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  • Starting a garden is always exciting and you get out of it, what you put into it. As a first time gardener, everything is new, and the experience can become a little overwhelming. You have to figure out what you want to grow, where you want to grow it, and how to make it all happen, but the energy you put it is well worth in the end and can give you much joy for many years to come.

    Gardening is not as simple as putting some seeds in the ground and letting nature take its course. It takes a little effort and you need the right tools as a beginner to get going. And guess what you don't have to break the bank to begin. 

    This following guide will break down the 10 most essential gardening tools for beginners. They are all tried and tested basic tools, with some having multiple uses for use in your yard.

    Gardening Gloves

    When thinking about tools for beginners, gloves are something you might not think of, but they are one of the most important accessories for working in the yard. Ideally, they protect your hands, wrists, and arms from the scratches, dirt, and callouses, common with gardening tasks.

    The kind of gloves you go for should depend on the kind of work you intend to do. For instance, if you see yourself dealing with lots of thorny plants, then long rose garden gloves to protect you against scratches are recommended. For heavy duties that’s tough on your hands, your best bet is leather gloves. If you only intend to work with soft soil and tend to a small vegetable patch, there are many lightweight and affordable gloves to choose from.

    As a newbie, If it’s a concern to you, there are some touch-screen compatible gloves in the market to help you stay connected while you work on your garden.

    Water Hose

    Of course, your plants will die without water. It also never seems to rain when you need it, and your best bet is having a hose pipe for hand watering. While you can water your back yard with a watering can or a bucket, it takes way too long, especially for the larger yards.

    A garden hose ideally makes it easy to water your lawn, flower beds, etc. Go for a hose that’s long enough to reach all the corners of your yard from your spigot. It should also be durable enough, and if weight is a concern to you, you can forgo the traditional rubber one for a lightweight and expandable one, such as the pocket hose.

    Watering Cans

    If you’re more of a container gardener, using watering cans might be a lot more convenient than a water hose. Regardless, watering cans come in handy when watering your plants on pots, window boxes, etc. They can also be used as portable water source for refilling your small hand sprayers, and rinsing an area you’ve cleaned, like garden seating or concrete.

    Tips:

    1. Ensure the position of the handle allows you to carry a full can easily and tip it over when needed.
    2. Plastic cans are a lot lighter than metal, though they won’t last as long.
    3. You may need two of them – a large one for the outdoor plants and a smaller (ideally long-necked) for your house-plants.

    Spade

    A spade is a critical tool for digging holes to planting trees, large flowers, and shrubs. It can also be used for hoeing weeds, though it’s much heavier compared to a hoe, which is the ideal tool for the job. You can also use the spade for shovelling small quantities of material and edging flowerbeds. They can also be used for tasks like chopping the small roots of trees before you dig them up.

    Tips:

    1. Ash hardwood handles are usually better at absorbing shock and vibration, and are quite durable.
    2. Treads on the top part of the blade offer a more comfortable and sturdier foot surface when you need an extra push.
    3. Stainless steel heads are much stronger than most materials and won’t rust.

    Knife

    During your gardening, you’ll often need a small knife for cutting sticks, string, flowers, as well as trimming vegetable, flower, and fruit, along with many other functions. For example, a hori-hori knife can be used to dig holes for planting, transplanting, weeding and loosening soil, etc. It’s generally good habit to bring one in your garden trug or pocket but be careful how you handle it and where you take it too.

    Shears

    This is one of the must-have tools if you have shrubs, hedges, or trees around your front or back yard. Shears can also be used for trimming grass along pavements, edges of flower beds, curbs, and around shrubs and trees. There are a few types of shears, including

    1. Pruning shears which as the name suggests, are ideal for pruning and harvesting delicate plants like herbs.
    2. Anvil-style shears are best for dead wood, and can damage green, fresh stems and branches.
    3. Bypass pruners are best for green woods and live plants.

    Ideally, for general purpose shears, you should go for steel sheers, which can cut branches of up to 5/8 inch thick. Ensure that they fit easily in the palm of your hands, and have them sharpened regularly for cleaner cuts and preventing injury to plants.

    Hand Cultivator

    Hand rakes/cultivators comes in a couple of different styles, based on the kind of tasks you’re doing. If you’d rather have an all-in-one tool, look for the 3-pronged cultivator with sturdy tines. You can use it to spread mulch and clear leaves around the garden,

    A good cultivator is also great when it comes to turning the soil, breaking up dirt, and mixing in compost. Hand rakes are also the perfect tool when digging weeds out in small spaces between the plants. Although you’ll typically need a bigger tool when working on a large landscaping area, a hand cultivator is great for flowerbeds and container gardens.

    Hoe

    The kind of area you have and its size will determine what type of hoe is ideal for you. If you have a vegetable plot, for instance, it may require a sturdier, wide hoe. A perennial garden, on the other hand, will most likely require more delicate touch, and therefore a thinner hoe.

    Hoes are generally used for prepping the flowerbeds etc, as well as cutting down weeds. Flat hoes are ideal for turning the soil in rows in vegetable patches, while stirrup hoes or hulas are commonly used to break new ground and cut down top growth.

    In general, look for one with a comfortable handle and a long reach, and a sharp blade as it’s easier to use.

    Fork

    A fork is typically used to dig, loosen soil, and lift vegetation. They are usually available in two: digging forks and lifting forks. Digging forks can be used when digging into soil containing hardened surface, stones, roots, etc. as in such a situation, using a spade would be a lot more difficult.

    A lifting fork is often used for lifting long grass, hedge clippings, weeds, etc. when transferring them to and from a wheelbarrow or heap. It’s also easier to rake bulky material using a lifting fork, as it would be difficult to do so with a rake.

    Wheelbarrow

    A wheelbarrow is necessary for one simple reason – shifting large amounts of material around. You can use a wheelbarrow for moving large quantities of gravel, soil, compost, hedge clippings, etc. from point A to B.

    The good thing about wheelbarrows is that they are available in both small and large capacities. You can also easily find plastic-body wheelbarrows that won’t rust, though that would mean you can’t carry stuff like rocks on it. Your best bet is to go for a durable one. Be sure to check the underside supports of the body often, since this is a major weak point for wheelbarrows.

    So there you have it. As a newcomer to the gardening world this list will give you some idea of what you need to get started and soon being to move on to more advanced or specialist type tools for different types of landscape gardening.

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