Tools Every Gardener Needs And How To Use Them

By: Rick Skuw


Shears
These are primarily made for trimming hedges, but they may also be used for cutting small awkward areas of grass around trees, etc. and even for pruning. They should be comfortable #to use# without being too heavy.

Strimmers
These are very useful for very long grass, one example is, meadow areas or around hedges and trees where a mower is awkward to use. They are powered by petrol or electricity; although #the electric# ones are much lighter, the length #of the# cable is restrictive.

Edgers
When you want your lawn to look neat and tidy where it meets paths and flowerbeds, you will require some sort of edging tool. Long-handled shears are useful for cutting grass which overhangs #the edge# of your lawn, and cutters with blades at right angles #to the# handles will trim the grass near the edges. A half-moon cutter will tidy the lawn which enables it to be useful to reshape it.

Rakes
A handy general purpose rake will likely be about 30 cm/12 in wide with 12 metal teeth, either flattened or circular, like large nails. This can be used to collect up stones #from the# surface and to #break up# lumps of soil. #If you# then turn the rake over, it can serve to level the soil.

A spring-tined or wire rake #has a# curved head #and is# mostly used on lawns, either #to collect# leaves or to scratch out moss. The teeth or tines are much finer than on other rakes #and will# not damage the grass so much.

Besom or brush
A besom is one #of the# greatest tools #to use# for sweeping up leaves #and is# simply a group of twigs tied to a larger stick to create a standard witch's broomstick.

Wheelbarrow
As with many tools, whether or not you need a wheelbarrow will depend #on the# size of the garden. Most wheelbarrows have one wheel #at the# front and two metal legs #at the# back. Plastic wheelbarrows are lighter to use but not as strong as metal ones. Galvanized metal #is probably# the preferred material for general use, but you should watch for rust and treat it the moment it appears. #If you# have to push the barrow over the lawn or soft ground repeatedly, it might be worth buying a ball wheelbarrow or one with an inflatable tyre as this will not sink into the earth so much.

Hoe
#There are# many types of hoe, but the good all-rounder #is called a# Dutch hoe. This is ideal for weeding in between plants and even seedlings. By pushing the blade parallel #to the# soil and just under #the surface#, the blade will #cut off# any weeds and avoid disrupting the soil too much.

The swan-necked or draw hoe features a curved neck #and is# used with an up and down movement. It will chop out weeds #and can# be used for breaking soil and drawing seed drills.

Short-handled hoes #are also# available and are useful in restricted areas.

Mattock
#This is# like #a small# pickaxe, #with a# sharp, pointed front #and a# wider chisel-shaped end. #It is# useful for breaking apart stony ground.

Bulb planter
#This is# a useful tool because it makes a neater hole than a trowel. However, #it will# only work in medium to heavy soils as sandy soils do not hold together. Bulb planters also do not work well in stony soils.

Sieve
Sieves are useful for removing stones from seedbeds and for scattering a fine layer of compost over seeds.

Equipment for seed growing
#For this# you will need seed trays or plugs, flowerpots, a dibber for making holes and a widger for moving seedlings (#the last# two can really be improvised #by using# a pencil and a lolly stick). You #will also# need a water-resistant marker and labels.

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