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Never without my tools

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You would like to garden but you do not know where to start? Step one: Get good tools. A visit to the garden center may plunge you into the most total confusion. Do not panic! You do not need all the tools that are selling. Here is a short list of essential materials.

Using long-handled tools can prevent back pain and fatigue.

Gardening gloves

You need several kinds. First, buy light, rubber-coated gloves that are useful for working in moist soil and that allow you to do delicate work such as transplanting and thinning. Also get thick gloves that are essential for pruning, moving rocks, shoveling and performing other demanding tasks without damaging your hands. Choose the right size: gloves that are too small are not comfortable; gloves that are too big will prevent you from handling tools and plants precisely.


It is an essential tool for moving plants, rocks, soil, compost, mulch and weeds. Choose a wheelbarrow as sturdy as your work demands. Some models are two-wheeled: they are easier to handle when the ground is uneven. The most expensive are automatic tumble: they avoid you painful efforts to lay your rock trip to the top of the mound.

Long-handled tools

Here are the essentials: a shovel or spade and a lawn broom. Some gardeners love hoes, especially when they have a vegetable garden. The hoe makes it possible to cut the edges of the flowerbeds straight; the rake is used to level the soil of new flowerbeds or lawn sections that need to be re-seeded.

Hand tools

There are many, but the most useful are the transplant to transplant plants or dig up weeds, the cultivator to loosen the soil surface and the weeder to pull the roots, such as dandelions. Other hand tools are useful, but not absolutely necessary: ​​the dibble for planting bulbs and small plants, the transplanter for annuals and perennials and a small shovel to fill pots and pits with potting soil.

Hand pruners and loppers

They are also called pruners. Often found for right-handed or left-handed people. It is in your interest to choose good quality secateurs with carbon steel blades and an ergonomic profile. Pruning is a demanding job: good blades guarantee good cuts. The pruning shears are suitable for branches not exceeding 0.5 cm in diameter. To prune larger branches, you have to go to the lopper: they are robust shears, able to attack branches not exceeding a diameter of 2.5 cm and usually equipped with a long handle and a mechanism ratchet; they cut clean without requiring too much effort from the gardener.

Pruning saw

When pruning shears and pruners are not enough to cut large branches, we must go to pruning saws. They have a toothed and slightly curved blade that bites into the branch without bending or tearing the wood. Folding pruning saws are compact, easy to store and transport safely because the blade enters the handle, like a knife.

Watering can or watering lance

Even if you want to save water at all costs, you will sooner or later need a garden hose or a watering can, especially to water the plants in tanks and pots and those that you have just put in full Earth. A good watering can should be easy to transport, hold and use. Many are equipped with an apple that is screwed on the beak and turns the water jet into a shower that falls as rain on seedlings and fragile plants. The spray lances are connected to the hoses. They distribute the water according to different shapes of jets and allow to water bins, pots and flowerbeds quickly and smoothly.

Dr. Monika Mathur

Ph.D Yale University

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