A good tool is essential to any gardener. It takes more than a few seeds in the ground to grow a garden, and every gardener relies on his/her own garden tools to accomplish this task. You usually do not need that many garden tools to get started, especially if you are only planning a small garden. In fact, you can usually get by with only a few basic garden tools such as a spade, rake, watering can, and small hand cultivating tool. If you are new to gardening, you should consider each gardening tool purchase with great care and base each garden tool on your specific gardening needs.
A rake is one of the most valuable garden tools found in nearly every gardener’s tool shed. Select a rake that is light weight with a handle that is suitable to your height. When I first began to garden, I didn’t realize that there were so many types of rakes to choose from or that each one served a particular purpose. I always thought a rake was just a rake. Not so. Selecting a rake, or any gardening tool, should match its intended purpose. When you have the right gardening tool for the task, the project is much easier and the results are more satisfactory. Large plastic rakes are lightweight, and because they are plastic, they will not rust. They have a wide sweep and are effective for clearing small to medium sized dry leaves. Flathead rakes are essential garden tools for any gardener. These rakes are typically used for breaking up soil clods, removing small rocks and stones, or smoothing surfaces by flipping them over with the tines facing upward. The welded bowhead is another good garden tool and similar to the flathead; however, bowhead rakes are often lighter and easier to use than the more heavy-duty flathead rakes. Bamboo rakes are both lightweight and durable. Bamboo tines are less likely to spear leaves too, making it less likely that you’ll have to stop every so often to clean out the tines. A well constructed bamboo rake will last for years and never rust. Adjustable metal rakes are garden tools that range in width from 12-18 inches. The tough metal tines are effective for raking leaves or de-thatching the lawn.
Digging tools are an essential part of most gardening chores. Probably the most important of all garden tools is the shovel. As with rakes, there are different types and styles to choose from, and each is designed to do a specific task. Round-tip shovels are great garden tools for digging and scooping. These types of shovels are generally used for planting trees and shrubs. Square-tip shovels are used to level off areas of holes or ditches. These shovels also work well for digging gravels or shoveling snow in the winter. Square-ended spades have a square end and are great for edging and cultivating. These can also be used to break up large chunks of dirt. D-handled shovels can be either round or square tipped and are used for moving soil and gravel from one place to another. The handle has a D-shaped metal hole at the top end, making lifting easier. A transplanting spade also has a D-shaped handle as well as a large flat-rounded tip that allows you to dig deep, getting to all of the roots. Another D-handled shovel is the wide scoop shovel. This shovel is ideal for scooping lightweight materials such as peat moss, potting soil, or bark mulch. You may want to consider keeping a trowel on hand for small gardening tasks that are unsuitable for large shovels.
What gardener is complete without a wheelbarrow? When choosing a wheelbarrow, look for one with good maneuverability and durable construction. Although well-built wheelbarrows may cost a little more, it’s well worth it in the long run. Choose one that is easy to handle when full as well. Wheelbarrows are essential for heavier jobs. It is important to have a wheelbarrow that you are able to lift and control easily. Otherwise, consider getting a garden cart. The only downside to carts is that they are not usually suitable for moving heavy items, such as rocks. However, if you are only going to haul light materials, such as straw or leaves, then a gardening cart might be what you need.
A garden cart can serve many purposes. Gardening involves a lot of carrying and moving of things like soil, plants, pots, mulch, and garden tools. Soil, plants, and mulch can become somewhat heavy after awhile, and containers or garden tools can become just as unmanageable if several of these are needed for one project. A garden cart can easily accommodate these needs while keeping the gardener from straining his/her back. Everything can be carried at one time with ease. Someone with just a few containers or a small flower garden may not require a garden cart. In this situation, a small basket, box, or even a bucket should be adequate.
A tiller is one of the most common garden tools found in any gardener’s tool shed. A garden tiller is an important garden tool, preventing soil in the garden from becoming compacted around plants. Keeping the soil in your garden well loosened will allow air and moisture to travel easily to the roots of your plants. Scratching the soil and turning it over with a garden tiller before planting or during the growing season will give your plants a better chance at thriving. However, before you run out and buy one, you should determine if this gardening tool meets your specific gardening needs. The necessity for a tiller usually depends on the size and type of garden as well as the gardener’s ability or proficiency in using one of these tools. For instance, if you are unable to manage a large tiller without help due to some type of disability, this garden tool is inappropriate. However, garden tillers come in many different sizes and styles. Some are simple hand tools that allow you to get between small plants. These work well in small gardens and are great for raised beds. These are also the best choice for those with limited capabilities. The larger types are motorized and can be used to prepare soil for a garden or to work in fertilizer and other nutrients into the ground. Select one based on the nature of the job and quality of the machine.
Other garden tools essential to nearly every gardener include a sturdy hoe for weeding or loosening the soil between vegetable rows and annual plantings as well as pruning shears or clippers for shaping small trees and shrubs and deadheading plants. Pruning tools must be kept sharp in order for them to work properly. Make sure the screws are tight and lubricated as well. You may also want to have a plastic 5-gallon bucket, sprinklers, and a watering can or garden hose. Garden hoses will last for years if they are properly cared for. Select a hose that has brass fittings and is at least three to four ply in thickness. Don’t leave a hose lying on the ground; instead, keep the hose coiled and hung up or stored on a shelf, removing any kinks.
A good garden tool will last many years if treated well. Once you have the right garden tools for the job, you want to make sure that they stay in shape through proper care and maintenance. By properly maintaining your garden tools, you can readily depend on them to accomplish all of your gardening tasks with ease. At the end of each gardening season you should properly clean and put away your tools. Gardening tools will last longer and perform better if you protect them from weather and keep them clean. After each use of any gardening tool, promptly clean it, scraping off any excess mud and dirt. Applying a light coat of vegetable oil to the metal parts will help prevent them from rusting. Wipe the metal parts of garden tools with an oily rag and remove any rust areas with a small piece of steel wool. Never put garden tools away while wet; this will lead to the rusting of metal parts or the rotting of wooden handles. Wooden handles should be checked regularly to ensure they are not split or weakened in any way. To help preserve your wooden handles, rub linseed oil into the handle once each gardening season. Every gardener needs to have sharp cutting tools. Make sure the blades of shovels, spades, shears, and other garden tools are properly sharpened with a file suited for this purpose. By taking these steps, your gardening tools will last for years.
Anyone that gardens knows how much easier the job can be when you have the perfect garden tool for the task. Not all gardeners are the same and neither are their garden tools. Every gardener chooses gardening tools based on his/her individual gardening needs. However, proper care and maintenance of garden tools are the same and should be followed regularly to ensure their long life. Garden tools are an essential part of every successful garden.