You’re watching TV and you see Jamie Oliver harvesting veggies in a picture-perfect, lush green garden. Struck with inspiration, you turn to the Internet for horticultural guidance before you can rush off to the nursery. Voila! Keep those green fingers scrolling for a list of must-have gardening accouterments.
Gloves are not an essential for everybody, but they sure are for us. ‘Getting your hands dirty’ and ‘feeling the earth between your fingers’ are all good and well but you can be a keen bean and connect with nature while still protecting yourself from all things itchy, prickly, and creepy-crawly.
A pair of flexible nitrile-coated gloves will enable you to do intricate jobs such as working with seeds. They’re perfect for summer as they keep hands cool and are also cost-effective, machine-washable and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction like latex can.
If the city you live in gets quite cold in winter, it might be a good idea to purchase a second pair of lined, waterproof gloves to keep your hands cosy on those chilly days. Remember to keep gloves dry between uses to prevent any funky smells.
In much the same way that sharp knives in the kitchen make cooking tasks so much quicker and less dangerous, sharp pruners (also known as secateurs) can make clipping, trimming and harvesting easier, more enjoyable, and safer. Pruning shears are basically scissors that are made for the hardier challenges a garden presents.
They can cut through thick plants and some branches if necessary. The trick here is to buy high-quality pruners with parts that are replaceable should the need arise. Better quality secateurs will last a lifetime.
A hand tool that most gardeners can’t go without, even if they don’t know what it’s called. Trowels are used for moving small amounts of soil, digging little holes and transplanting. They should be comfortable to hold with a handle that is firmly attached to the metal blade. Try to find one with measurements on the side indicating planting depth.
If you’re about to start gardening for the first time, a shovel is likely one of the tools you imagine you’ll need from the get-go. It’s also the one tool you’ve probably used before, albeit in miniature form if you ever took a trip to the beach as a child and delighted in building sandcastles with a bucket and spade.
Shovels are great for digging bigger holes, moving soil and breaking up the earth on Arbor Day and beyond. When choosing a shovel, chat to an expert at your local garden centre who can advise you on the type you’ll need for the soil in your garden.
There are specialized shovels for rocky soil or heavy clay, for example. If you decide on a traditional spade, you can’t go wrong with a stainless steel one which won’t rust as easily. As with most other tools, ensure that the one you pick is appropriate for your body type.
Rakes are great for light weeding, loosening soil and smoothing out a patch of ground before planting. They’re also commonly used as a sort of outdoor broom for clearing up fallen leaves and grass-cuttings, but if you want to level up when performing this particular task, leaf blowers work like a dream.
If your garden consists of small, separate green spaces, then a watering can is what you need. Watering cans allow for good control over water flow. Get one with a detachable sprinkler head, otherwise known as a rose, for watering delicate plants. If, however, your garden is sizeable, you’ll want to avoid the tiresome chore of carting a heavy watering can up and down.
This is where a good ol’ hose pipe comes in. Most hoses come with an adjustable shower setting better suited to tasks requiring low water pressure. Again, quality is key. Look for a hose with a lifetime guarantee. Special mention—if your garden is big enough to need a hose pipe, there’s a good chance you’ll need a wheelbarrow too, to haul plants, tools and soil-enriching material. Keep this in mind when you’re budgeting.
The above-mentioned assortment of tools should help you to get cracking and weed-whacking. They will also prevent you from enthusiastically sinking money into your newfound passion before you’ve wrapped your head around what you and your garden really need. You can always add to your collection later on. Happy gardening!