Day by day, the earth is warming. All of nature is getting ready for the first day of spring. Of course that includes gardeners like you and me. We’re like kids stuck inside with our noses pressed against the window, waiting for the weather to turn so we can play outside in the dirt. Get ready for that wonderful moment by gathering the basic tools every gardener needs.
- Hand Trowel – Gardening involves dirt…lots of it. We move it, turn it, test it, and sometimes fling it around our garden plots. This requires a sturdy hand trowel. Better yet, get two.
- Bypass Pruners, Clippers, Secateurs – They go by lots of names, but all gardeners need one to trim and shape their plants. The best ones have a curved blade with a scissor action. They should also have a quick-release latch in the middle that you can work with one finger.
- Garden Gloves – I am never without gloves when I’m working in the garden. Quality gloves protect your fingers and hands from branches, thorns, and the nearly invisible bits in the soil that will prick and cut your skin. Select ones with rubberized palms which add protection help you grip when your hands are wet. Also make sure the gloves you select go up beyond your wrist.
- Cultivator – This somewhat pretentious sounding tool is a real help when you’re preparing soil for new seeds. The three-pronged claw digs easily into the topsoil, mixing it up and opening the outer crust for the seeds. It’s also great to use when weeding. A little scraping loosens the weed roots, making them easier to pull up.
- Kneeling Pad – I know a lot of gardeners and I can tell you that over the years gardening plays havoc on our knees. Yes, it’s all that up-and-down that wears on the joint but there’s nothing quite as painful as landing your knee on something hard and sharp in the soil. Trust me, you need one of these.
When you’re shopping for tools look for the ones that are well-constructed and don’t look like they’ll fall apart at the first rock they encounter. The best ones are made of stainless steel. Avoid buying tools that have been chrome plated or painted. This probably disguises cheap construction.
You should also buy them in a bright colors to help you find them when they’re dropped accidentally. More than once, a red handle on my clippers have saved them from going into the trash bins. Modern tools also have handles designed to fit your grip and make garden work easier. Pick them up and see how they feel in your hand before you buy.
Spring is on the way. This year be ready with these five essential hand tools. Having the right tool will help you be more effective – I guarantee it.