It’s about that time of year to start gardening, or at least planning your garden depending on where you live. To properly prepare, plant and maintain a healthy and attractive garden, you need the correct gardening tools. But do you know the proper function of each garden tool, and do you use them correctly?
What Does That Gardening Tool Do?
Whether you’re new to the world of gardening or a well-seasoned veteran, it’s good to know the proper use of each gardening tool and to make sure you have the right tools in your arsenal for what you want to plant. It can be overwhelming to go to a gardening store or gardening section of your favorite big-box or hardware store if you’re not knowledgeable prior to shopping. All tools have their uses, but certain gardening tools are are more essential than others. Improvements put together a list of must-have gardening tools and their proper uses to help you prepare for garden season.
The Spade: One of the Essential Gardening Tools
The spade is a must-have for any gardener. It looks similar to a shovel but has a squared or flat blade with straight edges, rather than a curved and pointed blade. Spades often have shorter handles than shovels for more control over the tool. They are great at removing the top layer of grass, cleaning up edging around driveways, sidewalks or garden edges, and breaking up tough roots.
The Trowel: Perfect for Planting
The trowel offers precision for digging in small places. If you plan to plant flowers or vegetables, you will need a hand trowel to ensure proper digging of holes. The trowel gardening tool has a narrow, pointed blade that is shaped like a scoop. Because of this scoop, you can also use a trowel for transplanting plants as well. Use trowels for weeding and mixing soil as well as digging. Some trowels are marked with scales that can help identify the depth to which you are digging, which is great for certain seeds and plants. Don’t garden without a trowel.
The Rake: A Neat Lawn Tool
A ground rake is often a great lawn tool to start your gardening day. Use it to clear the ground of leaves, pine needles or thatch, spread mulch or compost, or level the soil before you begin planting. Use a rake to “neaten” up your garden patch. A ground rake has strong tines, often metal, designed for moving or removing debris or working the soil. Garden/ground rakes come in flat, with a T-shaped head attached directly to the handle, or bow, with a head attached by two curved steel supports, styles, but are used the same way.
The Shears: A Cut Above the Rest
If you have shrubs, tall or ornamental grasses, or the like, invest in a good, strong pair of shears. Shears are used for trimming long grass or small hedges, cutting back herbaceous perennials, edging around trees, flower beds and pathways, and used for shaping shrubs or bushes. Shears are available in many different sizes and you may need more than one pair depending on what you have in your garden bed and yard.
The Pruners: Small and Mighty
Pruners come in handy for gardeners dealing with small trees, thick shrubs or bushes, or large flowers. Pruners are a hand tool that have sharps blades similar to scissors that cut when the handle is squeezed. They are used to cut branches that are less than 3/4-inch think, cutting large flowers, harvesting vegetable. They are also used to score and slice root balls before planting.
The Hoe: A Groundbreaking Tool
The hoe is a basic but highly useful landscaping tool. Evidence of hoes exists on cave paintings that date back to as early as 5000 B.C. And unsurprisingly, the simple structure is basically still the same today. Hoes have long handles with a flat blade and are made for cultivating, chopping an digging. Today, however, there are myriad types of hoes, including the paddle, Dutch, weeding, and action.
The paddle has a square or rectangular blade at a right angle to the handle for chopping. The Dutch hoe’s blade is sharp on every side and is designed to cut the roots of weeds as it is pushed or pulled through the soil. The weeding hoe has a flat blade on one end for chopping and two points on the other end for pulling weeds up by the roots. An action hoe pivots back and forth as its dragged through the soil to help cut weeds. Choose the best hoe for your needs, but any of them will come in handy when preparing your garden soil.
The Weeder: A Handy Helper
Its name certainly gives its job away, but the weeder, or dandelion digger as some call it, is helpful for any gardener. Weeds are unwanted guests and a weeder will help you get rid of them. It look like a longer, notched screwdriver and is made to penetrate the soil and remove weeds roots from deep in the ground.
To use it properly, push the hand weeder into the ground around the weed a few times to loosen the soil. Then while holding the weed by its stem, dig the tines of the hand weeder into the dirt at about a 45-degree angle, about 3 inches away from the plant. Next, push the handle toward the ground, like it’s a lever. Gently lift up on the stem while doing this to help lift the root out of the ground. The weed should pop right out, roots and all. However, if it’s not budging, you may need to insert the weeder deeper into the ground.
Do you know what gardening tools to use now?
Now you know your garden tools. Do you have all of the utensils you need to successfully plant and maintain your garden this year? Is there a gardening tool that you find essential that we missed? Please let us know! Happy gardening everyone!