“What are the basic garden tools needed to start a garden?” This is a question many people ask prior to starting a garden. Even people who have been gardening for years may ask a similar question, particularly when it comes time to replace a tool.
When I started gardening over 19 years ago, I had a very basic set of tools. Over the years I have tried and tested a wide selection of garden tools. This list is just my opinion of what tools are needed to start a backyard garden. I hope this list allows people who are considering starting a garden to see it doesn’t take much to get started.
I have created a list of 10 basic tools; the first 5 are what I would consider the key tools, and the last 5 can make things easier. All of these tools can be found at a good hardware store or garden center.
- Trowel – The trowel is an indispensable garden tool because it has so many uses. It can be used to make holes for transplanting, for mixing various materials, for digging up some stubborn weeds, and adding fertilizer to a planting hole. The trowel is the little work horse of the garden, allowing you to do all the delicate work required in your garden. Do not try to use your trowel to pry things up, it will not end well for the trowel.
- Round Point Digging Shovel – The round point shovel is one of the most versatile garden tools there is. In fact this is what many people think of when you say shovel. It has a round pointed blade with a long handle. A round point shovel can be used to create garden beds, move compost, dig holes, and even edge a bed.
- Bow Rake – A bow rake (garden rake) has several curved teeth on a long handle. A bow rake is used to level the ground of the beds and is also used to create planting mounds or rows. It can also be used to rake out rocks and debris from your planting beds. You can also use it to mix compost or fertilizer into your beds.
- Warren Hoe – A warren hoe looks like a heart on a stick. This often unfamiliar hoe can be used to create planting rows, but is also great for weeding between the tight rows of a backyard garden.
- Knife – I keep several old steak knives with my garden tools. They are handy for detailed edging of a bed, harvesting crops, dividing plant cells, weeding and so much more. There are several garden knives and soil knives available today, its a personal choice what you like, for me its a cheap, old steak knife.
- Garden Spade– While you can edge a garden bed with a round point shovel, a garden spade is the perfect tool for the job. The square, flat blade makes it perfect for edging garden beds. Most garden spades are shorter in length with an end grip.
- Spading Fork– The spading fork is a very durable fork with wider tines then a standard manure fork. Spading forks are great for loosening soil in the garden beds. They can also be used for mixing and turning a compost pile. It can also be used to help harvest root crops by loosening the soil prior to harvesting.
- Watering Can– At some point, there will be a need to move water to the garden, a watering can is a great way to do so.
- Wheelbarrow (or cart) – Having a wheelbarrow just makes life easier if you are moving a lot of soil, compost, or mulch. The type of gardening you plan to do will determine how important the wheelbarrow is to you. Wheelbarrow and carts come in all sorts of sizes and styles.
- Action Hoe– Sometimes called a scuffle hoe or stirrup hoe (because it looks like a saddle stirrup). This hoe has a wide sharp blade that moves back and forth as you push it through the soil. This action really helps cut and loosen the weeds. I also run it through my beds at the end of the season to break up all the roots left in the soil.
A good general rule when buying any tool is “buy the best tool you can afford”. If I can afford to pay a little more for a pro tool I usually do. Every person is different, so just choosing to buy a garden tool is better than not. You will just be one step closer to starting your garden, or growing a better garden.
Also, remember to take care of your tools and they will take care of you; providing years of great use. I keep a steel bristle brush in my storage area to clean off my tools before I put them away for the day, this has helped keep my tools in great condition.
Hopefully this list helps you get a backyard garden started.