Gardening is more than seeds, sun, soil, and water. Good Garden tools are essential. The gardening tools and accessories you need will depend on the type and scale of gardening you plan to do.
Best Vegetable Garden Tools
In the long run, having the right equipment will save you countless hours and tons of frustration. Any experienced gardener will tell you how much easier it is to grow your own fruits and vegetables if you have the right tools and accessories in your arsenal.
When shopping for tools and supplies for your garden try to choose higher quality items. Well made metal tools tends to last a lot longer than cheap plastic tools or, for that matter, cheap metal tools, and will more than pay for themselves, in the long run. Comfortable grips are important too.
I like that shopping online gives you the ability to consider reviews and easy-to-read descriptions in addition to seeing what a tool looks like — a much more relaxing option!
You can also use this post to select December gifts, birthday presents, and housewarming presents. Don’t forget mother’s and father’s day too. Or to make yourself a wish list to make shopping for you easier for your loved ones.
Tool Colors Matter!
No matter who you are or what your tastes are, Buy The Brightest Colored Tools You Can Find! When you drop them on the ground it can be very hard to find a black, brown or dark green ANYTHING! My advice is to buy hot pink, bright orange, bright red or the brightest colors you can find. You will lose far fewer tools that way.
Tools Every Gardener Should Have
Unless all you have is one or two small pots on the kitchen counter, you need to keep a garden journal. A garden journal keeps track of what you have planted, when you planted it, where you got the seed/plant from. The experience you had with the plant and how you used it. You will grow more as a gardener by using a garden journal than any other tool you find.
You never know all there is about gardening. Gardeners always keep learning. Here are 3 classes to get you started:
In my pursuit to keep learning and have a better garden, I have come across some books that I just love! If these don’t fit your garden journey, use my Amazon Link and find a book that is just right for you.
The Self-Sufficient Life And How To Live It (this one is a complete homesteading guide)
I’ve yet seen a gardener that didn’t use buckets. Store your potting soil in it. Mix your fertilizer. Use it to carry your weeds to your compost. The list of useful ways to use a bucket is endless.
From misting your seedlings with a little spray bottle to spraying for aphids (organic spray please) to eradicating poison ivy. You are likely to need a spray bottle of some sort.
Even if you only have one pot, you need a trowel. Get a good one and take care of it and it will last you for years.
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Proper Gardening Attire
What you wear in the garden can make your experience safer and much more enjoyable.
The best hat is one you will wear. You need to keep the sun off your head, neck, and ears. A little sun is good for you, too much is not. So start out with a good fitting hat.
I personally love the ones that have a flap in the back to keep the sun off my neck even when I’m bending over. And I like it to be adjustable for my head. A neck strap is great if you live in a windy area.
If you live in an area where you battle the bugs, mosquitoes, flies, or gnats. You know how annoying they can be. You can wear long pants and long sleeves, but your face….
An insect hat is the answer. It’s amazing what a difference it can make.
I know it’s technically “attire” but while we are on the subject of insect hats….
Sometimes, no matter what you do, there are still too many biting insects and they can make your gardening life miserable. There are many ways to repel insects. Here are just a few. See if one of these may be just what you are looking for.
A good pair of gardening gloves makes a world of difference. They last longer, keep your hands from getting blisters, keep your nails and cuticles cleaner and keep you from getting splinters.
I prefer to have gloves that have the Velcro fasteners at the wrist for a secure fit. Unless I’m working with something thorny like roses or pineapple. Then I would like the extra-long gloves. Raspberries and blackberries come to mind.
The extra-long gloves would come in handy when trying to clear poison ivy too.
Both the boot and the garden shoe are so nice for keeping your feet dry and warm. And for keeping the garden mud out of your house. When your job is done, just hose them off.
Tool Apron or Tool Belt
Tool aprons or tool belts are a wonderful way to keep your small tools handy at all times. And a great way to NOT lose your tools. (are you looking at me?) Have you ever had your hands full of plants and realized you set your tool down way-over-there? Having a tool apron on can fix that problem, keeping your tools close and at the ready.
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Tools For A Small Raised Bed Or Container Garden
Whether you are just starting out or if you have a fair-sized backyard garden. You will need hand tools. Here are my favorites.
A hand trowel and cultivator, I believe are must-haves for any gardener. For pulling small weeds to transplanting seedlings to scooping soil. You will use your hand trowel and cultivator more than probably any other tool.
Gardening Tools For Pruning
Many things need to be cut, trimmed or pruned in the garden. From cutting string, opening bags or pruning leaves off from your tomato plant. This is one of the most used tools in my arsenal and is a MUST HAVE for an herb garden.
Sometimes scissors are not enough. When picking okra or peppers you want something stronger and these will even cut raspberry canes or small branches.
