Copyright (c) 2012 Poppy Lynch
Garages and garden sheds everywhere are full of tools and gadgets that rarely get used as much as originally envisioned, so to save room in the shed and save money at the store, focus on these important garden tools. A wall of tools is not really necessary to care for the garden. Stick with these tools to get the job done and avoid the clutter.
A garden tiller will get things started off right each spring. Unless the garden is huge, a small electric or gas-powered tiller will suffice to loosen the dirt and mix in good things like compost and grass clippings, which should be added every year. Bring the tiller out again in fall to do it all again and your crops next year will thank you. Having loose garden soil that is amended each year is the best way to avoid plant disease, reduce fertilizer, and allow root crops to grow big and healthy.
When it comes to planting, a classic hoe is just what is needed. These come in both a triangle shape and a rectangle shape. Opt for the latter to increase versatility without the need to own two tools that are so similar. The rectangle shape works great when held flat to mix up dirt and cut down weeds in summer, while it may be angled to create a shallow trough for planting seeds in rows.
When it is time to make elevated planting beds in the garden or just move dirt around in general, a sturdy garden rake is hard to beat. Not only does it work great for moving dirt, it makes fall cleanup of dried branches and vine crops simple. Nothing creates a more uniform and neat look to garden soil better than a metal garden rake. There are countless uses for this tool elsewhere in the yard as well.
To really dig up a plant with the roots included or to harvest prized potatoes when they mature, a pitchfork is the tool of choice. A pitchfork is not only used for harvest but is also great for turning soil or pulverizing clumps of dirt as needed. Because it covers less area than a shovel, it is easier to insert into the garden soil as well, even when the sun dries the soil.
When planting small transplants, a large tool is clumsy and is simply not needed. This is where a nimble hand shovel is perfect. Don’t skimp and buy a cheap one or you will be bending it back into shape before long. Go for a solid metal frame that is built to last and won’t bend. For planting tomatoes, peppers, or other transplants when they are still small, a hand shovel is in order.
It’s easy to accumulate a huge variety of gardening gadgets over time, but to make sure the right tools are in the shed while avoiding the ones that will rarely be used, start the collection with these top 5 garden tools. Together they will conquer nearly any garden task that comes along.
Poppy Lynch has been helping beginner gardeners for over 15 years. For simple, easy-to-follow gardening tips, Poppy suggests signing up for the Woolly Green Weekly, a great source of gardening chat, products, offers and competitions. Woolly Green is a new website, for people who like to garden as a bit of an antidote to their otherwise busy lives.