Sometimes we think we need every available tool in order to accomplish every gardening task. Most gardeners don't have every tool that they could use, and many gardeners don't even have the right ones. In these situations, improvisation is the key.
A visit to your local garden center will reveal that there are a multitude of tools available. And for each tool, there can be several different quality levels, each with a different price. Smart shopping involves buying what you need and not going for lots of expensive things that you might not ever use. However there are a few gardening tools that are staples for every gardener.
Some Basic Gardening Tools You Should Consider Owning
For digging a shovel is the most important tool in your gardening supply list. With a shovel you can dig up trees and shrubs. Flowers can be transplanted and low spots can be filled in. You'll want a shovel with a rounded end or a slight point at the end. This gives you a bit extra digging ability. A flat end shovel would only be used for loose or granular material.
The best way to level your garden prior to planting is with a bow rake. This rake has a metal frame above the teeth that has a bow shape to it. The teeth or tines are short and stiff and are attached to one side of the rake. With a good bow rake you can scrape up large clods, rocks or sticks. When you turn the rake over and use the flat side you can smooth the soil and get it ready for planting.
A lawn rake, also called a leaf rake or a broom rake has a wide head with many long flexible tines whereas a bow rake has short rigid tines that are not flexible. A lawn rake won't work for rocks and soil, but is made to move light object such as cut rass, leaves and small sticks. A lawn rake is perfect for raking up small piles of cut grass left over from when you mow your lawn. If you'd try to use a bow rake for this kind of job, it's rigid tines will just grab the rooted grass and try to pull it up.
A spade, sometimes called a "sharp shooter" is another gardening tool that can come in handy. It is a narrow, but long blade shovel that will allow you to work in small areas, dig small diameter holes for smaller plants and uproot clumps of weeds and small rocks that are embedded in the soil.
Another form of the spade is called a spading fork. It looks a little bit like a pitchfork, but has a shorter handle and the tines are wider. This tool is good for digging into hard soil, breaking up clods and open the ground up for planting.
For cultivating the ground a hoe is a handy tool. The hoe can scrape off the tops of weeds, and is good for spreading and leveling rocks or soil in hard to get to places.
A mattock is a tool that has a head with a blade on each side, somewhat like a pick except that one blade is usually formed like a narrow but sturdy hoe and the other blade is usually sharpened for cutting things likes tree roots. The hoe part lets you dig around trees and shrubbery, especially in tight quarters. It's not a tool that every gardener has and you can make do without, but is very handy for those special situations.
For prying rocks out of your garden, a prying bar can be quite handy. It's a tool that you probably won't use very often but if you want to move beyond the basic tools, then it's one you might consider owning
A really must have gardening tool for every gardener is the hand held pruning shears. They can clip off small dead branches and flower stems. They are great for performing that regular task of "dead heading" your flowers. You can prune and shape your small trees and shrubs with this gardening tool.
Before you buy a pair of garden shears be sure that the size fits your hand and they are comfortable. Also you'll want to get the "Bypass" type where the blades slide past each other as you cut. This type does a better job of cutting than the type where the blades "meet" each other.
One of the best pieces of gardening equipment is the garden claw. It is great for breaking up the top of the soil, especially when it is dry and hard. There are two kinds available. One has a short handle and is for keeling work. You press the claws into the ground and then twist. It can actually pull out weeds in the process of breaking up the soil.
The other version of the garden claw is used while standing up and has a long handle. The top of the handle has a grip for each hand and you can apply much more force than with the short handled kind. If you have bad knees or can't do a lot of bending over, this tools would be ideal for you.
Finally, a piece of gardening equipment that can also be used for general yard work and building tasks is the wheelbarrow or yard cart. Theses are items you can get along without, but when you have one, you'll wonder how you were able to get along without it. With a wheelbarrow, you can transport water, wet concrete or very runny mud since the bodies are made of metal and shaped like a bowl.
Yard carts are more suited for rocks, dry soil, leaves and branches. Basically dry materials. Carts come in two varieties: Hand Push and Tractor Pull. With a Hand Push cart, it is moved by human muscle. With a Tractor Pull cart, it has a yoke that you hook up to a lawn tractor.
If you have a weak back, then you'll want to consider buying a Tractor Pulled cart.
These garden tools are just the basic ones that you will need the most. As your interest in gardening expands, you will gain more knowledge about the different gardening tools that are available and what is best suited for you and your garden.
The key thing to remember about gardening tools is that although you might want them all, you donít need them all. What you need are the basics. If you had every gardening tool available you would probably waste time, because for every different task you begin, you would end up heading back to your storage area to find the next tool that you think you need.
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