Tools – What You Need To Start Gardening
Gardening is not an expensive hobby unless you make it that way - you don’t really need anything except enthusiasm, soil, water and light. If needs be you can dig a hole in the soil with your hands and grow your plants in an old bucket. It doesn’t have to be costly, difficult or time-consuming to grow the plants you love.
That said there are some basics that make the gardener’s life easier. If you are container gardening or growing indoor plants you only need a pot and something to water it with such as an empty milk carton or cup, but outdoors in the soil, you’ll find some tools are helpful.
- A spade or trowel
Digging into the ground can be tough going if you have hard soil, tree roots and stones to contend with, but a spade or trowel will help you dig a planting hole or move earth with ease.
- A fork or hand fork
What’s the point of having a spade and a fork? Well, a spade will dig a hole but a fork can be used to turn over the earth and it’ll reach down into the soil much further too. Hand forks are small pronged tools that complement a trowel and they are helpful but not essential. If you have to choose between a spade and a fork, make it a spade.
- A watering can
Outdoor plants are generally bigger than houseplants and therefore require more water, so it’s quicker and easier to carry water in a decent size watering can.
- Gardening gloves
If you are busy in the stones and nettles and there’s a chance of cat poo then gloves are handy. They’ll also stop you getting blisters if you are putting in some effort. I always use gloves when I’m digging with a hand trowel or I end with a blister in the palm of my hand.
- Canes and twine
Climbing plants such as bougainvillea and jasmine need support so canes and twine are essential. Larger bushes can also benefit from shoring up too. Choose twine that is soft, don’t use a hard tie or it will gradually dig into the plant’s stem. Whatever you choose to tie your plants back with should be softer than the plant.
If you get into cultivating your garden the bug can hit you hard! Here are some tools that you might find useful at a later point once you’re a fully-fledged gardener extraordinaire:
Garden shears are used to cut lawn edging and chop back hedges such as Acmena or giant strelitzia for example.
Secateurs are basically extra tough garden scissors. You can use them to cut stems, dead wood and tidy up plants like dwarf bamboo.
- A hoe
If you’ve cultivated a flower bed it’s going to grow weeds too, that’s just nature’s way, she doesn’t appreciate a tidy garden like we do! A hoe is a long-handled tool with a cutting edge that’s used to chop weeds off when they emerge from the soil. It means you won’t crush your agapanthus or buxus walking over the flower bed.
Tools are helpful but don’t think you need to rush out and buy everything before you’ve got a single plant. The first buy should be a trowel, then match tools to your plant selection and buy them only when needed. Good quality tools that are kept clean and oiled can last a lifetime so it’s rarely money wasted.
Here’s one last tool tip for you - tie a bright ribbon to your trowel or buy a neon one. I’m forever losing them in the flower bed and it’s a proper pain!