Five Basic Garden Tools

Five Basic Garden Tools
There are five basic tools that every gardener should have. You don't need to spend a lot of money to have the right tools. so it doesn't matter if you are a weekend gardener or one that goes out every day to play in the dirt, here is a handy list of what you need to garden successfully.


First, you need a trowel. A trowel is a small shovel that you use to dig in the dirt with. It is useful in planting bulbs, small plants, or to help dig up a nasty weed. There are many different trowels and sometimes it is difficult in finding the right one. The best way to decide the right one for you is to pick up each one and hold it for a while. Pretend to dig in the ground. Does it feel comfortable and about the right weight? Do you want one with an easy grip, non-slide handle or one without? The ones with the grip handle are easier to use. If you are going to be digging up a large area, this is probably the best kind to buy as it is easier on your hands.

A handy substitution that has worked in a pinch for me is to use a tin can. Just be careful so you don't cut yourself. If you have gloves on, then the problem is greatly reduced.

Pitchfork or Garden Fork

A pitchfork or garden fork isn't just for farmers you know. I have one that I can dig up the ground with, or dig into my compost pile to turn it. Some pitchforks have long thin tines or prongs. These are used to lift and throw straw, leaves and weeds, or to separate things. The one I use has six thick prongs and the entire length of the pitchfork is a foot little higher than my waist. I find it the best thing to keep for my gardening needs.


A spade has a long, heavy flat blade at the end of a long handle. I use a spade to dig up the ground, or to dig a deeper hole when I want to plant or dig up a shrub or tree. I also use it to bury my pets when they pass away. If you dig all the way around the plant and want to move soil and all, then a spade is the right tool to use.


A rake is essential. If you mulch your garden in the late fall, then a rake is handy to remove the extra mulch in the spring, so the plants can pop out of the ground. I use a rake after hoeing a row of weeds. I have found it best to remove the weeds instead of leaving them. Sometimes there is enough of a root in the ground and they will take off growing again. The weeds I rake off are put in the compost pile as long as they do not have the seed heads formed.

Pruning Shears

Pruning shears have long handles and long blades. You use these to prune shrubs, roses, or vines. These will cut a bigger area than the small hand scissors. I like to use the hand pruning scissors if I have only a
few things to cut, or a small branch. For bigger jobs, the long handled pruning shears are the best.

Wheelbarrow or Cart

Lastly, you should have a wheelbarrow or cart. The difference between the two is how many wheels it has in front. A wheelbarrow has one wheel in front and a cart has a wheel on each side. A cart is easier for me to manage, but my parents liked to use a wheelbarrow. Of course, if you don't have either of these, you can use a five-gallon bucket. I have moved more dirt and sand with a bucket, than I have with either the cart or wheelbarrow. Sometimes it is just easier.

It is important to keep these tools clean and inside a shed. After every use, you should clean the dirt off. If they are wet, dry them off before you store them away. If you don't, they will rust and this will make your work harder the next time you need to use these items. If your gardening tools have wooden handles, they will rot and you have a bigger chance of getting a sliver in your hand.

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This content was written by Gail Delaney. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Gail Delaney for details.