Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Got the Right Tool for the Job? Gardening Tools 101 - A Basic Gardening Tool Kit

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Got the Right Tool for the Job? Gardening Tools 101 - A Basic Gardening Tool Kit

Article excerpt

Byline: THE GARDEN BECKONS wellsleyhorticultural@gmail.com

LAST weekend I had reason to delve into my rather random collection of what I call my "fixit tools" when I needed to repair and adjust a few things around the home, such as broken cupboard latches and askew door hinges, only to find that nearly every item I owned was not quite the right tool for the job. I made do, but the tasks took much more time and created a great deal more frustration than if I had owned the correct tool in the first place.

Now I'm absolutely convinced that there'll be many readers who can sympathise with me in that they have also been caught in that situation.

It got me to thinking about the same situation as applied to gardeners, that is, having the right hardware, tools, equipment and gardening products on hand for most situations that may arise when performing what may be described as typical gardening tasks.

So I set about compiling a list of "essential" gardening tools, equipment and products, a sort of a basic gardener's toolkit, that, if on hand, would assist in performing and successfully completing just about any type of gardening situation you may encounter.

Bear in mind the following points to ponder...

I'm only including manual hand tools as part of this list - there won't be enough room to include machinery this time. Any visible brand names in the images are simply examples of what's on the nursery shelves at the moment - it's not an endorsement of their effectiveness. And the list is by no means comprehensive, simply a starting point for novice gardeners and maybe something extra handy for those with green thumbs.

Let's start with digging tools as soil preparation and planting should be the first jobs we tackle in growing plants.

For initial preparation of compacted, uncultivated soil, you'll probably need a mattock or pick and some elbow grease to get the ball rolling. A recent addition to this stable of first response digging tools is "The Prong", a rather innovative locally-designed device which uses leverage to lessen the strain on the digger. Just remember that moist soil is easiest to work.

For soils that are moist and have been cultivated in the past, a quality digging fork is a necessity for turning and breaking up larger clods (you'll snap a digging fork if you try to cultivate compacted, dry soil). There are many on the market, including some rather sturdy lightweight models. I like the ones with the flat tines personally!

Once the soil has been broken up, it can be moulded or levelled using a steel rake, which is also handy for breaking up those larger clods you missed with the digging fork.

A sharp spade is also a useful tool to have handy, as it can be used for turning moist soil, defining edges of garden beds, and, of course, digging planting holes for larger plants. …

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