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Gardening can be back breaking, blistering hard work, but the bounty is so worth it! Think of all the yummy fresh produce you will have. Luckily there are tools out there that can make your gardening life go much more smoothly. I have listed below 8 gardening must have items that makes gardening easier in my Garden of Weedin. My personal favorite tools used at Bless this Mess Homestead are listed with Amazon links too!
Invest in a good pair of gloves. There are many different kinds of gloves and it's a personal preference for what you like and what you are doing Besides planting,gardening also involves digging, pruning, raking, weeding, using chemicals, working in cold weather, handling brush and removing thorns. Gloves will protect your hands from blisters, scrapes, sunburns, puncture wounds and becoming chapped.. An avid gardener should have several different types of gloves available, which include a pair each of general purpose, waterproof, grip-enhancing, and puncture resistant gloves.
General purpose garden gloves are usually made of cotton, or a polyester-cotton blend. They are used for basic gardening chores such as digging small holes, planting seeds and weeding. General purpose gloves are lightweight, cinched at the wrist and are perfect for working in cool, dry soil.
Waterproof gloves are usually made out of PVC and called pond gloves.
Grip enhancing garden gloves are worn when raking, shoveling, hoeing and digging. They prevent the development of blisters and abrasions. These kind might use Nitrile coating or rubber dots.
Puncture resistant garden gloves are worn when handling rose bushes, berry bushes, thistle or cacti. A majority of puncture resistant gloves are made from leather or a blend of materials.
I have small hands and hate to wear gloves as they never fit right so then dirt gets inside the gloves and drives me bonkers until i found a kind that I like. I prefer these from Wildflower Tool garden gloves, they fit like a glove! haha couldn't help myself there! They fit like s second skin and give me flexibility & comfort; breathable nylon shell & ribbed cuff provides a secure fit preventing slippage while keeping dirt & insects out; machine washable, nitrile coated for hand protection without losing gripping ability or control when using garden tools or touch sensitivity handling plants & flowers. Puncture resistant & chemical protection; nitrile coated palms & fingertips prevent small cuts, abrasions, splinters. You want a pair here is a link for you!
Sharp Steel Pruners
IF you have a garden then you are going to need a good pair of pruning shears. Don't go for the bargain deal as you will struggle with them and believe me you don't want to get mad trying to trim a bush. Bushes aren't too forgiving.
There's hand shears which are for small projects like cutting herbs. Hedge Shear which is for bigger items like shrubs and then there's a looper which is more for trees. I love Fiskars brand scissors for fabric they works so well and smooth when i found that they also make pruning shears i just knew that was the right kind for me. I got even luckier when i found a 3 piece kit which includes looper, hedge shear and small hand pruner. Fiskars has hardened steel blades, low friction coating for smooth cutting and my favorite soft grips for my hands!.
Garden Shovel for Digging
A good shovel should last a lifetime, so go ahead and invest in one that is easy for you to handle. A straight long handle will do the job, but an angled or circular handle may give you better leverage against tough ground. So i'm really short like 4ft 11in short, so getting a shovel that works well for me is a struggle. I need something light weight and sharp that can dig. I found this shovel that fits the bill. This shovel from Radius Garden is a ergonomic floral shovel for flower gardens, transplants, raised beds or any small space garden. It has a high quality fiberglass shaft with heavy duty lightweight carbon steel blade design. Radius has a O-Handle Grip with 4 times the gripping surface of traditional D-Handle tools provides additional leverage while reducing hand and wrist stress. It was named Editor's Choice in Organic Gardening Magazine and featured in Arthritis Today magazine and has a lifetime guarantee.
Trowel, Cultivator and Tool Organizer
A trowel and cultivator are needed for including digging, weeding, loosening soil, aerating, transplanting and more. You will spend much quality time with these tools so picking a good pair that will last is important. Fiskars again are my favorite. They have soft, contoured handles are ergonomically designed to reduce hand and wrist fatigue while working. Curved heads and forked tines make breaking up tough soil easy. Cast-aluminum heads resist rust for lasting value, and has a lifetime warranty. I just love the trowel that has measurements on it for planting, no more guessing or using a ruler!
Then you need something to carry these tools around with you. You could go with a tool bag kit or an apron, or go for a 2 in 1. Like a garden seat with a tool organizer attached or what i like to use is one that attaches to a 5 gallon bucket. It's more functional to me. The one i have (link below) has 10 deep pockets, great for transporting a variety of garden tools, gloves, seeds, marking sticks, string, scissors, tape , water bottle, and my cell phone. It's made of durable canvas and easy-to-clean. It easily fits any standard 5 gallon bucket . I like this kind of organizer mostly because it's MORE EFFICIENT as it frees up internal bucket space for weeds, produce or other items.
