If you've ever walked down the garden section of The Home Depot and were amazed at the amount of garden tools you're not alone. For such a simple pastime, gardening has become increasingly complex in recent decades. From small, gas-powered cultivators to electric grass shears, the tranquil art of gardening has been commercialized with all of the latest technology.
If you're just keeping a small flower or vegetable garden, there's no need for all the gadgetry. Our ancestors made due for thousands of years with simple tools. Here are the five utilitarian tools that will prove useful in your garden today.
1. The Spade
Let's start with the basics. Every gardener needs a spade. You'll use them when the ice melts to till the soil, you'll use it in early spring to dig holes for your plants, and you'll reach for it in the fall when you're cleaning up after the harvest. A good long-handled spade will last years, require zero maintenance if you keep it out of the rain, and help you multitask in the garden.
2. The Trowel
Like its big brother, the spade, the trowel is also going to help with tasks like digging and mixing soil. But a trowel's small size allows you to work up-close with the delicate plants in your garden. The trowel helps you shape the rows and sculpt the finer details of your garden.
3. The Rake
There are rakes for every purpose. But for our purposes you can get away with having two for your garden: one leaf rake and either a hand or bow rake. If you're the type to kneel down in the dirt and work closely with your plants and soil, go with the hand rake. If you don't want to do a lot of bending and kneeling a long-handled bow rake is your best bet.
Once you've tilled the soil in your garden with a spade, you'll want to rake it even and break up large clumps of dirt with the bow rake. Then throughout the season you can use the leaf rake to clean up debris from plants, nearby trees, and so on.
4. The Shears
Gardening isn't just a matter of putting plants in the ground and watching them grow. For a garden to flourish you'll need to take care of your plants, pruning dead leafs. Some gardeners even prune the first buds of certain vegetable plants to allow the plants more time to grow before they start devoting resources to producing fruit.
Good garden shears must be taken care of. Clean them after use, oil the pivot area, and sharpen them once per year to keep them in good working condition.
5. The Watering Can
All would be for naught if it weren't for the watering can. It may seem like an item you don't need to put much thought into. But there are certain things you should look for in a watering can.
Firstly, the can should strain water into small streams when you pour it out. This allows you to cover the soil evenly and to avoid dumping a heavy stream of water onto delicate plants.
You should also be sure to pick a can that's both big and sturdy. Know your limits; if you don't think you're up to carrying 3-5 gallons of water for prolonged periods go with something smaller and elect to take more trips to the tap.
These five time-tested tools are all you need to keep a healthy garden.