Every beautiful garden is the result of someone’s hard work. To accomplish this, gardeners rely on specific tools. Some only need the basics and some need truly specialized tools. In my garden, I muddle along with a handful of basic tools such as a rake, spade, trowel, pruning shears and bypass pruners. Almost everything I need done in my landscape is accomplished with these tools, but there is one last tool that I love – my hori hori knife.
Although I love my hori hori, realistically, it can’t do everything in the garden. Even the novice gardener would benefit from investing in a few good tools. Which tools do you need in your garden? The following 10 tools are “must haves” for gardening.
1. Shovel – A good heavy duty shovel is always a must for really getting into the dirt and digging deep.
2. Spade – Also for digging, but designed differently, a spade’s blade is set at a straight angle. The spade is pushed into the soil using your foot and then you pull back on the handle and level the soil over.
3. Pitchfork – Pitchforks have slender, round tines that are used to move straw or compost.
4. Spading fork – Not to be confused with the pitch fork. Spading forks have flat tines and are used for heavy jobs such as digging in heavy clay soil.
5. Rake – These come in a variety of sizes and weights. It really all depends on what you want to use it for. Use a lighter weight, broad headed rake for raking up leaves and a sturdy iron rake to pulverize and level soil. Leaf rakes also come in ergonometric designs.
6. Hoe – A hoe is useful in the garden to help with weeding and cultivating.
7. Hand trowel – The ever-so-handy trowel is not only a basic necessity but certainly the first gardening tool I ever owned, as is the case with many gardeners. It is great for planting and digging smaller projects.
8. Hand pruners – When it comes to hand pruners, get the best ones you can afford. They also come in ergonometric designs, a boon to those of us with hand and wrist problems. I prefer ratchet pruners. They give me more power but with less strength on my end.
9. Bypass pruners – Bypass pruners are for jobs that are too large for hand pruners. They are also called loppers and are a must for branches over ¾ of an inch in diameter. They come in ratcheted forms, again, giving the gardener more power by multiplying your hand strength.
10. Hori hori knife – And, last but not least, the aforementioned hori hori. A hori hori is sometimes called a “soil knife” or a “weeding knife.” It is a heavy serrated steel blade that narrows to a point at the end with both sides wickedly sharp. This multi-purpose tool is good for weeding as the name implies, but also useful for a myriad of other tasks. I use it to make rows for seeding, to dig out root bound plants from pots, divide plants, dig holes for bulbs, etc. I really don’t think I could live without it. Hands down my “go to” tool in the garden.