Having the best gardening tools can be incredibly beneficial when planting a garden. Gardens are a great way to feed your family healthy fruits and vegetables, but it can also be a fun hobby. It provides exercise, you get some fresh air, and your garden will grow (or not grow) based on how well you care for it.
Or maybe you’d rather grow a flower garden to attract pollinators and do your part to save the environment while enjoying some beautiful blooms.
Regardless of what kind of garden you plan to grow, you’ll need some tools to get started. Before purchasing your tools though, you will want to make some decisions about your garden so that you get the right tools.
Will you plant a vegetable garden in your backyard? A flower garden around your front walkway? Maybe you’d like to grow some fruit trees in pots. Or you’d rather have a container garden on your deck.
And if you’re planning to plant in the ground, how is your soil? If it’s not healthy or it’s full of rocks, your garden might not grow as well. If that’s the case, you may want to consider raised plant beds. These can be purchased, or, if you’re handy with a hammer and a saw, you can make them yourself.
Deciding what kind of garden you want to grow will help you to better determine what kind of tools you need. For smaller container gardens, you may not need all the recommended tools. Or you may need smaller tools to be able to work within your pots.
A larger garden or one with fruit trees may require more tools or more durable tools. Let’s face it, a small plastic trowel just won’t get the job done.
Now that you’ve made some decisions about your garden, let’s take a look at the tools you’ll need for successful planting and growing.
Best Gardening Tools Needed to Grow and Amazing Vegetable Garden
First and foremost, you’ll need some gloves to protect your hands. Regardless of what kind of garden you’re planting, digging in the dirt and maintaining your plants is hard work and it can take a toll on your hands. And even more importantly, you may find rocks, sticks, or unwanted creatures in your soil and gloves will help to prevent injury. They’ll also help to prevent blistering.
You will do better to choose gloves with reinforced fingertips to prevent punctures. And select a pair that’s waterproof to keep your hands dry while watering. For bigger gardening projects, you may want padded gloves to help prevent blisters along with adjustable wrist straps so that the soil doesn’t get in.
SLCG PRO TIP: Be sure to try gloves on before purchasing; the wrong fit can be just as bad as not wearing any at all. Be sure to look at the fit, feel, and comfort before you invest in a pair of gardening gloves.
Kneeling and sitting on the ground for long periods of time can quickly take a toll on your knees. A kneeling pad provides cushioning to help keep your knees from getting sore. Most garden centers, and even discount stores, sell these rectangular foam pads but in a pinch, you can make your own.
Any old chair cushion or leftover piece of foam will work great as a DIY garden kneeling pad. Simple cut a square in the size that fits you best and wrap it in duct tape at least once being sure to cover the entire surface of the pad. The tape will keep the pad from tearing and allows for easier clean up after use.
If you’re not familiar with this tool, a trowel is essentially a small, handheld shovel. It’s handy for both a small container garden on your back patio all the way up to a bigger garden in your yard. You can use a gardening trowel to dig small holes or fill containers with potting soil. It’s also useful for transplanting seedlings and digging up weeds.
While there are inexpensive plastic trowels available, this is one tool you should splurge a little on. Since you will using it quite often you will want it to last. Choose one with a solid metal blade and a sturdy wooden handle that fits comfortably in your hand.
Another great gardening tool to have is a good set of pruning shears. These shears will help you keep your plants under control when some of them start taking over. They’re also handy for snipping dead leaves or vines all the way to small branches.
SLCG PRO TIP: Do you love the smell of fresh-cut flowers decorating your kitchen table? Then having a sturdy set of pruning shears is a great tool to have in your gardening toolbox. Use them to snip off a few flowers to help create a beautiful bouquet and bring some of those amazing flowers inside of your home.
For the gardener, there are two basic types of pruning shears.
- Anvil pruners use a sharp blade against a flat surface, like a knife against a board.
- Bypass pruners are a sharp blade passing over a flat surface with a sharp edge, like scissors.
Bypass shears are best for live plants and green wood while Anvil shears are better for dead branches; they will cause crush injuries to fresh stems.
Again, look for ones that fit comfortably in your hand. To keep them working at their best, they should be sharpened regularly.
Garden Loppers are basically long-handled pruning shears and they’re used to trim branches that are harder to reach or very thick. Handles can be anywhere from 16 to 36 inches and this tool can be heavy, making it a little difficult to use.
Depending on the type of garden you plan to grow, you may not need a pair of loppers, but knowing they are out there as another gardening tool option is useful to know as your gardening knowledge grows.
SLCG PRO TIP: If you have wrist issues or Carpel Tunnel in your hands, garden loppers can make the task of pruning less pailful and even easier to do. By using both hands to trip branches and stems you remove some of the actions that can be painful if you suffer from these conditions.
Your new garden will need a lot of water to support the growth of roots and help it flourish. Rain alone will not be enough to get the job done. Choose your watering option based on the type of garden you’re planting.
A watering can is great for a small container garden, but will not be enough for a fruit and vegetable garden. For a garden planted in the ground, you’ll need a hose or a sprinkler attached to a hose to get the job done. If you’re choosing just a hose, use a sprayer attachment to control the water pressure and flow.
When watering your garden, in most cases, early mornings are best. Midday watering will evaporate too quickly and the plants won’t get the nourishment they need. And evening watering will waterlog the soil, creating bacteria and fungi.
A long-handled garden rake is one of those tools I like to call essential. With a rake, you will be better able to create smooth and level soil as well as remove any unwanted weeds. A garden rake will also help you keep your garden bed clean of leaves, twigs, and other debris so your plants can grow healthy and strong.
