Before you start gardening in the early spring, take stock of your landscape gardening tools. Repair broken tools, or replace them with new tools. If you have landscape projects scheduled for the spring and summer, purchase new tools needed for those projects. Start gas equipment to make sure it still works well. Sharpen mower blades, and purchase new string or blades for weed eaters and edgers.
The claw has four sharp tines on a long "stem," and two handles at the top of the stem. Push the tines into the garden, then twist the claw to break up the soil. It is a good tool if you have a small area to cultivate, and works to remove stubborn grass and weeds that cannot be pulled out by hand.
Japanese Hand Hoe
This hoe has a handle that is attached to an 18-inch metal rod. A 12 x 5 x 9-inch triangular blade is attached to the bottom of the rod. The long side is the blade, and it is sharp. Put the blade behind the weeds, and add a bit of pressure so that the blade digs through the soil. The blade, as it is pulled over the weed, slices the weeds, then, if you keep pulling, pulls the weeds into a pile.
The mattock is a combination pick and hoe. It has a flat, wide blade on one side of the tool, and a pick on the other side. Use the wide side of the blade to chop roots, edge and clear debris. Use the pick side of the tool to loosen hard-packed soil.
To make short work of medium to large garden beds, invest in a tiller. Tillers come in various sizes, and you can find one that weighs as little as 20 pounds. Use the tiller to break up the soil, then spread soil amendments like compost and lime over the soil and till them in. After tilling, rake the bed, and remove rocks and other debris.
The hand cultivator is a small, three-pronged tool that loosens the soil. The looser the soil, the easier it is for plant roots to establish themselves. The hand cultivator can also be used to remove weeds that will not pull out of the ground without breaking. If you leave the weed's root ball in, the weed will come back. If you have an area of perennials that you do not want to dig up, use the hand cultivator to loosen the soil between the plants without disturbing them.