Whether you’re new to the gardening game or an old hand, here are seven gardening tools no green thumb can live without. For the balcony gardeners among us, a pair of secateurs, a hand fork and a trowel will do just fine.
Secateurs. Clippers. Pruning shears. Whatever you like to call them, this is a tool no gardener can live without. Rather than awkwardly hacking at your plants and damaging their tissue, a sharp pair of secateurs will give your plants a smooth, even cut, whether you’re pruning dead wood, tipping or giving your plant a haircut. Tip: wipe blades clean with antiseptic to avoid spreading disease.
2. Digging fork or hand fork
Like a table fork is essential for eating, a digging fork is essential for gardening. It’s the tool to help you follow the golden rules of planting, including aerating and turning your soil and mixing in nutrients like manure and compost. It’s also useful for gently harvesting root vegies. Plus, the flat-faced tines make light work of lifting. For the balcony gardener, a hand fork (pictured) is perfect.
3. Hard rake
Distinguished by its long handle and thick metal prongs, a hard rake is a lifesaver when it comes to moving and spreading gravel, scraping out large rocks, levelling out soil and raking an even v-channel for planting seeds.
With a curved, scoop-like blade, this small tool is perfect for planting or moving small plants. It’s also handy for weeding, dividing plants and digging out small holes and rocks (without damaging nearby roots). Some trowels have a helpful measuring guide on the blade so you know just how deep you’re digging when planting.
Unlike a spade, a shovel is scooped with a pointed tip, which makes it better at cutting into hard ground and other tough stuff like roots. The forward angle of the shovel blade also makes it better at digging than a spade. Digging shovel pictured.
I already have a shovel we hear you say! While a shovel is great for digging, breaking up and turning soil, a spade - with its flat blade and straight edge - can slice through soil and roots to divide or move plants. Digging spade pictured.
Meet the hardest working tool in your garden. Moving loads of soil, compost, fertiliser, gravel or rocks is backbreaking work. A wheelbarrow will help you easily scoot bulky materials from one end of your garden to the other and save you time, effort and injury.