull hoe, oscillating hoe, Dutch hoe and scuffle.
- Rake. It is for clearing debris that is around or under plants as well as picking garden trash and leaves. It ensures that the leaves are removed without damaging the roots and crowns of plants. A bow rake can be used for leveling soil when planting and spreading movable materials such as gravel, compost and mulch; as well as removing heavy debris. A leaf rake is for removing light debris and for raking twigs and grass clippings.
- Hand Pruners /pruning shears/ clippers/ secateurs: Plants and flower branches may require cutting every now and then when you are pruning small branches and damaged foliage. Some of these branches may be thick, in which case you will need a hand pruner. This pruner can cut branches (provided their thickness is less than ¾ inch), cut perennial clumps, slice root balls during planting and cut flowers. You can also use it for shaping and trimming plants. There are different types of pruners that include bypass, anvil and ratchet pruners. Bypass pruners are the most common and they operate just like scissors while anvil and ratchet pruners perform like a knife and board.
You should use a long handle pruner for cutting branches that more than ¾ inches thick.
- Hori hori knife or Japanese gardener’s knife: This multipurpose knife can be used for weeding, planting bulbs and light digging. You can also use it to transplant perennials where their blade cuts the roots. Its pointed end can also be used as a crevice tool. The knife has a multipurpose blade with two sharp sides.
- Wheelbarrow: At times there is need to carry loads in the garden; often times, the load is too heavy to carry alone. The wheelbarrow makes transporting easier and is designed to be operated by one person. It is comprises of a hand propelled device that operates with one wheel and pushed using two handles.
- Garden trowel or a hand fork: This is an essential tool, especially for planting in containers. It can also be used in the garden for weeding and planting bulbs and young plants, as well as for small digging tasks. The tool has a handle and a metal blade that is scoop shaped.
- Garden trowel or a hand fork: These are for trimming hedges, edging paths, cutting herbaceous perennials and long grass. They can also be used for trimming shrubs and grass surrounding tree trunks.
- Garden Shovel: Tasks involving moving, lifting and digging materials such as sand, soil and compost take place around the garden. A shovel with a round head is better suited to perform these tasks. It can also be used to dig holes for planting shrubs and trees. Most shovels have a handle and a broad blade.
- Gloves: Gloves are essential in the garden for protecting the hands. They are made of different materials such as synthetic washable gloves that can be used when undertaking general maintenance in the garden like handling seeds, weeding when the soil is dry and deadheading. These gloves have a thin fabric. There are also latex coated gloves that are resistant to punctures and can be used for performing dirty and wet jobs such as when planting shrubs or picking leaves. They can also be used when you are dealing with thorny plants. If you intend to undertake tough jobs such as clearing bushes and digging holes, heavy duty gloves made of leather are better suited for these tasks.
Although this is not an exhaustive list of garden tools, it features those that are commonly used by gardeners. The tools you may need as a gardener depends on where you grow your plants. It is therefore important to analyze your needs before purchasing a garden tool to ensure that you will need it.