Over the years, I have to admit, we have spent more money on gardening than we have ever reaped in an actual harvest. We don’t try to be spendy, trust me, but starting a garden from the dirt up can get expensive and buying high-quality garden gear and tools for women is one of my priorities.
The actual tools I’ve used for gardening have ended up being the least expensive because I tracked down the best quality I could afford, and those tools and gear have lasted for years. In no particular order, these are the tools I consider to be most essential. Do you have anything to add to the list?
A composting system
Any successful garden begins with the soil. There’s no way to get around it. The good news, though, is that you can work on developing your soil year-round by composting. Start with some type of container with a lid in your kitchen. Keep it right by the sink or stovetop, and that’s where you’ll put all your food scraps. When the container is full, dump those scraps in a larger composter or compost pile outside.
The one pictured above is very simple, but effective, and yes, you can make your own as a DIY project. It’s as simple as filling a bin with a combination of dirt, leaves, food scraps, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds — the beauty of developing your own compost is that you’re recycling “trash” into something truly useful. This composting guide has invaluable information about developing well-balanced compost.
TIP: I have squirrels, possums, feral cats, hogs, and raccoons that venture into my yard, so for me, using a closed compost system works best. Keep that in mind when deciding whether or not you want an open-air system in a back corner of your yard or a closed bin, like the one pictured.
A soil testing kit
If you haven’t had much success in the past with your garden, what do you know about the soil? Even with good compost, it’s good to know if you are dealing with soil that is clay, sandy, or loamy. (More info at this link.) A soil-testing kit can be purchased at gardening centers and stores like Lowe’s, as well as purchased online like the kit pictured above.
Once you know more about your soil, you’ll know what amendments, if any, should be added, how to schedule your watering, and what plants will do best in whatever soil you’ve got. I found this article about soil types and soil testing to be very helpful.
Move forward with great seeds!
Do you get as confused as I do when browsing through racks of seeds at the local nursery? I do, too! I now prefer to buy my seeds from catalogs because they typically contain more information about the varieties and we like to try our hand at growing the unusual.
One reason I’m hesitant to purchase seeds from the garden centers and big box stores near me is that I have no idea how those seeds have been treated during the days/weeks they’ve been on display. Have they been out in the heat and humidity? Has a watering system sprinkled the packets with water? I trust the seed companies mentioned above to be pros when it comes to properly storing seeds until they’re ready to sell.
Protect your hands
It’s too early in the season for blisters, splinters, and dried out hands! If you don’t have a pair of gardening gloves, then that should be your next purchase. You can find them at the usual places (gardening centers, Home Depot, etc.) as well as buying them online.
If your garden has prickly berry bushes and rose bushes, you’ll need gloves that protect your arms as well as your hands, as pictured above. Try on gloves from various materials to find out what you like best. Canvas gloves drive me nuts but I also don’t like gloves that fit too tightly. A visit to a garden center or home improvement store will give you a selection to try on to find the best gardening gloves for you.
Get to digging!
Do you prefer to plant your seeds directly in the ground? Pots? Raised beds? Whatever the case, a set of heavy-duty hand tools are necessary. The set pictured above have a lifetime warranty and their manufacturer, Fiskars, makes my favorite set of gardening shears.
If you’re buying tools like this in person, look for something very good quality. I’ve had frustrating experiences with tools falling apart and wooden handles drying out after a couple of seasons. You’ll be using these tools to aerate soil, dig up weeds, planting seeds and seedlings — so invest in a solid set of tools any guy would envy!
A bucket — nothing fancy!
If you have 5-gallon plastic buckets sitting around, meant for food storage, those are ideal for carrying around your tools as well as holding weeds, seedlings, and who knows what! Since you’ll be lugging it around a lot, find something lightweight with a comfortable handle.
One inexpensive way to double the versatility of this bucket is a tool organizer that carries all your tools on the outside of the bucket, leaving the bucket empty for use. Pretty handy and not too expensive.
Give your body a break!
I keep getting older and older every year! How about you? Nothing cuts a gardening session short quite like physical pain. Bending over to pull weeds, spending a lot of time on your knees weeding/planting — it all takes its toll. Here are a few products that make this a lot easier and will help you spend the amount of time you need out with your precious garden!
- Kneeling pad — Yes! My poor, bony knees really take a beating and just add to my discomfort when I’m bending over my garden beds to plant or weed.
- Knee pads are another good option and have the advantage of being one less thing to carry in your hands or bucket.
- For not much more money than a good set of knee pads is a really handy invention that combines kneeling comfort with a seat. These run about $25-35 or so, and if you get one that is heavy duty and high quality, it will last for years. The one pictured above also has pockets for the tools you use most.
Is there anything I’ve left off this list of must-have gardening gear? What do you rely on to help you get the best gardening results possible?
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