I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the garden section of a home store to purchase all the tools I’d need to plant my first garden. I took one look at the dizzying array of shovels, hoes, and other shiny instruments…and ran right back to the appliance section. I had no idea what I needed, and felt too overwhelmed by the selection to get started.
Depending on what kind of garden you grow, your shed may eventually end up stocked with different tools than another gardener’s. But there are a handful of tools that almost all gardeners need, and they’re a good place to start. Pick up these five essentials, and you’ll be ready to make your garden grow:
- Hand Rake: This is the little three-pronged tool that looks like a set of shiny claws. It’s useful for loosening and turning soil. Stainless-steel or aluminum is a good material choice as it resists rust.
- Trowel: This is the pointy-ended little shovel you’ll use for breaking up dirt and digging holes. Look for sturdy, one-piece construction and a comfortable handle – remember, you’ll be using a lot of force to dig, so a comfy handle is important!
- Shovel: What’s the difference between a shovel and a spade? Some people chalk it up to semantics, but by definition shovels have wider, flatter blades meant for lifting and moving heavy things like gravel and dirt, while spades, with angled and pointed blades, are best for breaking up dirt and digging. You’ll probably want one of each, though the type you need will vary depending on your needs. Ask your nursery employee for advice.
- Shears: It may seem counter-intuitive, but making things grow requires a lot of cutting: pruning back overgrowth, removing dead flowers (deadheading), edging shrubs, just for starters. It’s a good idea to invest in several pair – small shears for cutting small stalks and other fine details, larger ones for cutting branches and other heavy-duty jobs. In any case, “try” several pair before you buy and choose one that feels comfortable and quality. The right shears can make a big difference in how you enjoy tending your garden!
- Gloves: There are an array of glove types meant to protect your hands from thorns and thistles, blisters, and even chemicals. Consider your specific needs before you buy, and invest in a few different kind to cover all your bases.