The hoe is an important tool in the gardener's war against weeds. The steel blade sinks into the earth to remove weeds and stir the soil, which gives plants more moisture, nutrients, and growing space.
A standard paddle hoe is a "52 wood handle that has a 6'4 inch blade.
Warren hoes have a triangular blade which makes them good for tight spots. They can weed or cultivate under plants, without disturbing them. They also do double duty making furrows.
Scuffle hoes have become my hoe of preference because they cut in both directions, backward and forward. The name is appropriate. You scuffle the blade along the soil, rather than pulling it repeatedly toward you, as with conventional hoes. If your soil is not too compacted, it also works well as a cultivator.
There are many other kinds and options for hoes. So a hoe isn't just a hoe.
I prefer the scuffle hoe as it has a looped steel blade which is great for weeding and cultivating around plants. I love that i can use both back and forth or push-pull motion to cut weed roots. And for the amount of time i spend with this tool the cushion end grip is much more comfortable.
Garden Kneeler and Kneeling Mat
I know some will say "oh you don't need that to garden", well guess what i'm a whiner and I do. This saves my knee and back so it helps me to work longer. There are many different styles and options but for the most part they can be broken into 2 categories : A kneeling mat or a garden seat. The thick pad is very versatile. It's just mostly a nice foam pad and maybe with a handle. Then there's the garden seat that can be flipped to either kneel or sit on. There's so many different kinds to chose from. I use both kinds as it depends on what I'm working on and where for what option I use. The seat I have folds up very easily for storage and OMG it helps relieve stress on my back. It's convenient, comfortable and lightweight which can be a handy garden seat or turn it upside down for a kneeler. I also use the seat for other things like milking or just to have an extra seat. The mat is good for tighter spaces and to be closer to the ground. The mat also makes a good Frisbee to chase off chickens or kids.
Raking is a never ending process around here. So investing in a good rake is a wise decision. Again there are different kinds of rakes and options but what you want will depend on what your raking.
Leaf rake: These rakes can be made from either flexible metal or plastic tines mostly used for raking leaves or pine straw.
Bow rake: These rakes have short, rigid metal tines and are used to smooth out soil or spread mulch. And then there's a shrub rake. This narrow rake is perfect for distributing mulch around shrubs or in a garden where the space between plants is limited.
Fan rake: This kind is a combination of a leaf and shrub. Its an adjustable rake.
I use the fan rake and bow rake. I like the fact that i can adjust the rack span of a fan rake and to me it's 2 rakes in 1. The fan rake i like has an adjustable head expanding From 7 Inches to 22 Inches. I can adjust the rake width to a tiny 7 inchs for tight areas. This rake is designed to go in smaller areas like a shrub rake then expands to a full 22 inches for raking leaves.
A garden hose is one of the most important tools needed for gardening. Depending on the gardener and the garden, a hose may need to stand up to hot sun, freezing water, kinks, knocks and high-pressure water year after year. So picking a good hose is necessity. So what kind of garden hose is right for you?
Vinyl Hose definitely the cheapest, vinyl is light weight and flexible, making them good general-purpose garden hoses. They can be damaged by the sun, kinking or impact.
Rubber hoses are the strongest and most durable type of garden hoses. Rubber hoses can even carry hot water, which vinyl hoses are not designed to do. Rubber hoses are more expensive and heavy than vinyl.
Rubber-vinyl hoses are a mixture of both. They are more flexible and kink-resistant than vinyl. They are durable, cheaper and lighter weight than all-rubber hose
Flat hoses are designed to be easy to store and compact.
Soaker hoses are special purpose hoses designed for watering garden beds without need of a sprinkler. They have tiny holes along their length, which create a slow, even spray when they are turned on.
Here at Bless this Mess Homestead we use rubber-vinyl hoses due to cost and weight. I've tried the flat hose but it was too irresistible to the kids to jump on and it split. We also use soaker hoses in most of the gardens. I feel the are better for watering as it delivers the water directly to the roots and it also helps by keeping the weeds down. Also soaker hoses save on time and water since i don't have to stay out there and water and the water goes right where it's needed.
Now it's time to get to work! Do you have a favorite tool that makes gardening easier for you? Please share!