Vegetable Garden Tool Kit
When you have all your little tools together and you are lugging seeds or seedlings, you will wish you had something to carry them all in. The apron above is one solution. A tool tote is another.
Turn your own bucket into a tool holder. duel purpose
Mobile Tool kit (gardeners)
This mobile tool kit is another option for keeping all your tools in one place and looking good at the same time
This is one of my favorites. It is lightweight and all your tools are close at hand. You can sit on it while you work and it folds up for storage. Genius!
And don’t forget your tall tools that don’t fit in an apron or bucket. This keeps all your tools in one place, nice and neat where you can find them.
If you are making a raised garden, a kit makes it so much easier. Here are a few suggestions.
Container Gardening Necessities
Or maybe you want to start with a container garden. Here are some container garden ideas to get you started.
Related: Save Money With Grow Bags
Personally, I love grow bags. Make sure it has handles though. (learned this one the hard way) The bright colored ones are my favorites.
If you have trouble bending and kneeling, that doesn’t mean you should give up gardening. Just give your garden a little elevation. These are great to stand and garden or if you are in a wheelchair you can role yourself right up to it. This is the perfect solution when you think you can’t garden anymore.
This is a convenient way to grow a garden in a small space. And you get to decide how big it will be. Add as many levels as you wish. This is great for an herb garden!
Short on space? Want to garden inside this winter? The tower garden is the answer. Yes it is a little pricey, but it will last for years and since you won’t have to buy your greens and herbs from the grocery store, it can easily pay for itself in one year! Use inside or outside on the deck.
The Best Gardening Tools For Soil Prep
If you are doing an in-ground garden, you will want to prep the soil.
First, read the article “To Till Or Not To Till”.
Then decide if you want to do a lasagna garden or a tilled garden. If it’s a lasagna garden you choose, the tools you use will be basically like a raised bed garden.
If you want to go no-till, but want to loosen the soil, you can use a broadfork. It loosens without mixing the layers and only minimally disturbs the soil life.
If you wish to till, you will need a few more tools.
Both are a must for an in the ground garden. Cutting through the sod and breaking up the hard soil. Digging in amendments and getting rocks and roots out. These are indispensable tools.
Shovels come in different shapes and sizes for different uses. The one most used for a garden is the “spade-shaped” shovel.
There are two basic types of rakes. The lightweight one is great for raking up leaves and grass clippings. The heavy-duty “Tine Bow Rake” is the one you want for soil prep. It needs to be strong and not flexible to stand up to heavy soil and rocks. This type of rake is wonderful for smoothing and shaping your garden beds. It is very useful for mixing fertilizer and compost into the top layer of soil too.
A tiller is a great tool for breaking up a large area for a garden and for mixing in soil amendments. Just make sure you don’t get one too big for you to handle. My first tiller was a beast and I couldn’t run it (hey hubby…) My second one was just the right size. Now I prefer raised beds, so the tiller has been retired.
I love my wheelbarrow and wouldn’t want to be without it. It is great for hauling compost, bags, buckets, bricks, tools, trays of seedlings or anything that is heavy or would take a lot of trips. My wheelbarrow saves SO MUCH TIME.
My son-in-law, however, loves his wagon much better than the wheelbarrow. You have to balance the wheelbarrow much more carefully to keep it from tipping over. a wagon does the same thing but is more stable. The downside is it requires wider rows to navigate and usually carries less in each load. It’s also not as easy to use in rugged terrain.
If you are doing an in-ground garden you should be testing the soil. At the very least, make sure you test your PH. Knowing your soils PH is essential for a healthy garden.
There are so many types of composters. But whichever you choose. Choose one! Compost is the best thing you can do for your garden soil.
You can even compost in an apartment.
Very small space needed, no smell, no yard needed. You can stop putting your food waste in the landfill and turn it into plant food.
Of all the compost, worm compost (vermicompost) is the best! Nutrient dense, full of plant loving microbes, PH balanced. It only takes up a small space and your plants will love you! Worm composting is probably the easiest composting of all.
Related: Build Million Dollar Garden Soil
Tools Needed For Harvesting Root Vegetables
The Cultivator or “Potato Hook” is one of my most used (and favorite) tools. You can dig up clods, patches of weeds and smooth out mulch. I use it regularly to remove old bedding in my duck pen and putting it in the compost. It can be useful for digging up potatoes too. Just be careful not to pierce a potato.
The digging fork is great to aerate the soil. It is also used to push into the soil beside root vegetables and loosen the soil, making it much easier to lift the root vegetables (carrots, turnip, beets) out of the ground. This is a very useful tool for almost every garden.
