Getting your thumbs green is a lot easier with the right tools, and there are certain items that should be in every gardener’s toolkit. These 10 items will make light work of your gardening chores, and make the experience that much more fun.
A good pair of gloves is essential for gardeners of all skill levels. Whether you’re digging in the dirt, pulling thorny weeds, or hauling away branches, a quality pair of gloves can help protect your hands from cuts and scratches, while providing added grip. Look for those with nitrile coating, and always wear them when working in dirt in order to prevent nasty infections.
Every gardener should have at least one shovel in their arsenal. A rounded-blade digging shovel is excellent for planting flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables, while a flat-blade edging spade can be used to cut roots, edge a garden, neatly slice turf, or scrape bulk materials such as soil or mulch off of a flat surface. Look for shovels with a D-handle and wide step plate for added control and comfort.
Even those without a lot of gardening know-how can benefit from a rake or two in their toolshed. A leaf rake features a wide, fan-like shape and is excellent for gathering and removing leaves from your lawn, but can also help clean up other debris in the yard like grass clippings.
A garden rake is ideal for cultivating and prepping the soil in your vegetable garden. You can also use a garden rake to leveling mulch or soil, or to remove thatch and moss from your lawn. You might also use it to scratch hard-packed soil to make it more porous.
A hand trowel is invaluable for removing unwanted weeds or digging small holes, and makes fast work of sowing seeds if you grab one with stamped measurements on the front. Hold a trowel in your hand to see how comfortable the handle feels — and look for those that feature a seamless metal design solidly joined to the handle.
A sharp pair of pruning shears is a must-have for clipping flowers, thinning dead branches, and harvesting vegetables. This is one item you want to invest in, as you’ll be using it so much. Look for models with non-slip handles and replacement parts.
Whether you’re growing flowers, foliage, or food, a large, sturdy watering can will help ensure your garden gets the water it needs. While a sprayer attachment on the end of a hose is effective, it can sometimes be hard to get into tight spaces with, and is not as gentle as a quick pour from a watering can.
A wheelbarrow makes moving mulch, soil, and other heavy items around your lawn and garden a cinch. This is another investment piece that can last a lifetime if you choose wisely, so look for those with a strong bucket and two wheels for added stability.
Sprinkler and hose
Unless you have an in-ground sprinkler system, you’ll need to get water to your plants somehow — and a sprinkler and hose system makes that easier. Look for sprinklers with a sturdy base and adjustable spray nozzles, so that you can adjust the coverage to suit your space. For hoses, start with at least 50 feet, and consider expandable models if space is an issue. A hose reel can make storing your hose tidier and more convenient.
Kneeling in the garden all day can wreak havoc on your knees, which is why a kneeling pad should be in every gardener’s toolkit. They come in various shapes and sizes, and are generally made of a firm foam, although there are some that offer gel or memory foam cushioning. There are even some kneelers built with handles, that double as a garden bench. That way you can sit rather than kneel, if mobility or pain is a concern.
Your lawn and plants need three things to thrive: sunlight, water, and food. Ensure they’re getting the food they need by spreading a quality fertilizer from time to time. All fertilizers have three bold numbers on the label, which determine the grade. The first number is the amount of nitrogen, the second number is the amount of phosphorous, and the third number is the amount of potassium. Typical grades recommended for lawns and gardens include: 5-10-5; 5-10-10; 10-10-10; 8-0-24; 6-6-18. Check the bag to determine what application a specific blend of fertilizer is good for, and how often it should be applied.
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