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garden tools

The pleasure of growing your own vegetables, flowers or herbs begins with the right tools. While the “can’t-live-without” list varies from gardener to gardener, region to region and season to season, most amateur horticulturists can agree that some tools are more important than others. To find out the gardening essentials that every gardener should own, StudyFinds consulted with four experienced growers whose gardens range from small vegetable plots to self-sufficient homesteaders. Below, they describe the tools they rely on most when tending their crops and how they keep these tools sharp and ready for action.

The Garden Trowel

A trowel is an essential hand tool used to transplant plants, dig holes for seeds and seedlings, remove weeds, dig in hard soil, and other basic tasks. The best garden trowels have a comfortable, ergonomic handle, a long, narrow blade, and a stainless steel construction. Some come with a built-in depth gauge for planting bulbs, which helps ensure consistency when digging holes.

For those that tend to a large number of beds, a good wheelbarrow can help reduce back strain and move plants and supplies more quickly and easily. Look for one that’s sturdy and easy to maneuver, as well as a spacious bin for collecting compost, potting soil and other items. A metal wheelbarrow is best for longevity, but if that’s not practical for you, opt for a plastic model with galvanized steel reinforcements, which can still provide years of reliable service.

The Garden Weeder

Weeds can be a major challenge for anyone who grows anything, and this simple tool makes short work of them all. The long handle provides leverage for tough jobs, and the blade is shaped to chop weeds at their roots rather than simply scraping them up like a rake. Choose a curved, stainless-steel weeder for more durability and to cut deeper into the weeds’ stems than a flat or straight hoe.

The Garden Pruners

A good pair of pruning shears can do everything from trimming weeds and shrubs to trimming roses and other perennials. Truini prefers a pair that has a bypass design, in which the top blade slides past the bottom blade for quick, clean cuts, rather than anvil pruners that chomp down on the stems of plants.

The Garden Tool Set

This handy, convenient set includes a long-handled hoe for chopping weeds, a three-tine cultivator for loosening up hard soil and a trowel with a measured depth gauge that’s ideal for planting. It’s available in other versions with a variety of different blade lengths, and the ergonomic, comfort-grip handles are designed to fit comfortably in your hands.

Gardening tools are an investment, so be sure to purchase the highest quality you can afford. Keep your tools in good repair and store them properly to avoid injury or contamination, and you’ll soon see that your time in the dirt becomes more efficient, productive and enjoyable. By purchasing through the links on this page, you help support our mission to make informed shopping decisions.