What are the basic gardening tools
Since the garden is currently in the process of coming to life, and we still have "work" to do, it might be a good idea to take a look at some basic gardening tools for vegetable growing. We have a wide range of options for almost any job, but the ones you really can't live without are short and in my opinion they are as follows: a handful

good shovel

A trowel will be your first tool for planting, harvesting, and weeding, so it makes sense to buy the best tool you can afford. Options are steel, stainless steel, or copper, with prices increasing as you browse the list. Your trowel will be your best friend, so a comfortable tool is important (I prefer a wooden handle) and a good blade design (I find dirt annoyingly sticking to blades that are too curved). The best trowel is the beautiful PKS brass tool pictured above, but it's so expensive that we sell it, but I only got up the courage to pinch one from the pantry this year (don't tell Niall). But after using it, it is absolutely perfect. Copper trowels will not rust and are made from a single piece of metal so they won't

Knee pads or knee pads.

Unless you have titanium knees, I highly recommend protecting them, as you'll be spending a lot of time in them, and comfort can often be the difference between a pleasurable task and a drudgery. Everyone has their own, Niall prefers knee pads and I use knee pads, either way protects your knees, especially if you're a bit squeaky like us.

weeding and digging hoes

I'm not sure what the criteria are for getting hoe status, but we have a lot of very different tools in this category, including digging hoes and weeding hoes. If you're a regular reader, you know that I've found the oscillating weeding tool to be the best weeding tool because it's sharp, accurate, and probably the easiest and most comfortable to use once you get the hang of it. Comfort is important if you have a garden of any size, especially one that glides easily across the ground.

A digging hoe refers to a tool like the Canterbury fork hoe above, with the blade at right angles to the axis. The advantage of this design is that the angled blade provides leverage; the working action is to "throw" the blade into the ground, sort of like with an axe, pushing the handle forward to break through the ground. These tools are mostly used for clearing the ground (there's nothing better than that), but I use the lighter fork hoe on top for weeding and it's very effective at removing deep rooted perennial weeds.

Another dual-purpose digging hoe is the trench digging hoe above, which is used to make flower pots for sowing. I guess this is better suited for larger gardens, but it's still a very versatile tool as it can also be used for digging, great for weeding paths, both sliding over gravel and digging out stubborn roots with the pointed tip .

For heavy-duty cleanups, I would use a large blade digging hoe like the one shown at the top of this tool.

manure fork

The difference between a manure fork and a digging fork is that the manure fork has very sharp, well-spaced curves, while the digging fork is stronger and more compact. This makes a huge difference when loading or spreading bulk materials such as seaweed, manure or compost, as the large sharp teeth slide easily into the pile when lifting and slide off without jamming when spreading. Anyone familiar with this difference will know what I mean.

According to previous emails, large pieces of organic matter of various types should be the cornerstone of your garden, so if you don't need a manure fork, you're not gardening properly ;) A sharpened


While you'd better minimize digging, a sharp shovel is handy for chopping up plant material before adding to the compost pile (it will cause it to break down faster) and keep grass edges etc... neat. If you don't use your shovel very often, it's best to use a stainless steel blade, as rusted steel blades are rough and can cause dirt to stick to them. However, steel blades are stronger and will stay shiny with regular use, so your choice will depend on your gardening style.

pruning machine

Again, this depends on the size of your garden and whether you like growing fruit, but a good pruning machine is also worth buying. Inexpensive is good for basic jobs around the vegetable garden, like cleaning spent pea and bean vines or chopping straw for compost, but for pruning fruit bushes or roses, a proper cut is cleaner and easier on hands and wrists. I've covered them before this year, but my favorite is the very sharp Japanese steel ARS series.