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Keep It Simple

May 8th, 2013

This is the fourth installment in the 5×5 Garden Challenge Series. Every Wednesday I’ll be posting about the challenge, covering topics that will help all the new gardeners get started. If you haven’t heard about the challenge head on over to the 5×5 Challenge Website, we’ll also be putting up a page here that pulls in all the 5×5 Challenge posts.
5x5 garden challenge
It seems like I’m always seeing advertisements for different gardening products on every website I go to and in every catalog that arrives in my mailbox. When it comes to gardening, I like to keep things simple. You don’t need all the latest and greatest gardening gadgets. Instead of buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need, invest in a good trowel.
I also find a bucket invaluable in the garden. It comes in handy for carrying soil amendments, plants, tools, weeds, and freshly harvested vegetables.
In addition to my trowel and bucket, I also use a watering can all the time. A big one, with a nice big crown that spreads the water far and wide.
watering cans 4
This is pretty much all I ever use in the garden, especially on a day to day basis. If you’re just getting started, don’t spend a lot of money, keep it simple!

What three garden tools would you recommend to a beginning gardener?

13 Comments to “Keep It Simple”
  1. kristin @ going country on May 8, 2013 at 5:32 am

    For us, it’s the strongest shovel available. My husband in particular is notorious for breaking inferior tools, and in our somewhat heavy, stony soil, digging up the garden requires a sturdy shovel.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  2. Joan on May 8, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Perhaps my favorite gardening tool is my broadfork, because it allows me to loosen the soil without turning it over. I wouldn’t recommend this for a beginning gardener though – it works best when the soil is already fairly open. I also use my colinear hoe and my stirrup hoe a lot, and would like to get a nice little handheld colinear hoe so that I can uproot small weeds when I’m kneeling. After those, definitely my trowel – it’s the most versatile tool I have and I use it for many different tasks. Maybe I should just sharpen the side of my trowel, and then I could also use it like a handheld hoe to uproot weeds!

    Reply to Joan's comment

  3. Adelina Anderson on May 8, 2013 at 7:41 am

    What I would love to own is a trowel, a rake, and a good old fashion pitchfork. Unfortunately my other half likes the cool tools in the garden center and comes home with a garden weasel. How am I suppose to turn over the manure and compost with a weasel? I ended up doing the whole thing with a little shovel. Not easy but a great workout.

    Reply to Adelina Anderson's comment

  4. Melissa on May 8, 2013 at 8:35 am

    A good pair of clippers/pruners can usually be found in my pocket most days.

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  5. Donna B. on May 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more!
    I’d rather purchase one GOOD trowel than a handful of useless tools.
    For a simple small garden, I not only say a trowel but a little hand-rake is indispensible for the garden! I use it to lightly scratch the ground to mix in compost but also for assisting me in tilling small areas of grass or pulling up weeds!
    [I’m brutal with my garden tools, and I’m waiting for my cheap hand-me-downs to break so I can buy myself a nice one. Maybe a Cobrahead…]

    Pruners too. Something that can handle 1/4″ inch is probably good for most jobs here and there.

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  6. Lemongrass on May 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

    i do most of my gardenig in raised beds. i use a pair of kitchen scissors, trowel, and a pair of kitchen fork and spoon. for larger jobs, i have a garden fork, rake and cutless…………known in the use as machete.

    Reply to Lemongrass's comment

  7. Canned Quilter on May 8, 2013 at 9:44 am

    My philosophy is the same! Few tools but good ones. A good hoe and trowel can last a lifetime. I’ve had the same hoe for almost 30 years.

    Reply to Canned Quilter's comment

  8. Maybelline on May 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Hoe, trowel, & rake. Of course, there are others but those 3 are a must.
    I’m with you. Keep it simple. Don’t fall for all the gadgets and gizmos.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  9. Kay on May 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    A good hoe, hand trowl, and hand rake. I use those tools all the time. They are invaluable.

    Reply to Kay's comment

  10. The Groundskeeper @ See You In The Garden on May 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    A trowel/spade, something to transport water with, and garden gloves with grips on them. Of course, when I was doing a traditional garden it was hoe, gloves, and hose. Oh how I don’t miss those days.

    I do very little weeding now, in my raised meds. The soil is so loose that I can actually do most of the digging with my hands. It is really when I am working with flowers or in the new beds that I may need a trowel.

    Reply to The Groundskeeper @ See You In The Garden's comment

  11. Gail on May 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I’ve worked with many different types of tools and the one I would recommend most is a garden fork. There’s a specific one that has a 3 foot handle with a D shaped grip on the end. It’s our go to tool for removing sod, turning compost…most everything.

    Reply to Gail's comment

  12. Bonnie Fowler on May 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I have a collection of hand spades, a narrow one that is great for planting bulbs, a large one to scoop soil in pots, and several standard sizes in plastics and metal blades. I have a hand rake for clearing leaves and debris out of my side beds. They tend to collect leaves in the fall. I also use a coiled hose for outdoors and a watering can indoors.

    When I lived in a recently cleared wooded lot I used a machete to keep the brush from taking over. Pruning shears were also important and I still use them on occasion here, 11 years later.

    Reply to Bonnie Fowler's comment

  13. KimH on May 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I say it really depends upon your garden… but I personally wouldnt do without a good strong shovel and my hands down favorite is my stirrup hoe for keeping the beds weed free. I use a conventional hoe to make my furrows and pull soil up or create a hill when needed. Gloves are a MUST these days. I could do without them in my younger years but my old lady hands need gloves these days. I probably have a dozen pair..

    I like gizmos though Kinda like my kitchen appliances.. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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