Gardening Essentials: Tools of the Trade
Whether you’re brand new to gardening or are looking to refuel your fire once again, starting with the essentials is key. And in the world of gardens, it all starts with your tools. Whether you’re unsure what you’ll need or what they’re used for, we’ve made sure to put it all down in a handy-dandy list so you can skip the guesswork and confidently kick off your garden project with a bang.
Gardening involves a whole lot of digging. So, above all else, you’re going to want to start with a good trowel. They’re often used for planting seeds and transplanting small saplings. They’re also a prime choice for tilling through garden beds without damaging surrounding plants. For plenty of flexibility and choice, we recommend having a few trowels in different sizes and shapes, especially if you’re working with plants of all shapes and sizes.
2. Shovels and Spades
Like we said, a whole lot of digging. Shovels and spades are used for digging through larger areas, mixing soil, spreading compost, and making large holes to transplant trees and shrubs. The blades are pointy and curved and should be sharpened occasionally to make it easier for you to break up the soil surface. If you’re shopping for a larger shovel, try to find one with a flat top to the blade, so you can push it into the ground with your foot.
3. Gardening Gloves
With all that digging you’ll be doing, planting flowers can get pretty messy. Not to mention, using handheld tools for extended periods can really rough up your palms. To protect your hands and get a better grip on your trowel, pick out some gardening gloves. They’re usually made from a thick, yet breathable material so your hands won’t get too clammy, with rubber gripping to prevent your tools from slipping.
This tool has a blade with a blunt flat end that curves downward, to help scrape up hardened topsoil before applying compost and fertilizer. It’s also awesome at removing unwanted weeds around a plant without hurting the roots of the plants that you want to keep around. Plus, since it’s long and can be used standing up, no longer will you need to crawl around on all fours to pull weeds by hand!
Regular pruning not only keeps your plants looking neat and tidy, but it also helps promote new growth, too! Pruners – essentially just heavy-duty scissors for cutting plants and branches – come in lots of shapes and sizes, and some can be a bit heavy, so don’t buy these ones on impulse. We recommend trying out a few pairs to see what feels best for you!
Raking leaves in autumn is pretty standard practice for any homeowner, regardless of whether you’re throwing down in the garden or not. However, rakes are also great for breaking up topsoil and spreading fresh soil across the surface of your garden. Smaller rakes are better for garden work, to fit in between plants without accidentally pulling them up. Larger rakes, on the other hand, are better for yard work.
Not to be confused with your dinner table variety, these sharp, pronged tools easily penetrate the soil, making them a great option for mixing up and aerating the soil. They can also be used when transplanting, to loosen up plant roots and remove clumps. Plus, once you get the hang of using one, you can use it instead of a trowel for smaller-scale gardening tasks, too!
8. Watering Hoses
During a regular Texan summer, we can go weeks, or sometimes months without rain, and regularly watering your garden is a must. To make sure your plants are having their thirsts quenched, pick up a mesh-lined rubber hose that isn’t too narrow. While you don’t have to use a nozzle, some people swear by them for making their watering job a whole lot simpler. Some mechanical nozzles can even be switched to different settings depending on if you want to power-wash the side of your house or just lightly mist your plants!
Connecting a sprinkler to your garden hose is a perfect way to evenly water your lawn over the course of several hours, and it’s a hit among children looking for some outdoor summer fun. Grab a lawn chair, crack open a lemonade, and let the sprinkler do the yard work for you.
If you’ve got a larger garden, sometimes you’ll need to transport a lot of material across the yard. Try to find one with a deep basin, two wheels, and a sturdy, reinforced undercarriage. Wheelbarrows with air-filled wheels are the easiest to push around, so they won’t put too much strain on your arms and back.
Durable, high-quality tools used for gardening are well worth the investment. They are made to last for several years, and will undoubtedly make your foray into gardening that much more successful. So, if you’re ready to get started, grab your tools, grab your plants, and let’s dig in!