Gear Up for Gardening Season

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Don't spend a fortune on gardening gear and tools. The best garden gear for women can be found here, from a handy compost bin to the right sized gloves and comfortable hand tools. And, if your back and knees ache after a session of weeding and planting, check out my frugal solutions.

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 addition to tools, I always have a plan for improving my garden in one way or another. You can see how I do that in my free, printable Gardening Self-Assessment that you can get here.

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

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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.

Use this composting guide for invaluable information about developing well-balanced compost.

Compost Bin 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.

Get a soil testing kit

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If you haven’t had much success in the past with your garden, you may need to know more about your soil. Even with good compost, it’s good to know if you are dealing with soil that is clay, sandy, or loamy.

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!

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Do you get as confused 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. Each year we like to try our hand at growing something that is new and unusual for us.

The seed catalogs we prefer to purchase from are Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, and Fedco Seeds. I browse through the Burpee website to see what they have to offer, too.

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 and weeks that 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

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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!

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Do you prefer to plant your seeds directly in the ground? Growing in pots or 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 the soil, dig up weeds, and planting seeds and seedlings — so invest in a solid set of tools any guy would envy!

Choose a bucket — nothing fancy!

plastic bucket for gardening, gardening gear, must-haves for gardening, frugal gardeningAre you one of those people that sets their garden tools down and then is always searching for them? If you have 5-gallon plastic buckets sitting around, meant for food storage, you have the answer.

These buskets 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!

garden kneeler and seat, must-haves for gardening, garden gearI 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? And, download this free, printable Gardening Self-Assessment for even more tips and insights to make your next garden your best garden!

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Be sure to check out these related gardening articles from The Survival Mom

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 9 years.

13 thoughts on “Gear Up for Gardening Season”

  1. I really like that kneeling pad….but my lower back would love the garden beds that are raised up a couple of feet off the ground. Best garden tool? Good seeds.

  2. I would have to say a good pruner/cutting tool. Most things can be done without a “tool”, but my hands certainly aren’t strong enough to break things off whether it’s thick vines, sticks, metal support cages, etc.

  3. I have a garden tool that I use for weeding that I just love. I haven’t found one exactly like it and am not sure what it is called but I couldn’t garden without it. It is similar to a Cobra garden tool.

  4. I think a ph test kit is super handy to measure your soil ph before plan your garden. however, I do my soil test at home even without these fancy meters.

    Most of the time I use baking soda and vinegar to measure alkalinity.

  5. Wear kneepads so you get down when ever need to. Don’t bend your back to much and protect your knees. Secateurs always keep with you when in the garden. Keep them sharp and clean then. sun hat and sun cream.

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