Starting a Garden : What Tools do You Really Need?

by janderson99

If you are thinking of starting a garden, don't be put off by the drama of not knowing what tools you need. This guide shows you what you really need.

The kaleidoscope of the displays of garden tools at you local hardware shop or garden center, can be daunting and challenging for a new gardener. The good news is that you only really need five essential items and at most 10 key tools to get started. This guide will help you select your basic tool kit.

Many people who want to start a garden are put off by the huge variety of tools on display at their local hardware store or garden shop. There is so much to buy, so many items to choose from. How could you possible make any sense of this.

The good news is that you really don't need most of this stuff. Here I will describe what you really need to get started and simple ways to discover how to borrow and hire much of the equipment that you may only need once or twice to get you garden beds established.

Another tactic to consider is buying second-hand, pre-loved equipment that is going for a song at your local second hand store, garage sale or local market stall. There is something wonderful about second hand tools that evokes memories of the bountiful pleasure and enjoyment their former owners got from tending their own gardens. Many of these tools are much more sturdy and better made than the new ones in the stores, and have a delightful 'worn-in' and 'much loved' feel about them.

There is a fabulous market for second hand tools that you can tap into. many people love garden tool and collect them The other source of tools is your own family and parents. Once again there is a delight in using tools that your mother, father, brothers or sisters have used before..

What Tools do You Really Need

Humans have been gardening for thousands of years and even the ants and other insects do it. All you need are 10 basic sturdy tools that are adaptable and versatile - the same as the number of your fingers and toes and their are a top 5 suite of essential tools. What I suggest is that you borrow or hire many of the item that you need to establish your garden beds and to do the landscaping, because these items are only required once or twice. Borrowing tools and equipment is a great way to get to know your neighbor - and a great way to make enemies if you don't return them or break them.

Outlined below is the guide to establishing your garden beds and the list of Top 5 and Top 10 tools your really need.

Nan Shan Int'l Co Ltd Cc Ss D-Handle Gdn Fork 600104 Forks Cultivators & Hooks

Cotter & Company, Stainless Steel D-Handle Garden Fork With Natural Polish & Wood Handle.

Easi Grip Long Reach Garden Tools - Cultivator

The Long Reach Garden Tool Cultivator is the solution for gardeners who work in a seated position to reach ground level without bending over. The Ergonomically angled handle kee...

Fist Grip Long Reach Cultivater

Fist Grip Tools Are Easy To Use Because:* The unique handle design helps prevent injury to the hand and wrist, with a 'Natural Grip'.* All metal parts are made of 100% stainless...


Tools for Establishing the Garden Beds

This is a huge topic and it depends on what is already there, the landscape design, the layout, whether you are going to have raised beds, etc. It also depends on what you are going to grow - vegetables, flowers, trees of shrubs. There is lots of information about how to establish beds from scratch, including how use potatoes to create a vegetable garden from a patch of lawn, bed design, watering systems and much, much more. However the best way to get the tools and equipment for this just is the borrow them or hire them. You only need them once for each bed and so there is no need to buy this equipment even a wheel barrow when you are staring a garden. Getting some experience with hired tools is a good way to 'try before you buy' which will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Radius Garden NRGSET 4-Piece Gardening Hand Tool Set

Complete set of four Radius Ergonomic Hand Tools, including Trowel, Transplanter, Weeder and Cultivator. Each with comfortable curved grip creating more leverage and less stress...

Only $69.0
Fiskars 7870 Uproot Lawn and Garden Weeder

Our UpRoot Weed and Root Remover makes it easy to remove invasive plants from your lawn without kneeling, bending over or using harsh, costly herbicide. It features four serrate...

$49.99  $30.42
Ames True Temper 2504000 Jackson Seven-in-One VersaPlanter Garden Multi-Tool

* Trowel/transplanter blade for planting * Serrated edge for cutting open bags of mulch/soil * Sharpened straight edge for cutting sod * Twine cutter/opener * Weed tip * Steel c...

Only $29.99
Fiskars 9424 Garden Bucket Caddy

Our Garden Bucket Caddy makes it easy to carry all of your essentials when you’re out in the garden. It fits snugly on a five-gallon bucket, freeing up the internal space for di...

$16.99  $10.90

Top Ten Tools You Really Need

1. Digging fork - This is a very versatile and adaptable tool in the garden. It can be used for turning soils, lifting and dividing perennials, loosening compacted soil, turning compost piles, aerating lawns and compacted soils and carrying plants round when transplanting them.

Buy a fork with slightly broadened prongs and this increases the range of things you can do with your fork. A sturdy garden fork makes digging and turning over tough soils much easier. It can also be used to break up soil clods in a seedbed.

Choose a fork with a strong and sturdily designed handle made of fiberglass, carbon fiber or best still good quality hardwood. Make sure the head is mad from quality toughened metal that will last a long time. Make sure the foot rests are reasonably wide, comfortable and flattened.

