What tools do I need to begin gardening?
This question is a difficult one to answer simply as no two gardens are alike, and for this we should be thankful. Particular tools are made to cope with all the various aspects of gardening, some simple and very good value for the amateur and some so expensive as to make them quite uneconomical for the average person to contemplate. A visit to one of the well stocked shops will either help or completely confuse. It would be pointless to buy for instance an expensive mechanical cultivator for a garden which will eventually have large areas of lawn and shrubs, and very little work for the machine to do when the laying out is completed. It would be a better plan to hire the larger machines from a farmer or contractor to get over the heavy work, and then steadily, as the needs arise, equip one’s tool shed with some tools that will give long and faithful service.
The first essentials to buy are as follows, and a point worth mentioning here is that it will pay to choose carefully and possibly pay a little more for well made and finished tools. Most cultivating aids have to work hard and stand up to frequent changes in weather conditions and a little careful thought when purchasing can ensure that they will remain useful for a long time.
This should not be too heavy and should be well balanced. If funds permit the most expensive are made in stainless steel and will be easy to keep clean, durable and a pleasure to use. Spades with armoured chromium finish would be a cheaper but quite satisfactory alternative, and less expensive still are the spades finished in bright metal. Any of these will give years of service if a little trouble is taken to clean off and dry when possible after use and store in a dry place.
These can be bought in any of the finishes mentioned for spades, and another point relative to both these tools is that the handle should be well joined to the metal sleeve which on good tools extends something like half way between the blade and the top handle.
This will be found useful for tidying and removing youngfrom the flower border and vegetable garden.
This type of hoe will be used for making shallow furrows, called drills, for seed planting and for earthing up around certain vegetables.
This is probably one of the most useful tools to buy at the beginning. Invaluable for preparingprior to planting and for levelling off beds and many other jobs.
The bought type of garden line usually consists of a long length of cord with a winding handle on the spike at one end and a simple spike at the other. These of course are easy to use but a very satisfactory substitute can be made with two strong pegs and a supply of good quality cord, say 50 feet. Make a small hole in each peg through which the cord can be tied, this will obviate the tiresome business of the line continually slipping off the pegs if they are not drilled and tied through. Each time the job in hand has been completed the cord can be wound round the two pegs and stored in a place where it can be found easily next time.
The list above contains a basic selection of tools for basic cultivating, but of course many people move into a house which already has an established garden which will need maintaining and quite likely some major alterations. I have tried to note the necessary tools needed as and when they are required throughout the articles within this site.