When picking a garden rake, be sure to choose a hefty one with a strong wooden handle and a metal rake head.
For a container garden, you will want a short-handled rake, about the size of a trowel, to keep the soil in your pots clean.
For tough, overgrown land, swap out a rake for a garden hoe to help chop and clear roots and tough soil. A garden hoe is a wonderful tool that can save your back when cleaning out a new area for your garden. The end of the hoe can slice and chop up roots and weeds making them much easier to remove.
If you’re new to gardening, all shovels may seem the same, but they’re not. There are actually a variety of options for a variety of tasks. For gardening, an angled shovel (one with a triangular head) is the best for digging holes to plant. You can use it when planting seeds, digging holes, moving soil, and even relocating plants to maintain the root system.
If you’re planting a bed, you may want to consider a squared-off spade for cleaner cuts, but it’s not necessary when you’re just starting out.
It’s doubtful you’d need a wheelbarrow for a simple container garden, but if you’re planting a large garden in the ground, it can really come in handy. You can use it to move large bags or piles of soil, compost, mulch, and plants.
When purchasing a wheelbarrow, consider what you’ll be using it for and if you want it to last a long time. A plastic one is, of course, less expensive and much lighter weight, but a metal one will be more durable over time.
SLCG PRO TIP: If you suffer from back issues then a garden wagon or utility cart may be more suitable for you. These wagons are quickly gaining in popularity because of their dual purpose. Use to hold plants and tools or you can use it to hold gardening debris as you work.
This is another tool that you should only need if planting a large garden. It’s true you can easily manage the weeds in a container garden with a small rake or trowel. In containers, the root systems of weeds are not as deep and therefore much easier to pull by hand. In a large outside garden, the roots are more involved making these weeds much difficult to pull and for that reason, a hand-held weeder really does come in handy.
The trick to keeping those pesky weeds from coming back it to be sure you are removing the entire root of the weed, this can be tricky to do and one reason why a hand-held weeder is on my “Best Gardening Tools” list. The metal tooth allows you to get down below the root which you can then angle up taking the entire plant with it. Very handy if you find many weeds in your garden.
SLCG PRO TIP: Hand weeding is a great way to ensure your garden remains organic and free from chemicals. If you want to deter weeds from happening in the first place, consider using mulch around the base of your plants.
Plant Dividing Tools
Dividing tools are a great tool to have especially for flower beds. A perennial divider allows you to easily divide larger plants into smaller ones without causing any damage to the plant and root system so that you can divide, move, and replant. It can also help with edging a flower bed.
A big grip knife helps with weeding, seed planting, dividing smaller plants, and digging holes in a plant bed. These specialized tools help to easily keep up with your flower garden while keeping the plants healthy.
Garden forks great to have because they can dig into dense soil much better than a shovel and they’re great for turning the dirt over giving life to stagnant soil. A pitchfork has a slight curve to the spines for scooping up mulch and turning compost piles. A fork with strait tines will do a better job of digging in rocky or clay soil or soil that is compacted. And square tines are stronger than flat ones, making it easier to manage rocks or roots.
Consider where and how you’ll be using it so that you can select the best fork for your needs. Look for one that has a non-slip grip and is stainless steel to help prevent rusting.
A hoe is another tool you won’t need for a container garden but one that will come in handy for a vegetable or flower garden. The type of garden you plan to grow will depend on the type of hoe you want to buy.
For a vegetable garden, you’ll want one that’s sturdy and has a wide base. A wide base garden hoe will help you dig or cut thick roots and make easy work of turning the soil in preparation for planting.
For a flower bed, a thinner garden hoe is a better option to protect your delicate plants. It will also help with weeding and preparing your flower bed.
When choosing a hoe, look for one with a long reach and a comfortable handle; you want to be able to use it while standing to protect your back. Find one with a good sharp blade to get the job done right and keep the blade sharpened over time to keep it working well.
Flat hoes are good for turning the soil in vegetable gardens while a weeding hoe is better for cutting down growth.
Other Gardening Needs
In addition to having the right tools for your garden, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving your garden what it needs to grow.
Choose fruits, vegetables, or flowers that grow with the same amount of light and water in the same type of soil. Planting vegetables that grow better in shade next to ones that need a lot of light means some of your plants will not grow healthy and strong.
If you want to plant seeds that have different light or watering needs, plant them far enough away from each other so that they can each get what they need without disrupting each other.Soil is also a big consideration for your garden as it provides the necessary nutrients for optimal growth. Some plants will grow well in drier soil while others will need very nutrient-rich soil. Be sure to read the planting information on all the plants or seeds you plan to grow. If the soil in your yard is not compatible, you may need to consider raised beds so that you can easily lay the proper type of soil.
One last consideration for planting is the time of year. All fruit, vegetable, and flower seeds will recommend the best time of year for planting to ensure growth. Planting too early may mean your plants can be killed by a late frost. Don’t let that happen.
Before buying your tools or making your first dig in the ground, take the time to plan your garden. Consider what you will grow, where you will grow it, what type of soil and light it needs, how much water it requires.
You may even want to use a landscape or gardening app to help you layout your garden plan before digging. The better you plan your garden in advance, the more chance it has to grow successful and provide a bountiful harvest.
A garden is a great way to provide healthy fruits and vegetables for your family to enjoy or create an environment for bees and butterflies to thrive.
Having the best gardening tools and a little advance planning will help you get the most out of it.