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10 Essential Gardening Tools

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by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published April 18th 2015
I love working in my garden and over the years I have accumulated a number of garden tools, so what 10 gardening tools would be essential for someone who is just starting to get into gardening? When I looked about in my garage I found at least 20 different gardening tools that I use at home and trying to narrow it down to 10 was extremely hard as they all had their own special use.
I narrowed it down to these top ten for the garden.

So here goes. The following is what I would class as my 10 most essential gardening tools.

1. Wheelbarrow:
I could't do without my wheel barrow.
Wheelbarrows make light work of working in the garden. You can use them to transport heavy sacks of soil or unwieldy bags of peat moss. Whether you choose a conventional wheelbarrow, a garden cart, buggy or wagon, it's sure to take a beating in the garden, so buy one of good quality. They are also great for transporting your garden tools around and I have even had fun racing around the backyard with the kids in it.

2. Garden Fork:
A garden fork makes light work on breaking up the soil.
A garden fork is indispensable for safely lifting out the roots of an established perennial. You can also use the fork for dividing overgrown plants or harvesting root vegetables like beetroot. You can also use a fork to loosen up soil, to mix in soil amendments or remove a clump of plants without bringing too much soil out with them. I have also used a fork for airating the grass, but it can be a bit hard at times, and is only used as a last resort.

3. Spade:
Make sure the blade of your spade is made of sturdy material. You will use it alot.
A spade is one of the most essential gardening tools, since you use it to dig and move soil when planting. With a spade, you can dig holes for planting trees, shrubs and large groupings of perennials, and cutting an edge along a garden bed. It also works well for digging up plants that you're transplanting.

4. Rake:
I have had my grass rake for years.
Some gardeners get by with a single rake. I have two: a plastic fan rake and metal head rake. Hard rakes are excellent for removing tough roots and other objects out of a garden bed, plus they can be used for breaking up or levelling out the soil in a garden bed. They can also be flipped over and used to smooth and grade soil.

Fan rakes are essential for handling things like leaves and mulch. Their wide designs help gardeners make short work of large volumes of material, especially if you have a liquid amber.

5. Long handle cultivators:
A great tool for getting under those bushes and shrubs to turn the soil.
Don't let the smaller size of the head of this tool fool you. There are just as tough as the larger cultivators and can work in those tighter areas that a longer tool is just too awkward. For example, if you had to get in underneath your rose bush the longer handle would keep you away from those thorns. You can get short handled hand cultivators. They are great for breaking soil and weeding between plantings in your garden.

6. Telescopic loppers:
I have a number of large natives in my garden. These are great for pruning thick branches.
Loppers come in mant different lengths and are use for cutting off those brances of plants and trees that are too large in diameter for a set of pruners. The advantage of having ones that extend are that you can get to those higher limgs without having to get a ladder and you will get more purchase while cuting those thicker branches.

7. Shears:
These are great for trimming myside of my neighbours hedge.
They are great for trimming of shaping small plants and hedges. The ones that come with the extendable handles are great for trimming those high hedges and also for reaching across the top of the hedge. Sure you could use an electric hedge trimmer, but theses will give you a bit of exercise.

8. Trowel:
It may be small, but it has so many uses.
The strongest trowels are made of steel and the lightest are made of cast aluminum. I prefer the steel as they are able to be used with a bit more force. They are great for digging a small hole in the garden bed to plant those potted plants, perennials and for digging out bulbs buried in the ground. Handles are fashioned of wood or easy-grip plastic.

9. Hand Pruners or Secateurs:
I have several pair of pruners.
Whenever I am working in the garden I always have a set of hand pruners in my pocket. You never know where you will come across a plant that may need something cut off it. No list of essential gardening tools would be complete without pruning shears. There is a wide array of pruning shears out there, and finding the right pair can be confusing. The best pruning shears are designed to be compact and lightweight. Bulky shears can be extremely cumbersome in these situations. Pruning shears are primarily used to prune woody plants, so no gardener can afford to go without them.

10. Hand Weeder:
I find wearing gloves when using a weeder help stops the blisters.
Weeds with taproots are the bane of any gardener's existence. Without completely removing those stubborn roots, the weed is sure to sprout right back up again. It's easy for a gardener to toil away for hours to effectively remove this type of weed, but the task is a lot simpler with a well-designed weeder. They often need to be used over long periods of time, so it pays to choose a weeder that has an ergonomic handle. Otherwise, blisters and other injuries may develop.

Hopefully this list of my 10 essential gardening tools will help to look after your own garden.
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Why? It's great to be outdoors working in the garden.
When: Year round and all day
Where: Anytime & Anywhere you have a garden.
Cost: The cost will vary with the quality you buy.
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