Best Fruit Tree Garden Tools
Fruit trees need to be pruned each year to keep your trees the size you want and remove damaged or diseased branches. Pruners are also very helpful for picking fruit.
Loppers are used for cutting the bigger stuff that pruners just can’t handle.
For the fruit you can’t reach. You can use a fruit grabber. It keeps your fruit from getting bruised when it hits the ground.
Tools For Seed Starting
Seed starting is a very fulfilling endeavor. It gets you a jump on the season or lets you have plants ready to pop in a place that another plant just came out of, increasing your yield considerably without increasing the size of your garden. It also gives you more choices of plant variety.
Then check out some of the tools you will need.
Most seeds need it warm to germinate. By setting your seed starting trays on a waterproof heating mat, you will significantly speed up your seed starting process.
Another seed starting must-have is lighting. If you are only starting a few pots, a tabletop model will suffice or you can go big and start a whole garden full. A timer is a nice feature.
There are so many types and sizes of seed starting trays. But whatever you choose, they are necessary to start your little babies.
I’ve used a lot of methods to start seeds over the years, but these are the easiest and the most economical option I have found. I have the most germination and the best planting result with seed starting pods. Even with hard to transplant vegetables.
You will need a flat Seed starting tray when you use these.
To make sure your seedlings are strong and sturdy, they need to be “blown around a bit. A fan is helpful with this. Air movement is also helpful to keep down fungi and damping off disease.
Of course, you need seeds. Check out SeedsNow for a great place to get your first seeds. Quick service, great seeds, all on-line for your convenience. They have small packets for the small gardener at a much smaller price.
Tools for Planting
Every gardener I know who has one just loves this tool. It’s a knife that has a smooth side and a serrated side. It even has it’s own ruler for spacing plants. Great to have for opening bags and cutting roots or string.
Great for spacing plants
There are so many options, but these are wonderful for keeping your plants up off the ground, resulting in healthier plants, less bug damage, straighter cukes and it’s so much easier to harvest!
Whether you use a trellis or a tomato cage, all tomatoes should be kept off the ground. Learn more about tomatoes.
These are wonderful for securing plants to cages or trellises without doing damage to your plant.
For making straight rows or holding something in place. I like the fluorescent colors so I can see where it is.
Marking what the plant is. will be so helpful at the end of the season when you just-don’t-remember. (A garden journal can help with this too.)
Best Herb Garden Tools
This is a wonderful container garden for herbs. All your herbs in one place. Water once, fertilize once, harvest once. Easy!
For your tough stemmed herbs, this makes quick work of getting the leaves off from the stems.
This tool cuts herb preparation in half.
Once you grow them you need to know how to use them.
Learning how herbs help your body heal is one of the best parts of having your own herb garden.
Whether it’s harvesting herbs, deadheading flowers or getting greens for dinner. Snips will come in very handy.
You don’t have to carry all that dirt into the house. Rinse your produce in the garden and carry it in clean all with one basket.
This is another option. a very sturdy harvesting basket that is easy to clean. Sweet!
What can be easier than harvesting right into your apron? This would be great for green beans or cucumbers. Holds a lot too.
Garden Maintenance Tools
Between planting and harvesting, your garden needs to be maintained. The right tools will make maintaining your garden a breeze.
Inexpensive but really saves the knees.
These pads go with you.
Have a lot of weeding, tying up or harvesting to do? It’s much easier to take a seat.
How convenient to scoot around your garden without having to get up. You can inch your way down the row. Especially nice for the older gardener or the challenged or big jobs.
Don’t forget to feed your plants. A little at a time is better than a feast once a year.
Great to side-dress your whole garden.
Most soils are deficient in many minerals. Just remember, you only need a little.
Remember, this is in a concentrated form. A little diluted in water goes a long way. This is great for container gardening. High in nitrogen. Great for greens.
It has a lot of trace minerals. You can often find seaweed and fish emulsion together. They compliment each other.
Related: 12 Ways To Make Weeds Go Away!
Weeding is one of the most dreaded gardening chores. But with a little planning, it can easily be kept under control.
When starting your garden, nothing is quicker at getting rid of weeds. This is one of my favorite tools. It is a real time saver.
Tried and true. There are several versions, but the idea is to cut them off or dig them up.
There are many ways to remove weeds that are not technically a hoe. Here are a few of those. Still, the best way is to prevent them in the first place and remove the ones that still get through when they are tiny, a little every day.
A necessary part of every garden. Make sure your garden gets about 1″ of water every week.
Every gardener needs a watering can, even if it is only to mix liquid fertilizers.
Every garden should be close enough to a hose bib to use a hose. From spot watering plants to washing off vegetables or tools. (or muddy boots) I’m not as big a fan of the expandable hose but definitely look for “no kink”.
