Tools of The (Gardening) Trade

comments (6) April 27th, 2010

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yourownvictorygarden Greg Holdsworth, contributor
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Click To Enlarge Photo: Creative Commons (Abby Lanes)

If you want to get your gardening chores done right, with minimal effort and maximum efficiency, you gotta have the right tool. It might mean the difference between missing your favorite reality TV show or not, or more importantly sparing yourself injury. So, without further ado, here is your required "I gotta go back inside to get that one" not-so-ordinary tool list:

1. Shovel - sounds like a no-brainer, but even if you're using raised beds that don't require major soil moving anymore, you will need this valuable tool somewhere. If you need a straight edge cut for borders like I do, a sod shovel is also needed. For smaller tasks, you gotta score its smaller cousin, the trowel.

2. Cultivator - Again, you will probably benefit from having both the regular and hand-size versions.

3. Gloves - Prevents blisters, slivers and fire ants from munching on your fingers. You don't need the most expensive ones in the store, but you do need good quality pairs that fit your hands comfortably. Notice I said "pairs"—yes, you need more than one set.

4. Hose-end spray gun/sprayer - Again, don't skimp on cost and quality. Get one that's very comfortable in your hand that you can hold for long periods of time without fatigue. The kind with multiple spray settings (5 minimum) is mandatory.

5. All-purpose storage bucket - Yes, friends, I LOVE my orange Home Depot Homer bucket! Ya gotta have a bucket for weeds, trash collection, soil hauling, tools, water, and of course, freshly-picked produce.

6. A Sharpie® or other permanent marker - Writing on your plant labels was just the beginning...

7. Utility knife - Opens bags of compost, cuts string and plastic, slices cardboard. Remember to keep the blades new and have extras on hand.

8. Hammer - A nicer and less painful alternative to setting tomato stakes with your fist, feet and forehead. Guaranteed.

9. A second (or third) set of shirts, shorts, socks and shoes - I have a dedicated set of gardening clothes that I can feel totally comfortable getting as dirty, smelly and sweaty as I want without guilt.

10. Sunscreen - In the U.S., the American Cancer Society estimates that over 33,000 men and 26,000 women will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. Need I say more?

11. Water - Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Oh, yeah, when you're done with that, hydrate.

12. Mosquito and bug repellant - I know there are more Earth-friendly options available (which I'm looking into), but until I can find one that works reliably and consistently, the OFF! is still ON me.

13. Allergy medication - I have allergies...BIG TIME. Rather than sharing my drips and sneezes with all of you, I'd much rather prefer to take care of this one ASAP.

14. Tunes - I normally enjoy peace and quiet when I'm doing garden work, but once in a while I have to have an audio diversion. Whether it's my favorite music or podcasts, I gotta rock while I'm weeding.

15. Outdoor easy chair or bench - After a long hot afternoon tilling, shoveling soil or weeding, my back will tap out quicker than a WWE wrestler. You must allow for frequent breaks in the shade on those long workdays.

Anything else you all can think of?

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Comments (6)

user-939178 writes: Several invaluable tools come to mind: Good watering hoses and watering cans with spray heads make keeping the garden hydrated workable. All gardens should be situated close to a water source. A wheel barrow makes moving loads in and out of the garden doable, as well as mixing ingredients for soil amendments. A garden knife comes in handy for weeding, transplanting, pruning, dividing and scraping clean one's shoes or boots. It need not be expensive--an old kitchen knife will do--but the Japanese garden knife "huri huri" is worth the price, especially one with a serated edge. Gloves make for a healthier garden and well-cared for hands. A broad brimmed hat keeps the sun off. And finally a kneeling pad keeps one's knees from beginning an unpleasant conversation about sticks and stones in the garden. Pads are cheap and knees are dear.
Posted: 12:06 pm on February 20th
Dels2 writes: Don't forget the importance of good shoes that protect your feet and keep them supported. You can do a lot of damage to the bottom of your feet when using shovels if you don't have a sole on your shoes, wet feet are uncomfortable, sore feet= sore legs and back which can really shorten your ability to get your work done..... Not to mention how you will feel in the evening. 8)

Posted: 8:46 am on February 19th
yourownvictorygarden writes: I knew I left out something (scissors and a knife). That's what I get for relying on my memory, rather than doing a yard and house walk-though with my notepad.
Posted: 8:44 am on May 7th
WhatsTheMuck writes: Kitchen scissors come to mind. I don't know how many times I've tried to do the deed with a knife or other sharp and it was way too hard. Went back into the kitchen, got the kitchen scissors, and life was good.
Posted: 12:18 am on May 4th
Ruth writes: I schlep a hacksaw, wire and wire cutters out to the garden if there's a fencing or trellishing project in the offing. And sometimes even a tape measure, but mostly I eyeball things.
Posted: 11:41 am on April 29th
n_ivy writes: Hori hori knife
Posted: 2:48 pm on April 27th
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