A good pair of gardening gloves is essential. Heavy-duty gloves work well for clearing brush or pulling thick weeds, while lightweight synthetic gloves are better for pulling smaller weeds and planting flowers or seeds. The best gloves are lightweight with a protective coating on the palm and fingers, allowing you to pick weeds and plant seeds easily while also protecting your fingers and hands.
Trake: a Trowel and Rake Combined
A trowel and a rake combined into one, the ergonomic trake has a pointed, scoop-shaped blade on one side and long prongs on the other. A trowel is perfect for digging, mixing soil and moving plants from one area to another. The rake is used for cultivating, loosening and leveling soil. Combining these tools into one allows you to plant in tight spaces and minimize plant damage while avoiding reaching around for a new tool. Compared to other tools, it’s lightweight and easy to use. It’s important to select a tool that feels natural in your hand, as it will be used frequently. Test several different trakes before you make your purchase.
Weeding Tool or Cultivator
Having a weeding tool is essential, as weeds will always find their way into your garden. It’s better for your plants and the environment to use one of these instead of spraying chemicals to get rid of them. Depending on the size and quantity of weeds, you can choose a larger weeder, such as a CobraHead Weeder, or use something smaller, such as a Ring Weeder. Kenan White from the Growers Exchange recommends the CobraHead Weeder, which has a narrow blade head and pointed tip that allows you to not only weed but also cultivate, edge and harvest with ease. The Ring Weeder, on the other hand, fits over your gardening glove and can be used in areas where larger tools won’t fit, ensuring nearby plants aren’t damaged.
Used for any gardening application, the mattock’s pickaxe-like shape chops, digs, weeds and cultivates soil. Tony Smith from Nursery Enterprises highly recommends the mattock, which is one of his favorite tools. It’s perfect for hand-digging transplants and is particularly useful for working in between plants. It drastically cuts down on time spent weeding. While the trake also allows you to dig and transplant, the mattock is much heavier, and according to Smith, it’s “far more efficient than any trowel – you can get all of the roots with it.”
Sometimes referred to as clippers, pruning shears or scissors, pruners are some of the most useful gardening tools. They’re used to trim and shape plants and small branches and to cut out dead or damaged foliage, allowing you to perfect even the smallest of details in your garden.
Anvil vs. Bypass Pruners
Two basic types of pruners are the anvil and the bypass. Bypass pruners are better for cutting green (living) wood. They allow for a more precise, cleaner cut, which is essential for smaller flowers and growing culinary plants such as herbs. On the other hand, the anvil pruner is better for cutting tree branches and dead or old wood. They are oftentimes less expensive than bypass pruners but harder to handle.
It’s important to select a pruner that fits your hand size and grip strength in order to reduce wrist strain and obtain leverage. It’s also imperative that you keep the blade sharp for maximum efficiency. Some of the more expensive pruners have blades that can be easily replaced should they become worn or damaged. This might be more cost effective in the long run than purchasing a less expensive pair that has to be replaced in its entirety every so often.
Gardens and gardeners are all different, so we recommend testing different tools to determine which ones are best for you. After all, they’re supposed to make gardening fun and simple.
Do you have any gardening tools you love? Tell us about them in the comments!
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