What task do gardeners spend the most time doing in the garden? I’d say we — for better or worse — spend more time planting, weeding, and harvesting.
And if we spend most of our time on these tasks, perhaps we should invest in the tools that will make those tasks the most efficient and comfortable. Right?
Most gardeners I know have their favorite garden tools, especially for these tasks. But they’re also always on the lookout for new ways to get the job done quicker and easier.
Beginning gardeners, as well, want to know what to buy to equip them for their new garden venture. No one wants to waste money on sub-par tools — or tools we don’t end up using — and it’s hard to know where to start.
I have my favorites, but I decided to ask the members of my Beginner’s Garden Shortcut Facebook Group to share their must-have gardening tools. Below is a sampling of some of our favorite ones.
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Garden Stools & Carts
Whether you’re planting, weeding, or harvesting, you have items to take with you in the garden. Many times you also need to have a comfortable way to sit or kneel. This reduces strain on your back and enables you to have a more enjoyable garden experience!
My most versatile stool is similar to this one. I love how it collapses for easy storage, and also how it has pockets to carry my shovel, seeds, twine, and everything else I have to bring with me to my garden.
For Mother’s Day my husband bought me this heavy-duty rolling garden stool. A stool on wheels is a game changer. When I’m transplanting plant starts, weeding, or harvesting a long row (or even a raised bed), the durable wheels scoot seamlessly. This is such a help for those long, tedious tasks. It sits pretty high off the ground, which makes it ideal for raised beds.
The only caution I’d give is that when I say it’s heavy-duty, I want to emphasize “heavy.” This makes it a bit cumbersome to move around. In hindsight, I think the similar cart with the expandable steer handle (pictured below) would have been well worth the few extra bucks.
Erin from the Facebook Group said this garden cart was her favorite tool. I have to admit, I’ve longed for one of these myself. There’s something cumbersome about trying to fit everything into a wheelbarrow — including a sloshing watering can — when I’m headed out to the garden. It’s always awkward. I can see where this garden cart would be a great solution especially if you have to walk a bit to your garden like I do.
Some garden tasks require positioning ourselves as close to the ground as possible for the most comfort. For those tasks, I wouldn’t be without my kneeling pad. I prefer the more square/rectangular shaped pads (as opposed to the long, narrow ones) because sometimes my knees need a break and I change to a sitting position.
Raise your hand if you love weeding. (What? You don’t?) I do know of a few people who enjoy it for relaxation, and I can understand that. I don’t mind it especially if I have a good gardening podcast in my ear buds. (If you’re looking for one, let me shamelessly suggest mine!)
But I digress.
Good weeding tools can make a huge difference in the speed and efficiency of your weeding task. Even if you mulch heavily, like I suggest, you will still find yourself weeding to some degree. Here are some favorites.
Hands-down this is my favorite weeding tool. It’s hard to describe in words, but you can see it in action here:
I don’t own this — yet — but the way several members of the Facebook Group raved about this tool, I am putting it on my list. As Anne described it, “It is a knife, digger, cutter, depth measurer, etc. It is my go to hand tool for gardening since it does so much.”
This is another weeding tool I’ve heard many people — including lots of well-known garden experts — using to hand-weed their gardens. Joshua from the Facebook Group suggested the mini version of this weeder (here). He said he uses it as a seeder as well and it is small enough to fit in his back pocket.
When it comes to harvesting, not one size fits all. Many vegetables, like cucumbers and peppers, can be harvested using lightweight hand pruners, while tougher stems like okra require a little extra power. And then you have the thick-stemmed zucchini, which my regular secateurs never can seem to get through in one snip. Here are some options to making your harvesting as pleasant an experience as it should be!
Why use heavy-duty shears when small, lightweight ones will do the job? Kathy from the Facebook Group suggested these shears not only for harvesting, but also for clipping around the garden. I use my small ones, too, to trim off my yellow tomato leaves afflicted with blight. They are such a handy tool to have for the small jobs, though the ones Kathy suggested look much more comfortable with the soft grip.
We all have our favorite hand pruner, and this one by Barnel is mine. I bought it in 2013 at the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show and it still works as well as it did the day I bought it! I’ve actually not taken great care of it. I haven’t oiled it like recommended or cleaned it. I even lost it for a couple of weeks and found that it had been in my garden — in the rain and elements — that whole time. Still, it works perfectly well.
I own cheaper hand pruners, and while they do the job okay, they require a bit more hand strength, don’t cut as well, and they’re kind of heavy in comparison to my Barnel. In this case, I’ve found you get what you pay for. This wasn’t an easy investment to make that first year, but I’m so glad I did.
No, this is not a mistake. I’m including the Hori-Hori Weeding Knife under “harvesting tools” because remember the zucchini I mentioned? This would be the perfect tool to harvest those thick stems besides its other uses as mentioned above.
What about your favorite planting, weeding, and harvesting tools? What would you add to my list? Comment below!
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