The Gardening Guru’s Best Garden Tools

Although gardening doesn’t need a lot of fancy equipment, having some proper tools can make all the difference in the making the job easier and more efficient. I have listed some of the best garden tools that I have invested in over the years.

For watering chores I use the following:

I use an oscillating fan sprinkler in my large perennial beds, vegetable garden and to water my rows of trees. For my woodland garden, a rotating wand sprinkler on top of a 36 inch spike allows for an even distribution of water under tree cover. This sprinkler has a wide swath and a good even watering pattern that directs the water to the ground under the trees not into the tree branches. Other models that I tried just didn’t work in this situation.

In addition to a good sprinkler, I have some other hose attachments for doing watering and other chores. I have two different nozzle head attachments, one with a fan sprinkler nozzle and one with a nozzle that has six spray style and intensity options. I use the multi-spray option for washing items and filling watering cans etc. but the fan spray nozzle has been an excellent investment for watering the large planters. You can adjust the intensity of the water to suit the type of watering need. This nozzle has also worked great for leaving at the base of a newly planted tree turned on low so the water seeps slowly into the soil.

In addition to these nozzles I have paid the extra money to invest in rubber heavy duty garden hose. I have two sets of hoses one sixty-five metres and the other fifty metres all in heavy-duty rubber. Although it may seem expensive, rubber hose is worth the investment as it wears better than vinyl hose and can withstand the elements better. I still have one of our original hoses that is twenty-four years old and is exposed to full sun all day – well worth the investment. Another tip is when you have long sections of hose a heavy-duty hose reel is a must have to make the job of rerolling the hose easier and a great way of storing all of that hose in a compact format.

Another great investment for about twenty dollars, is a water timer. I now have one on each tap and use them every time I water. This way you know how long you have watered and you can turn it on and leave the house as it turns the water off when the time is up. This has been a great investment for me. I just bought the inexpensive dial model and so far after four seasons of intense watering there have been no problems.

One other great tip to think of if you are building a new house of having some plumbing work done is to install a front and rear outdoor tap. This is a fantastic bonus for a gardener as it makes the watering chores so much easier. For an avid gardener this has been a major bonus that came with my house in Thunder Bay.

For weeding chores I use the following:

I used to have many gardening tools but I have reduced my stock down to just a few specialty items. For weeding I use a narrow (approx 1.5 inch) hand trowel. This tool is ideal for pushing into the soil alongside a weed in order to pry up the root and loosen the soil. This has been my favourite weeding tool since I started gardening but they can be very hard to find and recently I found a heavy duty version at Lee Valley Tools. My other two “go-to” tools are high quality bypass pruners for trimming plants and branches and a Korean Ho-Mi digger which is triangular-shaped hand trowel purchased from Lee Valley Tools over twenty years ago. This trowel-like tool digs down under the roots of the weeds for easy pulling and also loosens the soil.

Vinegar is my go to herbicide for weeds in the cracks of paving or patio stones. Vinegar is an acid so when sprayed on weeds it burns them and they die. Vinegar will kill any plant it is sprayed on so I only use is on walkways and driveways. Just spray directly on the weeds in full strength. Apply when there will be a few days without rain in the forecast. The benefits of vinegar include, that it does have a lasting effect that prevents weeds from coming back for some time, it is very economical and effective, it doesn’t harm the hardscape material and it is safe for pets, children and wildlife.

Some other great garden tools that have proven their worth in my garden:

My planting shovel has literally been used to plant hundreds of pants over the twenty-five years that I have owned it. This is my “go-to” shovel for digging holes to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. This is the same type of shovel that tree planters use on the job. A planting shovel has a long narrow blade approximately eighteen centimetres wide and thirty centimetres long. Mine has a handle about one metre long with a D-shaped handle. I also use this shovel for prying rocks out of the soil, digging up perennials for relocation and for cutting perennials apart when dividing. When taken care of this shovel will last a lifetime and pay for itself in service many times over. I use this shovel more than any other one, in our collection.

A yard/garden cart I have wheeled plastic yard/garden cart that I originally purchased from a yard sale about twenty-five years ago. I use this cart endlessly especially when weeding but ours has transported landscaping rock, sod and soil over the years. We use ours so much that I recently purchased a second one at a yard sale. Don’t get me wrong I would pay full price for one from a store because it is a very valuable tool for us but it is nice to put one to use that someone else doesn’t use. I have since added two more to the collection due to the large amount of organic waste that I have. There is always at least one full cart waiting to go to the compost pile.

Our steel garden wagon is used a great deal in our garden and has been a valuable tool for us while working our property in both Fort Frances and Thunder Bay. I recommend a garden wagon for the gardener that has a larger property with many gardens or is just beginning a landscape/hardscape project. Our garden wagon has carried hundreds of pounds of rocks, landscaping bricks, bark mulch, bags of soil and manure, trees, shrubs and perennials to their installation site. For a gardener with endless heavy duty jobs this is a great investment. And I can attest that the steel wagons are heavy duty after the years of rigorous work we have put our through. Again, another investment piece that stands the test of time, with ours being at least twenty-three years old and still doing its job.

Scraps of carpet come in handy for the garden as I have mentioned using them as a mulch product in the pathways of the vegetable garden. I also use a carpet scrap as a mat to sit on while weeding and doing other gardening jobs, including laying landscaping stone. I prefer the carpet to other products available like kneeling pads.

I have shared my best and favourite garden tools with you so you can add these to your collection and since I have tested them over the long term you know that they will work for you too. It is not about buying every gardening tool and gadget out there, I just purchase what will get the job done quickly and efficiently and wanted to share my finds with you.