A Green Thumb’s Toolbox

I know social media gets a bad rap for a number of reasons, but since becoming a member of the Instagram gardening community I have found myself continuously learning new techniques and becoming aware of more resources and tools than ever before. Not only are there gardeners contributing varying levels of experience but there are cultivators in all different growing environments. There are rooftop container gardeners, homesteaders, nursery owners, commercial farmers and more, all sharing tips and hard earned wisdom with their fellow green thumbs. Knowing full well that my gardening style/situation is only one of many, I thought it would improve the value of this post if I reached out to my fellow Insta gardeners, as well as friends and family, and asked what their most tried and true tools are for tending their gardens. Check out what they had to say…

Ames hoe/cultivator combo

“When going to work in my garden, this hand cultivator is often the only tool I grab. From heavy weeding to lightly turning the soil to planting this tool does the work of many. For $10 from Home Depot you can’t get a more effective or useful tool. It is small enough to work in small spaces but effective enough to be more than useful in a large garden. It is the workhorse of my tool collection.”

Emily Roberts @ournestonnixon

Berger bypass pruning shears

“If I step out into the garden and take only one thing with me, it’s my bypass pruning shears. It’s become a mantra to me, repeated each time I walk out the back door. “wait…grab the pruners, just in case.” There’s always something that could use a snip.”

Peter of @cutaway.garden

Craftsman action hoe — can be found at Lowe’s

“My favorite garden tool by far is the action hoe. It truly makes weeding enjoyable because it’s so fast and easy…my back will be forever thankful to the action hoe!”

Amee Lewis

Korean Homi

“The Homi is my favorite tool because I don’t have to carry several tools to get most jobs done. Homi means ‘little spear’ in Korean. Its curved pointed end makes it easy to dig into soil, plant seeds & seedlings, remove rocks, weed and dig trenches.”

Jennie of @pnwkgga

“When you think of your favorite garden tool, what comes to mind? A trusty hand trowel? Grandpap’s nameless old blue twisty thing that turns over the toughest soil while ripping out unwanted weedy roots? What about a tool that turns over your soil, picks out the nasty little grubs and fertilizes the soil all at the same time? Oh, as a bonus, it also makes you breakfast. My chickens are my absolute favorite tool to utilize in the garden because, well, they do all those things with next to no labor on my part (catching them to put them away is where my work comes in!). Let me tell you, I have never had better soil to plant seedlings in than I have when I let my chickens roam through my garden. Of course, that’s before anything is planted. I don’t recommend doing it afterwards — you may not have anything left to eat yourself!”

Emily of @windypinesfarmette

Standard full width/full length garden hoe

“The hoe is is a most versatile tool that has merit throughout the entire gardening season. Early in the season the hoe can be used to prep garden beds with ease, especially if you’re a minimal till gardener. Come planting time, the hoe makes the final row and bed finishing a breeze! Great for furrowing and hole arrangement. If you don’t like what you see for spacing or arrangement just smooth over with swift shallow movements of the hoe and, ‘start all over again’. Having multiple hoes during the growing season helps with weeding and mulch distribution. I have three hoes that I find most useful. A standard full width/full length hoe for spreading things around. Another full length hoe that has a very reduced blade width that I have rounded with grinder and file to very softly rounded corners with exceptionally sharp edges. And lastly, a short handled hoe (1/2 length) with the same rounded corners that are as sharp as the blade face. This shorter version is nice to use in amongst the plants during the season as space fills in and one is typically working closer to the plants and ground. As with the early season bed prep, end of the season bed clean-up is complimented by the use of a good hoe or two! A sharp bladed hoe makes quick work of cutting the spent plants at or slightly below ground level. The wider bladed hoe again has it’s place, for surface clean-up and leveling or trenching of the bed and for end of season spreading of mulch and organic matter. All in all, it’s hard to beat a good hoe or two as one of the most versatile tools in the shed.”

Lifetime gardener since childhood — SMH

Basic household scissors

Last but not least (not as cool as chickens, but still) my favorite gardening tool. I know what you’re thinking…those are dollar store scissors…but they’re so much more than that in the garden. They cut twine and packaging, they prune, they harvest, they thin (aka clip) excess seedlings, they dig up stubborn weeds, they mark rows and they fit so nicely in just about any storage container. It may seem simple and silly but gardening doesn’t have to be complicated and neither do your tools. Find something that works for you and let it make your gardening process a little easier.

Honorable Mentions:

– Rain barrel & hose
– Composter to minimize household waste and fuel the garden
– Wheelbarrow
– Growoya or other in-ground, low evaporation water reservoir
– Twine for securing, trellising, guiding seed/seedling rows, etc.

– Bees (pollinators & honey makers)

Many thanks to everyone who volunteered to participate in this post, you certainly offered ideas that I would not have considered but am now eager to try. Common attribute — most of the tools mentioned above are multipurpose or have been adapted to play a variety of roles in the garden. Perhaps this is something to keep in mind when shopping for your next gadget. If you have a favorite tool that you’d like to share, feel free to tell us what it is and why you love it in the comments below. Cheers, friends!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s