Shop To It: The Gardening School Shopping List

Shop To It: The Gardening School Shopping List

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Linda Ly
Apr 25, 2016
(Image credit: Linda Ly)

Gardens and gardeners come in all sizes, shapes, and needs. We may be short or tall, left-handed or right-handed. We may be starting a few planter boxes on the deck or growing entire rows of vegetables in the backyard. Thus, the tools that work for one person may not work for another.

Complicating (or perhaps simplifying?) matters even more are tools that can serve multiple purposes. For example, some people might like a hand hoe for clearing weeds while others use it for creating furrows for bulbs. A weeder is made for pulling up taproots but its narrow head also makes it ideal for dibbling holes for seeds. What can be agreed on is that having the right tools for your particular needs is essential for your sanity and success in the garden.

Use this shopping list as a guide of what might be useful when you hit the ground running. It's best to "try on" tools in person so you can get a feel for what's comfortable in your hand or proportionate to your height.

Suggested Gardening Tools and Supplies

Protection

  • Gardening gloves for sensitive hands or heavy yard work
  • Foam kneeling pad for ground-level work

Hand Tools

  • Hand trowel for digging and planting
  • Cultivator for aerating soil
  • Hand hoe or weeder for removing stubborn weeds
  • Scissors, snips, or pruners for trimming and harvesting plants
  • Garden knife or hori hori for cutting and weeding

Large Tools

  • Garden rake for leveling soil and spreading mulch
  • Spade for digging, transplanting, and edging garden beds
  • Shovel for digging and moving bulk matter
  • Digging fork for turning and loosening the soil
  • Garden hoe for removing weeds and clearing soil

Transport Tools

  • Basket or bucket for harvesting plants and carrying supplies
  • Wheelbarrow or garden cart for moving soil and mulch

Irrigation

  • Watering can for delicate plants, small gardens, or hard-to-reach beds
  • Hose and nozzle for general watering
  • Soaker hose, drip irrigation, or sprinkler for large gardens or automated irrigation systems
(Image credit: Linda Ly)

Container Garden Checklist

Good news for container gardeners: you can get by with very little in terms of tools and supplies. The minimalist might need nothing more than a trowel and a watering can to get started, while the more ambitious gardener may go for various sizes of snips and pruners for trimming all types of plants.

  • Seeds, seedling plugs, or starter plants
  • Containers with drainage holes and any supplemental components, such as saucers, stands, or mounting hardware
  • Potting mix
  • Fertilizer or plant food
  • Mulch
  • Gardening gloves
  • Foam kneeling pad
  • Hand trowel
  • Scissors, snips, or pruners
  • Watering can, hose and nozzle, or drip irrigation
(Image credit: Linda Ly)

Raised Bed Garden Checklist

Once you have your raised bed built, filling and planting it is akin to filling and planting a very large container. You'll need to round out your gardening arsenal with a few more tools for working the soil at the start and end of a season, but at the bare minimum, you should have a spade for digging and planting.

  • Seeds, seedling plugs, or starter plants
  • Raised bed structure
  • Garden soil
  • Fertilizer or plant food
  • Mulch
  • Gardening gloves
  • Foam kneeling pad
  • Hand trowel
  • Hand hoe or weeder
  • Scissors, snips, or pruners
  • Garden rake
  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Watering can, hose and nozzle, soaker hose, or drip irrigation
(Image credit: Linda Ly)

In-Ground Garden Checklist

Preparing an in-ground garden bed is more labor-intensive than starting other types of gardens, but having the right tools at hand will help save your back. Test a few different rakes, spades, shovels, forks, and hoes at the garden center to make sure they work with your height and feel good in your hand.

  • Seeds, seedling plugs, or starter plants
  • Garden soil or compost
  • Fertilizer or plant food
  • Mulch
  • Gardening gloves
  • Foam kneeling pad
  • Hand trowel
  • Cultivator
  • Hand hoe or weeder
  • Scissors, snips, or pruners
  • Garden rake
  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Digging fork
  • Garden hoe
  • Watering can, hose and nozzle, soaker hose, drip irrigation, or sprinkler

Download the printable Gardening School Checklist!

Expert Tip: Invest in quality tools. Great gardening tools are not only efficient and ergonomic, they're workhorses made to last a lifetime. Skip the gimmicks, the trendy colors, and the cheap copies; it's worth it to spend a little more on tools you'll be using often. Most importantly, strive to protect your investment with proper cleaning and storage throughout the year.
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