The Best Gardening Tools for any Gardener – from Amateur to Professional
Since becoming a Master Gardener trainee I’ve been purposely playing in the dirt. Classes started in January and I’m volunteering this summer to get my hours to become a Certified Master Gardener. Prior to this program I gardened for years through trial and error. I joined the program as a fun way to be more intentional with my garden. I’m also excited about sharing my knowledge with other people like you, as well as friends, family and community.
What I’ve learned so far is that the right equipment can make a huge difference. It keeps you from being sore.
Here are my favorite gardening tools:
The Easy Weeder is one of those tools that once you have it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. I use it to dig up weeds, dig holes and split perennials. The blade cuts through the dirt making it easy to get to pesky weeds without disturbing the area around it.
Here is a little reminder, weeds are only plants that pop up in your garden that you don’t want. If you love dandelions, keep them! Did you know the dandelion is the earliest form of food for bees?
Early in the season the Easy Kneeler & Stool kept my back in good shape when I was doing a lot of weeding and planting. It’s nice to switch from kneeling to sitting so you move your body in a different way, more dynamically. Weeding and planting can easily take the biggest toll on your body so having a variety of ways to work makes it easier on your body and allows you to work longer.
For anyone who needs extra assistance transitioning from kneeling to standing up, the legs of the Easy Kneeler & Stool can act as arms to help you get up and down.
The Hula Hoe will have you dancing while you cultivate soil and remove weeds. That is an exaggeration but the beauty of the Hula Hoe is that you can use it standing up. It’s great for getting into garden beds and under established plants. It can break up dirt clumps and roots from dead plants. The “Hula” refers to the wiggle in the blade that cuts at the correct angle on both backward and forward strokes.
4. GARDENING GLOVES
A good pair of gardening gloves will save your hands from blisters and calluses while keeping your hands and fingernails clean and dry. Have you ever touched mulch with your bare hands? Then you know how easy it is to get splinters. A good pair of gloves prevent splinters, cuts and scrapes. Even with gloves I find working in the dirt leaves me feeling dry. I make my own body balm to rehydrate my skin, you can find my recipe here.
5. GARDENING HAT
A good gardening hat is usually wide enough to keep the sun off of your face, neck and shoulders, giving you protection from harmful UV rays.
6. A WEED BAG
Since you are already thinking this, yes, you put your weed in it! A lightweight weed bag that is low to the ground will make your life easier. I keep my Duluth Trading Co. bag next to me while I weed so I can fill it up and easily dump the contents in my compost pile. It’s much more efficient than creating giant piles of weeds you have to come back and clean up.
7. SEED TAPE
If you’ve ever planted carrots, basil or lettuce you know the frustration of sowing itty bitty seeds. It’s so easy to plant too few or too many. Discovering seed tape was a game changer! You can purchase seed tape but it’s so easy to make your own. I use a modified version of Garden Betty’s recipe:
HOW TO MAKE SEED TAPE
MATERIALS & TOOLS:
- One-ply compostable toilet paper
- Non-toxic Glue (I mix flour and water to create an environmentally friendly paste)
- Organic Seeds
- Paper envelope (if you aren’t using your seed tape right away)
- Tweezers (optional)
Roll out toilet paper to the length of your garden bed. Dab glue dots where you want your seeds (1 to 3 inches apart works for most plantings). With your hands (or tweezers) place a seed on top of each glue dot. This can be tedious but it’s worth it. When you are done, fold the toilet paper in half lengthwise. This protects the seeds and they will be able to grow through the toilet paper. Give the seed tape time to dry. When it is dry your seed tape is ready to use! If you don’t plan on using it right away, roll it up and store it in a paper envelope.
For full visual instructions see Garden Betty’s DIY Seed Tape tutorial.
Your body is your tool. Practicing good body mechanics when you garden will keep that tool running smoothly. This means engaging your core when you bend over, using your glutes when you stand, and utilizing your whole body when you move instead of just relying on your shoulders. Even with good body mechanics the repetitive motions used in gardening can get you locked up. A great way to avoid this is to schedule regular massages. I’m not just saying this because I want you to book more massages at Halcyon Bodyworks, I practice what I preach.
9. STAY HYDRATED
I don’t know about you but working in the garden makes me so thirsty. In the summer I keep a pitcher of iced tea sitting in my refrigerator. Staying hydrated while gardening keeps your muscles properly limber. Here is my recipe for you to try:
GARDEN REFRESH ICED TEA
- 32 oz. container
- 16 oz. hot water
- 16 oz. ice cubes
- 2 bags of Tazo Passion
- 1 bag of Tazo Energize
- Sprigs of rosemary, basil or mint
- Fresh stevia (optional)
Place tea bags in a 32 ounce container and cover with 16 ounces of boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes. Fill the rest with ice and shake. Throw in a few sprigs of rosemary, basil, mint, or whatever herbs you have on hand. You can mix and match with whatever tea you are using. When I have stevia from my garden I like to add it for a little sweetness. Enjoy!