The first set of tools I suggested are all useful for any gardener. But I’m a practical organic gardener so I love the fact that most of them are found, free or inexpensive.
This set of tools are nice to have and will make your life a bit easier but you don’t need them to be an organic gardener. If you’re new to the hobby, you might not want to invest in anything but the necessities until you know if you like gardening.
If you try gardening and like it, you can start looking over this list and pick out the tools you think you would like to add to your collection.
Tools That Are Nice To Have
Here’s my list of “nice to haves” for organic gardeners:
- A kneeling pad – you can make one of these or buy one. I’ve had my small green one for more than 15 years and it really, really saves your knees!
- Gloves – I consider these nice to have because you really can dig in the dirt, bare-handed, and suffer no ill effects. In fact, I don’t use gloves because I love the feel of soil in my hands.
- Two hand tools – both of mine are Fiskars because of the grip, the design and the lifetime guarantee. The first tool is the “Fiskars 7079 Big Grip Garden Knife. The second tool is the Fiskars 7073 Big Grip Trowel.
- A pitch fork – used to move the straw back from the fence sections a couple of weeks before planting so the soil can warm a bit. Also handy when digging up potatoes or garlic or spreading mulch.
- A watering can – very nice to have if you want to hand-water fresh transplants or apply liquid fertilizer.
- Peat pots – I use 2” and 4” peat pots and hate paying the price for them. But they make transplanting easier for me and less stressful for the baby plants so I pay. Tip: I try to get them online rather than in a big box store where the price is always higher.
- A sharp knife or pair of scissors nicked from the kitchen – nice to have on hand to cut baling twine and great for cutting off produce rather than trying to pull it off. Having lost several battles with eggplant and peppers, I tend to keep a sharp knife in my garden basket and use it with malice aforethought.
Bonus Tools You Can Use
Here’s are a few more items I’ve learned to keep on hand or invest in. They all help to make my gardening go a little easier:
- A good bug book – this could be one of your larger expenses but, believe me, you will be grateful for putting out the cash. Why? There are a whole lot of good bugs in the garden that will do battle with the bad ones without you lifting a finger. But, if you don’t know the good from the bad, you could be killing your soldiers and giving the enemy a chance to overrun the battlefield, i.e. your garden. I bought Garden Insects of North America by Whitney Crenshaw and the up close images of bugs help me identify what I’m battling.
- Soaker hoses – using soaker hoses saves water but they can also slow down or stop soil-born diseases that are spread by spraying and bouncing water on plants. And I found and use what I think are the best soaker hoses in the world just last year – the Gilmour Flat Soaker hose.
- A small propane torch – the handheld kind – I use this to burn tent caterpillars off my fruit trees. It’s a bit brutal but it burns the nest and the caterpillars before they can strip my trees. Oh, and you can use it to burn out poison ivy, too.
- Raised beds – I make mine with 2 x 12′s (NOT pressure treated) and plastic anchor joints from Home Depot.
- A good pair of secateurs like Felco F-2 Classic Manual Hand Pruner. These hand held clippers can cut through a 1” branch like it was butter. They let you trim inside the plant, bush or tree instead of hacking off the outer foliage or branches.
These lists contain all tools I consider nice to have if you want to move beyond dabbling in organic and decide to grow most of your produce every spring, summer and fall.
Tell me about your favorite gardening tools and why you like them!
Next week, how to handle being bugged without using pesticides.