When you get ready to tackle the garden, the right tool will make your work easier. It is often tempting to try out the latest tool or luxury item for your garden, but an investment in the basics will protect your plants and serve you far better. Take care of your garden tools--protect them from rust and sharpen them regularly--and they will repay your investment over many seasons.
Tools to Make Work Easier
Basic personal protection in the garden will make your job easier. Sunscreen and insect repellent should be part of your arsenal for your skin's sake. Likewise, gloves will protect your hands from nicks and scratches from thorny plants and infection from soil-borne disease. Knee pads will make your work easier and allow you to work more comfortably. A bucket with pockets makes a convenient carrying case for tools and a receptacle for weeds and trimmed plant materials.
Basic Garden Tools
You need digging tools for planting and cultivating the garden. A tiller is helpful for starting a new garden or for turning soil for a large planting. A shovel or spade will also come in handy for turning soil, digging holes and spreading compost. A trowel will do these jobs on a smaller scale and is useful for transplanting seedlings. A hand cultivator and hoe are effective for weed control. A rain gauge and soil pH tester are nice additions to the basic tool list.
Vegetable Gardening Tools
Nice tools for the vegetable gardener include a circle hoe for quickly controlling weeds, and an electric drill with weeder and auger is a nice addition for weeding and planting. A garden kneeling seat is convenient as well.
Flower Gardening Tools
For flower gardening, a bulb planter is useful for planting large quantities of bulbs. Pruning shears are useful for pruning plants and snipping flowers for your arrangements. Garden scissors are lighter than pruning shears and useful for smaller plants and flowers. For pruning larger plants, shrubs and trees, consider a folding saw. A soil auger allows you to test soil moisture in all parts of the garden easily.
Composting tools make it easier to turn compost and spread it in the garden. A compost fork is useful for turning the compost, and a wheelbarrow comes in handy when it is time to spread compost or mulch.
Larger Garden Tools
A compost tumbler and wood chipper/shredder are useful in a larger garden. A compost tumbler is a nice tool if you make your own compost. Turning the compost becomes less of a workout with the turn of a handle. A chipper/shredder is handy for turning branches and other yard debris into small pieces suitable for the compost bin or for use as mulch.