If you only have a small amount of garden space, you probably won’t need all the big tools you would need for a larger garden. Here are 8 essential gardening tools and accessories for small gardens…
You wouldn’t try to carve a roast chicken with a spoon, would you?
Of course not!
This same philosophy applies to gardening as well. Having the right equipment to do the job at hand will save you countless hours and tons of frustration in the long run. Any experienced gardener will tell you how much easier it is to grow your own fruits and vegetables if you have the right tools and accessories in your arsenal.
The gardening tools and accessories you need will depend on the type and scale of gardening you plan to do. If you have a large garden with lots of ground-level beds, you will need an assortment of shovels for digging, edging, and moving piles of material. You’ll also need a good hoe to keep weeds at bay and maybe even a pickax to break up tough soil if you are breaking new ground to expand your garden. A durable wheelbarrow to haul mulch and other materials in and around your garden area is also important. Over time, this limited collection of tools and accessories will undoubtedly grow to suit your individual gardening style.
However, if you only have a small area to plant or prefer to limit your gardening to containers, you will need a different set of gardening tools, which may not include all of the standard items mentioned above.
The following items are ideal for urban or small space gardening, and they won’t take up a lot of room if you live in an apartment or condominium.
A Good Collection of Gardening Hand-Tools
Short-handled, ergonomically designed gardening tools are great for hand planting and small digging jobs. There are a number of hand-held gardening tools on the market. Here are three you’ll want to consider:
1. A Short-Handled Trowel. A good trowel is an indispensable tool for any garden, regardless of its size. Look for one with a pointy tip, which makes it useful for planting seeds, digging out stubborn weeds and loosening planting soil.
2. A Three-Pronged Cultivator. This tool features 3 individual rake-like prongs designed to loosen soil and create uniform burrows for planting. It can also be used to pull up shallow-rooted weeds.
3. A Transplanter. This tool is designed to make transplanting smaller plants easier. Some styles feature gradation marks to ensure you are planting each plant at the appropriate depth.
4. A Korean Hand Hoe. This one is optional but is my absolute FAVORITE garden tool, and I’d never want to be without it! This is a multi-purpose tool that is equally great for removing both small and large weeds, loosening the top layer of soil for planting, creating furrows for seeds, and covering and firming your soil after planting.
To save time and money, you can look for a high quality and affordable pre-packaged hand tool set. For example, you can pick up the highly-rated Fiskars 7067 3-Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set for approximately $30 or the Radius Garden 4-Piece Garden Set for $35. (You’ll have to buy the hand hoe separately as you likely won’t find it as part of a set, but it’s well worth the extra money.)
When evaluating hand-held gardening tools, look for those that offer ergonomic design features, such as soft contoured handles designed to hold your wrist in a neutral position. This will reduce unnecessary strain on your hands and wrists while you are gardening.
5. A Watering Can
Especially if you have a container garden, a watering can is an essential tool for keeping your plants well watered. Using a watering can rather than a sprinkler or hose can help you control how much water you are using and make sure the water is getting right to the roots where it needs to be. Keep in mind that for container gardens, you will likely need to water daily during the heat of summer, especially if your containers are in full sun.
Proper Gardening Attire
Although it can be fun and relaxing, gardening is still “dirty” work. Gardeners are prone to insect bites, cuts, scrapes and randomly stepping on sharp objects. So no matter how big (or small) your garden may be, you need to have the proper attire.
For starters, you’ll need a good set of gloves and protective footwear. When looking for gardening gloves, look for a pair that fits properly and offers some protection from sharp thorns and prickly shrubs. Fabric gloves with a protective rubberized coating along your palms and fingertips can be a great option because they dry easily and fit well enough to maintain finger dexterity. These are my favorite as they are coated with natural latex which is biodegradable and very tough – they last approximately twice as long as regular rubberized gardening gloves, and they are also cooler during hot weather.
A good pair of rubber gardening clogs are wonderful to have and should be all you need for a smaller garden. They are tough and durable (I’ve been wearing mine for over 8 years now!), protect your toes from cuts and thorns, and are easy to hose off when you are done digging in the dirt.
Finally, every gardener needs a good hat. Look for one with a wide brim to protect your face and ears from too much sun exposure as you work outside. Beyond that, have fun and let your personal style shine through!