Gardening can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, as long as you have the proper tools for the job. Gardening will take effort, no doubt about that, but without the right gear, it’s down right work – and who needs more of that? If you have never had a proper garden before, you may be unaware of the range of hand tools out there that can make gardening a whole lot easier.
Once you get past the choice for which flowers and/or vegetables you’re going to plant and where the garden will be and how much soil you will need, it is time to choose the tools. In the tool stage, the first thing you need to think about if you are planning a good-sized garden is comfort. Whether you intend to do all the planting and maintenance yourself or it’s a family project, you’ve got to think of your poor knees and hands. Do yourself a favor and buy a kneeling pad (or make one out of something, like an old blanket) and get some gardening gloves, too. Cheap gloves are fine; just pick a pair that seems comfortable for working.
If you are using the existing soil, you may need a cultivator (if you don’t know what that is, look for something that looks a bit like a bent, three-tined fork), for digging out rocks and aerating the soil. Trowels and hoes may also be used for this purpose and all of these can also be used for weeding, though you probably will want some type of actual weeder, as well. There are at least half a dozen different types of weeders and the soil and plants in your garden will determine which type you need to buy.
Hoes are best for digging trenches, which is good when you are planting a lot of seeds in a line. If you will be planting your seeds in holes rather than trenches, try to find a tool called a dibber – or make your own out of any strong, pointed stick of the right diameter. It will save wear and tear on your index finger. If you are planting bulbs you can use a trowel, but it might be better if you try to find a bulb planter. If you are transplanting starter plants, you can use a transplanter trowel (caution: weaker than a regular trowel and prone to bending) or you can buy a hand tool known as a widget. This is a device shaped a bit like a thinner, elongated trowel. You slide the seedlings down the groove in the blade and into the hole.
Finally, if you are planting bushes or your garden is near trees or bushes, you might want to invest in a pair of pruning shears. Unless you want to use the leaves as mulch for your flowers, you could also consider a hand rake, for cleaning up leaves and other debris that get between plants.