However green your fingers may be, they won’t get you far in gardening endeavors without some basic tools. For beginner gardeners, there are a few irreplaceable tool supplies that deserve a place on your garden shed rack, including a couple of forks, spade, hoe, rake, pruners and a trowel. With these simple utensils, you will be able to complete most of the work around your backyard – just make sure you get gardening tools that will last you more than just one season, maintain them regularly and store them in a dry place to prevent rusting and rotting through exposure to the elements.
King of Spades
Depending on the size of your plot, you will need either a standard spade or a border one for garden-borne digging and planting tasks. “Most standard spades sport a 11 x 8-inch blade, so they’re well-suited for use in large gardens”, claims my local supplier of gardening tools, “while border spades are lighter and have smaller blades which makes them ideal for less spacious outdoor areas”.
No Knife, Just Forks
Another must-have for any avid gardener, forks come in two main types: the digging fork and the border fork. The first one is mainly used in heavy cultivation and has a set of 12-inch prongs to match its demanding purpose, while the border fork is lighter than its standard counterpart and sports narrower and shorter tines so it is better-tailored to handling in tight spots.
Rake It up
Do you have the planting and weeding season ahead of you? Hail the rake! Available with either fixed or clip-on heads, rakes can be made from either metal or wood. While metal rakes have a long handle, 12-inch-wide head and short prongs for getting adequate tilth, wooden rakes have a 30-inch wide head and are mainly used in soil leveling.
Hoe or Not
To prevent weeds overtaking your garden, use a push or draw hoe. The push hoe has a flat and sharp blade that will eliminate the top growth while leaving the root intact, but a swan-necked draw hoe is better if you want to uproot weeds –and it can also come in handy when streaking seed drills.
For the planting season, you will need a few delicate and simple-to-use tools like hand fork, trowel and dibber. When shopping for these items, go after comfort of use as seedtime is a period of strenuous and sweaty gardening work. For instance, a strong three-pronged hand fork, short-bladed trowel and snug dibber will make the weeding and sowing work much easier on your arm and back muscles than non-specific garden implements.
As they grow, veggies will need support and protection from the elements and pests. Based on your plants of choice and their expected maximum height, pick either bamboo canes, pea sticks made from hazel or birch twigs, nylon netting or light chicken wire mesh which your garden plants can climb and recline on as it mature and ripen.
Cloche it out
Cloches can help increase vegetable crops and add another layer of protection from birds, rodents and insects eager to get the fruit of your hard gardening work. Glass cloches provide most efficient insulation for plants, but their plastic tunnel- and bell-shaped counterparts are much more cost-efficient and durable as they won’t give in to strong gusts of wind and garden accidents involving collision between heavy objects and the cloche surface.
Gardening is not always all fun and games out in the open, but it can be a lot less stressful and much more inspiring with the right tools at hand. Before you get carried away with your vision of long rows of ripening vegetables and tasty salads on your plate, make sure you get proper gardening tools– you can thank us for the tip after you’ve tasted your first freshly picked tomato.