Tools of the Trade—for Gardening Part One, The basics

plant shrub and tree selection
Planning Your Landscape Part 2 – Plant, Shrub, and Tree Selection
June 21, 2019
Part Two the basics continued
Tools of the Trade – for Gardening Part Two
July 5, 2019

As in most endeavors in life, there are certain tools that are used to aid and accomplish the task at hand. Gardening is certainly no exception to this. Whether you are a weekend gardener or find gardening to be your passion, there are tools required to get the job done. Of course, the more serious gardener will likely have more tools for special needs, but there are some basic tools needed by gardeners of all types. Here are the most useful tools and why they are important.

Gloves: While some may think gloves are not necessary, it is wise to be consistent about using gardening gloves. Most types are made of a washable material which helps keep the gloves from getting stiff from mud or contaminants such as poison ivy. Hands are a lot easier to clean if gloves are used, and thorns and prickles won’t usually be a problem. A helpful hint for cleaning dirt and stain from under fingernails is to cut a fresh lemon in half and dig your nails into the juicy flesh, twisting and turning until nails are white again.

Watering can: Plants need water. Hoses and sprinkler systems are great from many watering jobs, but many times a small amount of water is necessary for a particular job such as watering flower boxes and hanging baskets or for the planting of new plants. Some plants need a soft spray that can be accomplished from the spout of a watering can. Watering cans come in different sizes. Pick a small size for inside plants. For outside plants pick a size large enough to water several needs at one time but not one too big as when filled with water, the watering can become quite heavy and not good for folks with back trouble.

Rake: Rakes are a very useful tool. Raking leaves comes quickly to mind, but rakes are used for other yard jobs as well. In fact, there are different types of rakes, those for leaves and those for pulling dead grass from lawns and dried-up vegetation from gardens. When purchasing a rake, if it has a wooden handle, make sure the wood is of good quality as in time, wood can splinter. A close, tight grain indicates a strong wood. Handles which are painted may be “pretty” but often are a cover-up for inferior quality wood. (Wearing gloves will help prevent getting splinters)

Shovel: Little gardening, serious or just for fun, could be done without a shovel. There are big ones, and small ones, and their blades can be scoop shaped or triangle shaped. Some are heavy metal for planting large items such as trees and shrubs; some are small, even plastic, for planting flowers. Again, if the handle is wood, check for quality against splinters.

Spade: This long-handled tool with a spade-shaped, metal blade is used to dig and move soil when planting. Because of its pointed tip, you can use a spade to dig holes for planting and edge along a garden bed. Still again, make sure the handle is sturdy and safe from splinters.

Here are five of the basic tools of gardening and their uses. However, there are more basic tools needed if a person is going to garden, even at the basic level. Part two will finish the list.