Like any occupation or hobby that requires manual labor, be it construction, hunting, or gardening, it’s a known fact that a good tool either makes or breaks the job at hand. Many people opt for quality over quantity, selecting the higher priced tool simply because they know it will last longer and perform better. While we’re certainly not encouraging anyone to break the bank for the absolute most expensive tools out there, gardening is an art form to many, and to have a quality tool is to ensure that the masterpiece is precise, beautiful, productive, worthwhile, and enjoyable!
For this week’s newsletter, we’ve rounded up five gardening tools for your kit that will make chores easy, effective, and maybe even a little bit fun!
- Pruning Shears/Scissors– Pruning shears for the garden are compact enough to fit in a pocket, ergonomically friendly on your hands, and much less cumbersome than most other pruning shears with long handles (Like ones you would use on trees and shrubs). Unfortunately, the brand that was widely used by Grow Appalachia HQ has been discontinued. For a friendlier and hardier alternative, Fiskars Scissors have come quite in handy. To quote David, GA’s director, “I don’t go in a garden without them.” Stainless steel blades make harvesting and pruning a cinch, while the plastic handles can be easily cleaned. Best of all, you can find them just about anywhere and they are very inexpensive.
- Scuffle hoe- GA HQ is a BIG fan of the scuffle hoe! For one, scuffle hoes usually have a longer handle than their chopping counterparts, and the design of the tool results in a back-and-forth push and pull motion as you pull it along the soil, taking with it any weeds, loose plant debris, and weed seedlings that haven’t yet emerged. All of these traits of the scuffle hoe eliminate the physical strain that can sometimes be caused by a traditional chopping hoe. The scuffle hoe design also makes it easy to maneuver around growing plants without accidentally causing them harm. The blade is sleek and sharp, which allows for effortless weed control. Grow Appalachia HQ recommends a 3-4 inch blade for all of your scuffling needs.
- Hori Hori knife- This multi-purpose tool is ideal for cutting away plant debris, weeding, and digging. Its blade is lined on the inside with a ruler so the ability to measure planting depth is right in the palm of your hand. Be warned- the blade is heavily serrated, so take care and wear gloves when using! Chris, our Social Enterprise Manager and high tunnel construction extraordinaire, doesn’t go anywhere without his!
- Wheel hoe- A bit more costly compared to other models of hoes, the wheel hoe is ideal for navigating through longer garden rows and around larger trees and plants. If you find yourself with a larger garden, it may be worth your while to invest in one. Because of the wheel, labor in the garden is greatly reduced, and like the scuffle hoe in item #2, physical strain is greatly reduced as well.
- Trowel- If knives don’t exactly make you comfortable (Hey…it’s ok), then this trowel from Earth Tools is, in their words, indestructible! The stainless steel blade is built tough, corrosion-proof, and durable for even the dirtiest of garden chores. Its rubber handle gives you a firm grip as you weed, dig, or plant, and like the Hori Hori, has measurements on the inside of the handle for easy planting and transplanting.
For any tools that you use, it’s important to make sure they are well taken care of so that you’ll be able to put them to the best use for as long as possible! After a long day working outside, it’s tempting to just throw everything off to the side and call it a day. Before you head inside and cool off, take just a few minutes to clean any soil or plant debris off your tools, and wipe them dry to prevent rusting. Store them where they will be kept dry, like a shed or garage. You can think of it this way: Take care of your tools, and they’ll take care of you! At the very least, they’ll certainly take care of your garden (More information about caring for garden tools can be found in the Resources section).
What is your favorite go-to gardening tool that you just can’t live without: a garden hoe that makes you giddy, a shovel that makes you smile, a knife that never lets you down? Send us some pictures or shoot us an email! We love hearing from folks about what works- and even what doesn’t! Happy gardening!