Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Whether you’re growing flowers or vegetables, planting your very first garden or your 20th (and even if you’re a self-employed homesteader), there are some tools any home horticulturalist will find essential. So, to help you find the best tools for all your upcoming gardening projects, we interviewed four experienced gardeners about the gloves, boots, scissors, hoses and shovels they rely on to grow plants. healthy, beautiful and delicious plants. Below are the thirteen gardening tools they use the most.
Before we get to that, Joseph Truini, who co-authored this article and has been a dedicated gardener for nearly four decades, has an important tip to take away: Your tools will take care of you if you take care of them. . “During gardening season, I like to clean each tool of any encrusted dirt once a week. And every month I sharpen the dull edges with a mill file like this and brush all the rust off with a bit of steel wool or a wire brush, ”he says. “If your garden doesn’t like it, at least you will.”
Truini bought and used dozens of tools – and tested probably a hundred more as a contributing editor for Popular mechanics and other journals. According to him, these are three of the most essential gardening tools. And they are packaged together in a convenient and economical package. It includes a garden trowel for digging shallow holes and trenches, a three-pronged cultivator for loosening hard soils, and a measured transplanting trowel for digging holes to precise depths, which is especially important when planting. of bulbs. “Each tool has a contoured, comfortable-grip handle permanently attached to an extremely durable and rust-resistant polished cast aluminum blade,” he says.
If you’re new to gardening, you might not consider gloves to be an essential tool, but your hands certainly will. “Gloves keep your hands clean, but more importantly, they protect you from cuts, scrapes and punctures, which are virtually impossible to avoid when digging, seeding, pruning, weeding and pruning. harvest, ”says Truini. Rather than buying simple cotton gardening gloves, which offer minimal protection, he suggests investing in these 18-inch-long professional gardening gloves. The gloves are made of synthetic leather that is puncture resistant and much softer and more comfortable than animal leather. The elbow-cuff cuff protects your wrists and forearms from injury, and additional padding is provided on knuckles and fingertips.
Gardening can quickly take its toll on your shoes, and getting a pair of waterproof boots will save you heartache in the long run. Becky Searle, an environmentalist and botanist who documents her gardening adventures on Instagram at sow_much_more, is a huge fan of Muck Boots. His favorites are the Muckster II because they are light, flexible and very comfortable. “These are my favorite shoes, whether I’m in my backyard, walking my dog, or running school,” says Searle. In addition to comfort and flexibility, Muck boots are widely praised for their superior grip, breathable yet warm lining, and ability to clear debris easily.
“I dug a new garden bed last year, which is hard and slow work, but what made it slightly faster (and more bearable) was using an ice shredder. instead of a shovel, ”says Willy Blackmore, Curbed’s senior reporting editor and avid gardener. In the winter, you use an ice chipper to remove ice that builds up on your steps, sidewalk, or driveway. But you can also use the steel mulching head to dig a garden bed by pushing it through the grass and into the dirt around the perimeter of the square you want to dig. Then you can easily lift the square to reveal the dirt below. “It is much faster to blow up a patch of grass at a time than it is to dig the grass with a shovel. And that also leaves you with a well-leveled surface, once the digging – or rather the mulching – is done, ”he says.
Truini recommends the Tracey Garden smart shovel as a much improved update to your standard garden shovel. It features a commercial grade 14 gauge hardened steel blade and a virtually indestructible steel reinforced fiberglass handle. But what makes this shovel unique is the integrated floor rasp ideally placed at the base of the handle. “Instead of wasting the soil that clings to the roots of discarded plants, you can scrape it off the grater and scavenge it for use elsewhere in your garden,” he says.
A pair of sharp pruning shears is essential for any gardener. This is why Truini prefers bypass pruners, which are designed so that the upper blade slices past the lower blade, resulting in very fast and clean cuts. (With anvil pruners, the other common variety, the top blade crushes on the lower blade.) The durable titanium steel blades in this pair are polished for razor-sharp sharpness and can slice through stems, branches and saplings up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter. There’s even a special groove that helps release sticky sap that can gum up and block the pruning shears.
Blackmore also prefers bypass pruners and says a good pair can be used for anything from full size to harvesting tomatoes or squash. “I call them snips because that’s what you do with them: snip things. I like that they don’t have plastic handles, which I think tend to break easily and just don’t look so pretty, ”he says. “I am a fan of beautiful garden tools.
To complement its bypass secateurs, Truini uses these small garden scissors with very fine and very sharp blades specially designed to cleanly cut flower stems, prune buds, trim heads (removal of dead flowers), harvest herbs and prune houseplants. They feature Teflon-coated non-stick blades and large, ergonomic handles.
If you use a standard leaf rake to smooth the soil and remove debris from your garden, you know the frustration of trying to set it up in tight spaces and between narrow rows of plants and vegetables. But this lightweight aluminum alloy rake, recommended by Truini, has a variable width head that you can easily adjust from 7 ½ inches to 21 ¾ inches wide. “When the steel tines are adjusted to the narrowest width, you can easily rake under hedges and between perennials without damaging delicate plants,” he says. In its greatest width, it can be used as a standard leaf rake. The telescopic handle is also adjustable – from 37 inches to 68 inches long – to accommodate gardeners of varying heights.
“I love Japanese gardening tools, and the left-handed cannabis sickle (made in Japan) I have is a great example of why: it has a knife-sharp blade, it’s incredibly efficient, and there is a version for left-handed people like me, “says Blackmore, who bought his from a store in Camden, Maine called Sugar Tools. It has a short wooden handle with a straight steel blade that points towards you when you Hold it. Rotating the blade at the base of a clump of weeds will cut the tops. Or you can use it to peel a strip of grass by cutting the roots as you roll the sod back. You can even use it to make a small, light cut if the blade is really sharp. In addition to cutting or removing stuff you not want in the garden, Blackmore says you can use the tip of the blade to make furrows or holes for planting seeds or seedlings, and the blade can also be used for harvesting. “It’s especially good for things like cabbage that have a very thick base to cut,” he says.
According to Truini, one of the easiest and best ways to water a garden is to use a watering wand. “Unlike a standard hose nozzle, a hose wand provides a soft, soaking shower – not a damaging blast,” he says. This particular wand has a 24-inch curved aluminum shank that makes it easy to reach over, between, and under close-up plants to saturate the root zone. Its long reach design is also ideal for watering hanging baskets and flower boxes.
If you have raised beds and want to automate your daily watering, Southern California gardener CaliKim, whose YouTube tutorials help millions of people, suggests checking out this raised bed irrigation kit because it is “easy for beginners and includes everything to get started”. The kit has enough hoses to cover up to 50 feet (ten rows of vegetables), but can also be connected to a second set for use in a larger space.
The flowers and vegetables in your garden depend on high-quality, nutrient-dense soil to grow large and lush. With this simple portable device, Truini says you can quickly monitor the three most important factors for maintaining healthy garden soil: water, sun, and the pH value. “Simply immerse the two steel probes in the soil and the easy-to-read meter will indicate if it’s time to water, if the plant is getting enough sunlight, and if the soil is acidic or alkaline. (You still want neutral ground), ”he says. The three-in-one meter requires no battery and can be used to monitor virtually any plant, including flowers, vegetables, lawns, and even houseplants.
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