Having spent so many years in the garden I have come to the conclusion that there are certain tools a gardener ought not to do without. I am not saying some tools are not essential but you would agree with me that there are many tools you can do without at work and so are some gardening tools.
As technology advances, we get to see more garden tools come into play. But all these fancy gardening tools can rarely stand the test of time like those old gardening tools that have proven themselves trustworthy over the years.
As a gardener with years of experience here are five vital garden tools no gardener should do without.
1. Garden Hoe
The garden hoe is certainly one of the most essential garden tools I have come in contact with. It's a multipurpose tool. The garden hoe is used for breaking up of soil, can be used to make hole for seedlings and to remove weeds from the garden.
It is advisable to get a hoe that is pinned to the shaft rather than buying a two part hoe with the metal blade separated from the wooden handle.
The reason for the wooden handle of the hoe is for to have a firm grip when your hands sweat in hot weather.
The garden hoe can be divided into groups which are the moving and shaping hoes: the blades of the soil moving hoes are larger. Soil moving blades are also used for forming trenches.
Warren hoe: this is a triangular shaped designed hoe with its arrowhead pointing downward which aids in giving shape to furrows. It also serves for tamping down the soil after seeds must have been sown.
Korean hoe: its blade is curved inwardly and ends with a sharp point. Like the Warren hoe it is also used to furrow but as a result of its nature can be used to dig up weeds from their very roots.
2. Garden Spade
I personally prefer using a spade to a shovel because, it helps me in straightening the edges of my garden beds, tucking back grass and for putting things into the soil which is assisted by the garden fork.
It would be more comfortable for you to get a spade that has the same features as the garden forks. Note that the handle of a spade has a lot to do with its effective utilization, because you need a firm and comfortable grip to carry out your work effectively.
A shovel or spade with a single metal piece fastened to a wooden handle with a single socket runs a foot to the handle are the most durable.
I prefer using spade to a shovel because it has a cutting edge that's capable of penetrating roots and sod with ease unlike the shovel that the edges are not gentle with roots of plants.
Make sure you get a spade that the treads are wide for your foot to be placed on it to aid you push it into the soil.Since the spade is to be driven straight into the ground, the spade head should directly be in line with the handle for maximum utilization.
Usually spade has two common blade sizes; 23x15 cm for cottage spade and 29x30 for digging spade. I use the cottage spade to make fine flower bed edges.
It is also advisable to get qualitative spades made up of blades of good quality stainless or allot steel for durability.
3. Garden Fork
Just like the garden spade, the garden fork is of two kinds; the digging fork and the cottage fork. The garden fork is used to go down into the soil. The digging fork which is the largest can dig a depth not less than 10 inches into the soil. Digging fork is used to turn sods over before planting and can also be used to turn compost piles over.
Occasionally I use fork instead of a spade to separate large plants. Forks that are made from a single piece of steel is better than those that are made from separate piece of steel. It is also advisable no to purchase a fork that the metal is just clamped into place over the shaft.
4. Pruning Shears or Secateurs
Pruning shears or Secateurs are used to prune flowers, fruit trees, garden shrubs and all other plants that can be pruned. This is one of the garden tools that most people are familiar with, most people call it the "Gardeners Scissors".
The secateurs you use as a gardener goes a long way to tell how long you can use those hands. Secateurs that your hands are not comfortable with would really strain your arms and wrist. So it advisable to look out for handles that have a firm grip when held and not the slippery one that can slip off when wet.
When secateurs are involved, the quality of their blades is highly important because pruning is what really qualifies a person to be called a gardener. That's the reason most gardeners do not play with their pruning shears or secateurs and hardly would they give it out.
Make sure your blades are always sharp and can be easily sharpened when they blunt and removable too.
5. Garden Rake
There are certainly two types of rakes every gardener needs; the garden or landscape rake and leaf or lawn rake.
When I want to make a flower bed or vegetable garden, landscape or garden rake is what I use and for soil levelling. This landscape rake because of its robust nature is ideal for landscape areas to pull and push material about without the need of the tines being bent.
While a leaf rake is mostly used to gather up fallen leaves and grass lawns. The leaf rake most times has metal head and long tines that are used to comb materials together.
For me, a garden rake shouldn't be less than 14-inch in diameter and I prepare iron toothed to go along with a wooden handle that is properly joined to a metal head. In my experience as a gardener, I can tell you that iron rakes are the best but are quite heavy and last longer than aluminium rakes.
When purchasing a rake, look out for a handle shaft that is good; in the sense that you can comfortably use it without having wrist and arm strains.