Even if your garden is nothing more than a couple of pots of geraniums on the balcony of your apartment, there are some gardening tools you cannot do without. And as your garden plot grows, the basics of what you need to work it efficiently expands too. Here is a list of necessary gardening tools, no matter what your garden’s size.
For the apartment or condo dweller’s garden:
Trowel: The hand trowel, with its scoop-shaped metal blade, is essential for breaking up soil, planting seeds or small plants and digging out weeds.
Hand Pruners: A good pair of pruners can serve to trim back unwieldy plants, prune small trees and cut flowers.
Watering Can: A watering can is the easiest way to keep your small garden hydrated. The standard size is two gallons, but smaller cans are available and may be easier to lift and store in smaller spaces.
Bucket or Trug: A bucket or trug (an oblong basket traditionally used in harvesting) can prove invaluable for carrying equipment or plants to the garden and vegetables or flowers back inside.
Gloves: Work gloves will keep your hands clean when working in the soil and protect them from cuts and scrapes while hand weeding or trimming brush.
Tape Measure: Whether spacing plantings or designing the layout of a container garden, every gardener needs a sturdy tape measure at hand.
For home dwellers with small gardens and yards, add:
Shovel: A good shovel can be used for planting, moving compost and mulch, working the soil, digging beds and edging the lawn. It’s wise to spring for a stainless-steel blade, as other metals rust easily and make digging that much harder.
Leaf Rake: Besides being essential to the annual autumn cleanup, a rake can aid the gardener in sowing small seeds (like grass seeds) and cleaning up after pruning or a storm.
Dandelion Weeder: This hand-held fork is essential for digging out dandelions and other weeds with long, thick roots.
Hose and Nozzle: While a watering can may be sufficient for taking care of container and houseplants, a larger garden needs more water in more places. Enter the hose, with a nozzle that will let you turn it on and off without having to walk back to the tap each time.
Tarp: A simple plastic tarp can be used to cover areas of your garden or lawn to kill the weeds there in preparation for planting. Another use is to rake leaves on top of the tarp or pile up twigs and pull it to another part of your property.
Sprinkler: Sprinklers provide the steady water input that most gardens need to stay healthy. They come in a number of different designs and most hook up to the hose and can be moved around the garden for consistent watering.
Scissors: Gardening scissors, usually sharper and stronger than their household cousins, are perfect for the delicate jobs-like cutting lettuce or roses. They are also useful for opening bags of soil or compost.
For the more advanced home gardener, add:
Garden Knife: This is a multi-purpose blade that the savvy gardener will always keep handy to cut twine, weed, plant bulbs or split perennials. The blade has a serrated edge that is useful for cutting through roots and tough soil.
Loppers: Loppers are hand pruners on steroids, with long handles that give you added leverage to easily prune small branches of shrubs and trees.
Wheelbarrow or Cart: You want your wheelbarrow or cart to be strong but light enough to push easily when it’s filled with compost, mulch, soil, plants, tools or anything else that needs to get from one side of the garden to the other.
Garden Fork: No other implement works as well to break up soil in a garden bed, clean up cut brush or pitch mulch into the wheelbarrow.
Having the proper tools for your garden, whether you live in an apartment or own a home, can make all the difference in the health of your garden and your enjoyment of working it.