If you had to estimate how many pieces of gardening equipment you had, how big would that number be? Be honest!
I’m asking this question because I’ve just given my shed a bit of a tidy-up before the gardening season really takes off, and I almost disappeared under the pile of gardening stuff I had to re-arrange. And that got me thinking: which things could I literally not garden without?
There’s a bewildering amount of garden tools and equipment out there, and while it’s nice to indulge yourself in a new piece of kit for your hobby, you don’t really need endless products to get the job done. So, if you’re tight on storage space or budget, or just getting started with gardening, here’s my list of the garden tools and equipment you really need to make a success of it.
I may divide opinion on this one, as lots of gardeners like to garden with their bare hands. But personally I wouldn’t be without a good pair of gardening gloves, because in addition to forming a barrier between me and the elements, they’re also great for protecting me from prickly plants and scratchy twigs. It’s important to be able to move your hands properly while wearing them, so make sure you try gloves on before buying.
This is a real multi-tasker. Use it to fill pots with compost, dig up weeds, add mulch to small areas of soil, and scatter things like lawn feed and gravel container dressing. Choose one that has a nice strong scoop – really cheap ones tend to bend easily – and a smooth handle which feels comfortable to hold.
You can’t look after your plants without a watering can. While a hose is great for watering large areas, you can get away with just using a watering can if you’ve got a bit of patience. I’m a bit fussy when it comes to choosing a watering can; it absolutely must have a nicely rounded handle so that it doesn’t dig into my hand when it’s full of water, and it needs a rose head attachment for gentle watering of seeds and young plants. I always go for metal rather than plastic; as well as avoiding unneccessary plastic in the garden, I think they look much nicer, which means I can leave it out as a little reminder to keep giving my plants a drink.
You might think of protective footwear as something that’s only relevant to professional use and specific dangerous conditions, but it can actually come in really handy in the garden. Safety shoes come with hard toe cap protection, which lets you focus on your work without worrying about dropping heavy tools or branches on your feet. They’re also slip-resistant, which is ideal for those inevitably muddy conditions. I also love the fact that they’re properly waterproof; there’s nothing worse than cold, wet feet spoiling a nice hour in the garden! It’s a bonus if protective shoes look like normal shoes; I like Airtox Protective Footwear which look like trainers but still have all the features of classical work shoes.
You probably won’t need to use a spade very often, but it’s well worth having one as there are some jobs you just can’t do without it. A spade is great for digging big planting holes, breaking up compacted soil and moving large amounts of soil or compost around. Choose one that’s the right height for you and feels comfortable to hold.
In my opinion, a good quality garden fork is well worth the money and space it takes up. I use mine all the time. You can use it to dig up big weeds by the roots, aerate lawns, divide large plants, and loosen soil in beds and borders. As with a spade, make sure you choose one with a comfortable handle. There’s a little robin who loves to perch on mine when I’m not using it, he obviously thinks it’s comfy too!
I get this piece of kit out of the shed every time I garden. It’s simple and basic, but has so many uses. Collect weeds and fallen leaves, fill with harvested fruit & veg, mix up potting compost, fill with water for drenching a plant or soaking a parched pot, I even use mine to pot up small plants.
Trust me, if you’re going to spend any amount of time kneeling down to look after your garden, you need a kneeler. They make kneeling tasks so much more comfortable, which in turn means you can stick at it for longer. I love the ones that use memory foam as they feel really supportive. If you don’t like the idea of carrying a kneeler around the garden you could go for knee pads instead, which you strap around your legs.
What’s on your list of essential garden tools and equipment?
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