I’ve found that a Y at the spigot is very handy. You never know when you will need 2 hoses or need to use the water at the spigot when your hose is in use.
Invaluable! a quick connect is a way to disconnect one sprayer and attach another attachment without running to find the pliers. This was a game changer for me when it came to cleaning my duck’s waterer.
One of my favorite tools. An adjustable sprayer gives you just what you need. hard spray to clean tools to soft shower that doesn’t hurt your plants. And with the quick connect above, you can immediately switch to a mister to water seedlings or to a …
A long handled sprayer. This is great for reaching your hanging baskets.
It’s very handy to keep your hose up off the ground, neat and tidy when it’s not in use.
Hide your hose and make it look tidy and pretty.
A great way to water your plants is at the root zone. A soaker hose fits that bill. I’ve used these for years and they work great. In our sun they only last about 2 seasons but are not expensive to replace. They are easy to roll up and store at the end of the season.
If you have a large garden an irrigation kit might make more sense. My water is too hard (too many minerals in it) and it plugs up the holes after a year or two, but many people just love these. Just make sure it drips and doesn’t spray.
My world changed when I got a timer for my irrigation. No more going out to the garden at 5 am to start watering the garden and then getting to work and wondering if I had turned it back off…
This is an option for some. It can save a lot of money if you have to pay for your water. Make sure it is legal in your area.
Season Extending Tools
Row covers can make your garden last a lot longer into the fall and even winter. By planting cold-hardy plants and covering them, You could be eating fresh greens until you need to prepare your spring garden. There are many weights and even some lightweight made for keeping bugs off.
Hoop houses come in all sizes. Get your row covers a little higher. Some you can even walk in like a mini greenhouse.
If you want to really extend your season than a greenhouse is the way to go. You will need the space and a whole lot of money though. There are a lot of options when it comes to greenhouses.
But then again maybe cold is not your problem. Maybe you have to fight too much sun and heat. Then shade cloth might just be the ticket.
Protect your garden
A fence around your garden will keep many things out. Neighborhood dogs and children come to mind. But rabbits can go right through chainlink at a dead run, voles will go under and squirrels…well I’m about convinced that there is no stopping squirrels. Now don’t get me wrong, I think children should be in your garden….when they are not chasing a ball.
Deer are another matter. To keep deer out you need a much higher fence than is normal.
Many people who have deer in their gardens have told me that this is the most effective means to keep deer and other varmints out of their gardens. (sometimes even the neighbors)
Potting Benches and Potting Tubs
What a glorious piece of equipment for a gardener. A place to pot up plants, fill seedling trays, mix up fertilizer, rinse vegetables, Oh, and so much more!
But at the very least you need something to contain all the dirt. This makes your workspace so much more tidy.
Best Time-Saving Tools
I’ve been asked what are the best “time-saving tools”.
Here are my top three picks:
Standing with a hose will suck up your time quicker than anything else you do.
Probably the most hated gardening task is weeding. By attacking them at the start of the growing season. You will cut your weeding chores down all year long.
Turning a compost pile by hand is not only time consuming but also backbreaking work. A compost tumbler will make the task quicker, easier and you will have compost quicker too.
*The Best Gardening Tool Of All
I was asked what my favorite and most used tool was. I thought long and hard about this one because there are so many I think are essential. But after careful consideration, I think the Garden Journal is the best tool of all.
My Garden Journal has taught me more about my garden and stopped more gardening mistakes than any other tool in my garden.
Garden Tools Gift Ideas
Very handy to know if you need to go out to water your garden.
Important to know when your plants need to be covered. I would hate to be without mine.
Be able to really see your plants and your pests. Learn to identify insects so you can tell if they are good guys or bad guys.
Great for your aspiring gardener. Get them started off right.
Everyone needs more gardening books.
All Under $30. Good for any time of year.
All under $15.
Final Note About Your Garden Tools
It’s incredibly important to keep garden tools clean to avoid damaging other plants. You don’t want to spread bacteria and fungus around your garden and cause a disaster that effects your harvest.
After each time in the garden or after working around an obviously diseased plant, Wipe your tools down good with alcohol or a bleach/water solution.
Keeping your tools cleaned, sharpened and wooden handles oiled will make your tools last a lot longer. Use a sharpening stone for your tools. It’s quick and simple. Just hold your blade at the right angle and rub on the stone in a circular motion and within minutes you’ll have made your tools work better and last longer.
Do this regularly and make sure you do this before you put your tools away for the season.
And that’s a wrap, folks! Is there anything you think I missed on this list? What tools and supplies do you think are essential to your gardening routine? What is your favorite tool? Share in the comments below.
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I believe everyone can grow at least part of their own food! Let me show you how.