What garden tools are essential for a beginning vegetable gardener?
When I began gardening, I had no idea what tools I would need and what tools looked cool but weren’t necessary. Because my purpose for gardening in the first place was to save money, I had no interest in blowing cash on unneeded equipment. But as I soon realized, some tools make a huge difference.
While I have upgraded and have incorporated more tools into my gardening arsenal, I still use these five in my garden. In many cases, I’ve bought extra because I use them so much!
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Hoe for Weeding and Clearing the Garden
My absolute favorite garden tool is my Rogue Scuffle Hoe. I use it mainly for weeding, but if I need to clear a new area of the garden, I use it for that as well.
There are different sizes of this hoe and I first purchased a 6-inch size that allows me to weed without bending over. Eight seasons later, that hoe is still my go-to, but I’ve also added a 8-inch and a heavy duty hoe — all from Rogue.
The Rogue Hoe cuts through weeds in an instant. It glides on the surface of your soil and doesn’t disturb too far into your roots. Because it’s sharp on all 3 sides, you’re able to work frontwards and backward.
Another neat thing about the Rogue hoe is when you turn it over, that triangle can create a small furrow in order to help you plant your seeds. It’s so nice to have multiple options for one tool. I can’t recommend it enough.
Here’s a video of how I use the rogue how in my garden to prepare a planting bed.
The Rogue Hoes aren’t your cheap, big-box store hoe. I’ve had those as well, and the handles always break, and the metal bends. Not the Rogue. This is a purchase you make once that might very well last a lifetime. I bought my Rogue Hoes all from White Harvest Seed Company, but you can also look at their selection on Amazon.
Versatile Garden Gloves
I’m not sure this should be classified as a “tool,” but you can’t work in the garden without a good pair of garden gloves. But I found early on that I was having to make a choice between a heavy pair of gloves to hoe and use large tools, or use a lighter pair for planting seeds and smaller tasks in the garden.
Again, by accident, I stumbled upon these Wonder Grip Nitrile Gloves at a local garden show. I was so intrigued by the idea of one pair of gloves for most of my garden tasks.
What I love the most about the Wonder Grip Nitrile Gloves is that they form and fit my hand so well and are coated on the palms and fingers for good grip. This allows me to grip my garden tools and all of my bigger tools with ease, but also have the agility to do smaller garden chores.
I’d say the only thing I don’t use them for is harvesting okra and squash because I prefer a glove that goes up to my elbows to prevent the itching from picking these two crops. But, for everything else in my garden, I can’t live without these gloves.
Since that first purchase at the garden show, I’ve tried many different brands and types of garden hoes, and I always reach for my Wonder Grip gloves.
The Barnel Garden Hand Pruner is my absolute favorite garden pruner. It was actually a difficult choice for me to purchase, as it costs three times as much as most hand pruners available.
It is such a well-made pruner, though, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have added this into my tool belt. I mainly use this hand pruner for harvesting. Any type of fruit that requires a cut (watermelon, okra, squash), this pruner is my go-to.
It’s also good for pruning my blueberry or blackberry bushes and despite me not taking care of it like I should (oiling and sharpening), it has still lasted me eight seasons without a single issue. In fact, it still cuts like it did the day I got it. It was definitely worth the investment.
One year I lost my Barnel pruners and I had to make do with cheaper alternatives. Months later, I found the pruners in the garden, exposed to the elements all that time. But they still performed like they were brand new! I purchased a second one in 2020 just to have an extra in a different garden location, and I use both regularly in my garden.
A Garden “Tool” Belt
When I first started gardening, my husband bought me a pink tool belt for Mother’s Day. Later, I was surprised to find out this Pink Box Tool Belt I have been using for years, isn’t even for the garden! But, I’ve now dubbed this my “Garden Belt” and I can’t recommend it enough.
I wear it out in the garden when I need several items handy. I love that it has two spots to place garden tools, but that you can remove one so you’re not carrying as much weight during stifling temperatures.
I carry everything in this garden belt from my pruners, my cell phone, seed packets, twine, and even a hammer if I need to hammer down garden stakes. It’s nice to cut down on multiple trips to the garden by carrying it all with you!
Though the one I have isn’t available anymore, this one is very similar.
Go-to Garden Shoes
It’s a seasonal struggle wondering which shoes to wear to the garden. In the wet and cold spring, I need some sort of boots, but in the summer, those boots are too hot. For me, the choice is Sloggers.
I have two types of Sloggers to take care of my shoes in both climates. I wear my Slogger boots in the spring when it’s rainy and muddy. I also wear these boots in the summer when I’m weeding through an area that has overgrown to keep me feeling protected from snakes, ticks, and other things I’d rather not be crawling across my feet!
I also wear a slip-on pair of Sloggers during the summer when I head to the garden. I love that they also have an insert in them that can be washed so that your feet stay fresh during those warm days.
Like the other tools I’ve listed, Sloggers aren’t the cheapest boot. But I’m still wearing the ones I wore my first season eight years ago, and I have bought more to keep near different doors. (Well, that’s what I tell myself — truthfully, I just loved the different patterns!)
What are your favorite garden tools?
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