If you’re thinking about getting back into the garden, it’s easy to go overboard and buy all tools for every conceivable task. It’s not really necessary to do this though as you only need a few essential tools, especially when you’re just starting out. Here’s a list of some of the tools that you are guaranteed to use and that you’ll miss if you don’t have them. For more advice about buying gardening tools, visit your local nursery
One tool that you absolutely must have is the not-so-humble spade. Spades are square edged shovels with short handles and they’re used for digging holes for your plants, edging garden beds, removing turf and moving soil from one area to another. As your spade will be much used, look for one with a steel head or blade and a strong handle. It’s also good to make sure that it has strong places where you can put your feet so you can securely push into the soil. The spade is one tool that you can’t really overspend on as it will last a lifetime with proper care.
The Hand Trowel
It may be a smaller tool but its size doesn’t diminish its value at all. The hand trowel is another garden workhorse and it’s used for removing weeds, helping you to plant herbs, vegies, seedlings, small plants and also for mixing organic matter and potting mixes. Look for a forged trowel (one made from one piece of steel) that has a rubberised grip.
The Digging Fork
Another tool that you’ll get a lot of use out of is the digging fork. Digging forks are used to lift up or divide plants, to turn your compost or to aerate your soil. Look for a fork that has four tines, that is made from steel, and that has a hardwood or fibreglass handle. Ensure that the handle is comfortable to hold and that you can get an easy grip on it.
Have you been making do when it comes to removing dead flowers, branches and the like, just twisting them off instead of properly removing them? If that’s the case, you really need a good pair of secateurs. Secateurs are small, handheld pruners that are perfect for deadheading (removing dead flowers to encourage new growth), removing dead leaves or branches or for gently pruning a plant into the desired shape. Secateurs should fit comfortably in your hand and have sharp cutting edges that you can easily clean and maintain.
The Weeding Fork
The bane of any gardener’s existence is weeds so it’s a good idea to have a dedicated weed removing tool in your arsenal and the weeding fork is it. Weeding forks have a narrow two pronged tip that allows you to get underneath the weed right to the roots and a rounded piece of steel on them that acts as a type of lever. You place the tip against the root and lever the handle in order to remove the weed, root system and all. These should be made from steel and have a strong, secure attachment to the handle.