For gardeners, there are a number of tools that are important to have in your “garden shed”. These tools will help make your job in the garden a little bit easier all while making your garden look that much better!
Pruners – a pair of good bypass pruners is essential for any gardener. Bypass pruners work very much like a pair of scissors. Bypass pruners have two blades that are curved that “pass by” each other when an object is cut. Pruners are used often in the garden, from removing dead wood, to shaping shrubs to deadheading perennials – you won’t find a gardener that ventures too far into their yard without a pair of pruners in hand! Fiskars Garden Pruners are among my favorite pruners.
Tip: it is essential to keep your pruners sharp and clean. After pruning infected plants be sure to sterilize your pruners with a disinfecting wipe or in one part bleach to nine parts water. This will prevent spreading disease to other plants. As you notice your pruners getting dull (i.e. not making clean cuts, wood splintering, etc) sharpen your pruners as soon as possible. This will prevent damage, and potentially disease from entering your plant material.
Rake – there are two types of rakes, a fan rake and a hard rake. You definitely need a fan rake in your garden tool shed as it is essential for raking leaves. There are different styles of fan rakes from metal to plastic, to ergonomic styles to ones that fold making picking up your leaves easy! A hard rake is a great tool in the garden. The hard prongs will slide though the garden soil loosening any old roots and picking up and debris and rocks.
Knee Pads – being in the garden for hours on end can be hard on anyone’s knees! A good pair of knee pads can save your knees especially if you find you are kneeling on ground that is anything but soft (think rock garden!)
Garden Cart – while a wheel barrow is very useful for moving soil and dumping compost, etc a garden cart can be very useful for moving other items in the garden and a bit easier on the back. A garden cart is much like a wagon and allows you to move pretty much anything, from bags of soil and mulch, to plants, to pots, to watering cans of water. It’s a great way to move your purchases from the car to the backyard or from one garden to the next (and yes, you can load it up with compost too!)
Hose – a good quality hose can be a life saver! A lightweight hose made of polyurethane will not kink or crack, and will be much easier to lug around the garden. You will also find that a hose with brass fittings will never have the fittings crushed or warped if it is accidentally stepped on or run over, which can be a common complaint of hoses without this feature. Williams Sonoma makes an excellent line of hoses that are perfect for both the professional and home gardener.
Watering Wand – watering wands are fantastic for watering your garden, containers and especially your hanging baskets. The long handle extends your reach into the basket easily saving you a whole lot of wear and tear on your body. Many rain wands also have a valve switch right on the handle so you can switch the flow of the water on and off in between containers/baskets.
Other tools that are handy to have include: a trowel, a spade and shovel, a pair of loppers and a watering can. There are many gardening tools on the market today targeted to different tasks. So while you’re not lounging around in your sun time garden furniture (unless you’re the kind that likes to lounge around outside in the cold), testing the tools out in the store before your garden blooms is the surefire way to find what works for you and get you prepared for the coming spring.