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Compile a selection of basic tools before you start your garden. A few well-chosen basic garden tools will provide you with everything needed to prepare a garden bed and plant seeds or seedlings. You don't need to spend a lot of money assembling your starter kit. Visit local flea markets or yard sales for secondhand bargains. Look for tools with rubber grips, which provide better traction than plastic grip coating or no grips. Review basic cutting and digging techniques in printed or online sources -- then grab your tools and dig in.
Choosing the right tools is as important to a gardener as a carpenter having the right tools to work on a house. Technology has come a long way with tooling and help for gardeners, but the basic tools are still the same.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Set of Basic Garden Tools
Every garden kit needs a good shovel. The shovel is a multipurpose tool that allows you to dig up soil and move material around. Shovels have long wooden or fiberglass shafts, and usually have steel blades. Garden shovels generally have a rounded edge with a little point. This helps you break through compacted soil either to move it or create holes. Look for a shovel with a small lip on the edge of the blade. This helps you with leverage when putting your foot on the edge and pushing it further in to the ground. If you need to move material such as rock or fill, purchase a shovel with a flat, square blade.
The size of the garden will determine the shovel you need. If you have a container garden, you will not want a full size shovel, but a short handled shovel. If your garden is larger, you will need a shovel with a long handle.
A garden fork is a tool with two, three or four tines or blades. It looks similar to a pitchfork, except the blades are usually flat and the points are dull. Garden forks either are straight or curved. Straight forks generally have a long shaft, and you use it standing up. Curved garden forks are usually hand tools. The blades on these tools usually are made of steel. Garden forks break up soil and remove grass or weeds. Use this tool to dig up bulbs and tubers without hurting them.
Garden shears come in different shapes and sizes. If you need to cut down branches, purchase lopping shears, which have long, thick blades. Operate these shears with two hands in a scissorslike motion. Standard garden shears are multipurpose garden tools for trimming trees, shrubs and plants and have only has a single cutting blade. Operate this small hand tool with one hand. If you plan to grow hedges, invest in a hedge shear. Hedge shears have long handles and long blades, allowing you to stand back from the hedge and avoid getting plant material on you. Hedge shear blades are sharp to break through both leaves and branches.
One of the most important tools used in a garden is the hoe. A hoe is a multipurpose garden tool and the head of the hoe has either a wide, flat or triangular head. A hoe is essential to making your rows or mounds, and a sharp hoe makes weed removal easier. Use this tool to create rows between vegetable beds or to remove weeds between plants. Create small holes for planting bulbs, potatoe tubers, or seeds with a hoe. Mix up fertilizer, plant food, and compost into the garden soil. Break up hard soil, or pull small rocks out of the ground. Remove bulbs or tubers without damaging them.
A garden rake will help keep the dirt loose in your garden. A leaf rake will help you pull leaves and compost over your winter garden, keeping weeds from growing in your plot. A hand rake has a short handle is used for working with containers.
You may want hand pruning shears or limb trimmers to cut away the dead or dying plants, making it easier to dig to the roots for plant removal. Pruners are used for removing dead branches from otherwise vibrant plants during growth seasons as well.
Choose a hose that reaches your garden and is easily attached to a sprayer or sprinkler. You will want a hose that is reinforced to prevent kinking and leaks, and one that has crush-proof couplings.
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