You want a digging, not a pitchfork or a tool for moving mulch - you need a fork for digging. Also look for a 'D' shaped handle, which are the most comfortable and strong enough for getting real leverage when digging.

Second hand fork are heavenly!

2. Spade - This is the square-headed flat spade variety, not the rounded and pointed shovels. There are a huge variety of shapes and sizes. You only need a short one with a medium length handle, and a horizontal hand grip. These are general purpose spades rather than the shovels, the latter being designed for moving huge piles of dirt by hand. Once again, second hand spades are fully of character and heritage.

Choose a high quality design with a study well-fitted handle, a good quality shiny blade and wide foot rests. The blade should be flat or very slightly curved. Garden spades are just perfect for digging holes for planting, transplanting. chipping to disturb weeds, moving small quantities of soil around, edging beds and paths, removing sod, or preparing ditches for planting vegetables such as potatoes.

A good spade is not cheap, but it will last you a lifetime and your kids can inherit it. I am using my father's spade which is more than 40 years old.

3. Rake - You may be surprised that this humble tool is up so high on the list, but don't underestimate the things you can do with a rake, besides raking that is. It can be used for packing down areas where you have just planted seeds, for weed control and removal, and even for making series of evenly spaced holes for planting seeds such as peas and beans. Choose a good quality, sturdy rake with a long handle. The head design is important and one with square prongs below a flat area of reasonable size is the best. The flat area is useful for packing and thumbing down the soil after planting seeds. Make sure the head is thick and made of good quality metal otherwise it will bend and break!

4. Long Handled Weeder, Cultivator, Hoe - You need a long-handled device for scraping, weeding and minor hoeing. There are a huge number of designs to choose from. You need something you can use to scrape the soil, fill in trenches, and scrape out weeds while you are standing up. You can buy hand devices, but they become very tiresome when you have to kneel down all the time. These long-handled tools are excellent for scraping out small weeds, loosening the soil around plants, and preparing the soil for seeding, both in garden beds and containers. Choose a design that has a sturdy steel head that is firmly attached to a wooden handle, that will last a long time without bending or breaking. Choose a head design that is as versatile as possible.

5. Hand Trowel and Hand Fork - Small trowels and forks are perfect for planting small herbs, annuals, vegetable seedlings, digging out weeds, and mixing soils and potting mixes. If you can afford it, choose a trowel or fork with wide prongs is a one piece design made from forged stainless steel. You can often buy kits that include several designs in the one pack.

6. Hand Pruners, Secateurs, Pruning Shears, Bypass Pruners - A good set of pruning shears is a must for gardening. Once again there is a wide variety available. They are needed for all sorts of tasks in the garden, including trimming, dead-heading, gentle pruning, thinning out, and removing dead or diseased foliage. Buy a good quality pair, which can be expensive, but will last. The poor quality ones will break, will become blunt quickly, and simply won't cut properly. Get some advice on what type you need for your garden. The pruner you choose has to feel comfortable in your hand and will not cause blisters and will have sturdy curved blades.
7. Garden Cart of Wheel Barrow - You probably don't need a full size wheel barrow at the start for a small garden. There are many smaller units available with fabulous design that area must for carrying things around, including your tools. They can be used for hauling mulch, top soil, carrying away weeds, and plants you are moving for transplanting. Try to get a design that has large wheels, that has an easy-dump front end, and a sturdy long-lasting tub. Be sure to "test drive" various models to ensure they can be pushed around easily and can be negotiated around corners easily. Make sure the handles are comfortable.

8. Garden Hose with Attachments - Having a good quality hose that does not tangle easily and is fitted with a good versatile sprayer attachment can make the job of watering a breeze. The cheap hoses tangle and get creased too easily and can be very frustrating to use. You need to be able to deliver a fine mist spray for seedlings and a heavy spray for quickly watering large areas efficiently. The attachment unit should be easily adjustable for these various tasks. Try to only use one high quality attachment.

9. Gardening Gloves and Hat - Good gloves, a hat, some sunscreen, and an apron or suitable and comfortable gardening clothes are a must when gardening, and will allow you to spend more time outdoors.

10. Gardening Kneeling Frame - Once again this is an unusual item to include as a tool. However kneeling over a garden bed can be very tiring and even painful. There are various kneeling frames available that protect your knees and eliminate the pain and discomfort when kneeling for planting and weeding. Try to do most of the gardening jobs standing up. Elevated or raised garden beds that are designed for easy access and a fabulous idea.

Bonus Item - 11. A Garden Chair so that you and sit back and admire your garden as you watch it grow!

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Updated: 04/30/2012, janderson99
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Seelyon on 06/21/2015

Great gardening page, my mother in law is obsessed with her garden and now I think I have some present ideas for her.

emeraldmile on 06/21/2012

Really enjoyed reading your gardening tool tips. I think I will need to grab a kneeling pad in the near future.

katiem2 on 06/04/2012

Very good advice there is nothing helpful about a cluttered tool or garden shed. great article, I love gardening appreciate your tips.

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