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9 essential garden tools

Like everything else in life, gardening is easier when you're working with the appropriate tools.

But the tools are expensive. Besides, and which ones do you need?

You don't have to splurge on top of the line tools, but don't buy the flimsy $2 variety, either. They'll break or bend and frustrate you.

Get nice sturdy tools with a comfortable weight and grip. I like the ones with cords or holes in the handles so I can hang them up.

Here are 9 essential garden tools you'll need to get growing.

1.    Essential Garden Tools: A Hand Trowel

Essential garden tools for backyard planting.

That's the little spade. You'll use it for planting, scooping, and digging. It's essential.

You'll want one that's very strong, a good weight, and feels good in your hand because it will be there a lot.

  • Choose a drop shank trowel (one that has a little bend in metal above the handle) for regular work.

2.    Pruners

There are two main types of garden pruners; you'll probably need both.

  • Anvil pruners work by pinching the stem against a flat base. These are better for cutting dry or tough stems or branches. 
  • Bypass pruners cut more like scissors with two blades passing each other. These are better for pruning younger, green stems or branches.
Look for garden-pruners with adjustable blades for stems of varying thickness.

3.    Shovel

You need shovels to dig holes for bigger plants, especially if your ground is hard and compacted. Choose a round point shovel for routine yard work.

4.    Tool Tote

You'll need something to put your garden tools in so you can carry them around the yard with you. 

The tote can be as simple as a plastic bucket, or as elaborate as a rolling gardening cart replete with cushioned seat. 

I like the bucket organizer, and a cloth bib with pockets that fits over a five-gallon bucket. That way, I can toss weeds, etc. in the bucket and have all my tools hanging on the side.

You could also use a plastic caddy, a canvas tool tote bag, a tool belt, or a pocketed apron. Your call - but you will need something.

5.    Garden Hose

If you have an irrigation system, you are in fine shape. But you will still need a hose to water new transplants and potted plants. 

Make sure the hose is long enough to reach all parts of your yard, or consider getting one for the front yard and another for the backyard.

People in apartments or condos can get away with the lightweight hoses; but if you have a yard, consider getting a sturdy, expandable medium or heavyweight garden hose. It is not only more durable but coils more easily.

6.    Garden Gloves

You hate gloves. I hate gloves. But you need to wear them to protect your hands from cuts and blisters. Also, gardening will really dry out your skin.

There are several different types of gloves (of course): Many people like leather gloves, but I find them too clumsy.

I prefer cool cloth gloves with rubberized grips on the palm and fingers. When I'm gardening in wet soil, I wear rubber gloves with a cotton lining.

7.    Kneeling Pad

Anyone who has planted will put a garden kneeling pad on her essential tool list, too! These foam rubber pads will save your knees.

8.    Sun Hat

I never wear a hat. I always mean to wear a hat but I always forget. Suffice it to say that I always have dry, faded hair and a sunburned scalp. Do as I say, not as I do.

9.    Gardening Clogs 

OK, you don't necessarily need clogs, but you do need some waterproof shoes that you can easily slip on and off, so you don't track dirt into your house. Rubber clogs work best for me.

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