September and October can be a great time to find good deals on gardening supplies. Maybe you’re already preparing holiday gifts for those favorite gardeners in your life. What should top your list?
Here are a few of our favorite things we can’t imagine gardening without.
- Hori-Hori. Don’t let the name fool you. This Japanese tool is the extremely versatile. It doubles almost daily as a trowel and can be used to mark soil depth. The hori-hori can cut branches and roots and works great on those tough weeds that just won’t budge. It easily cuts twine. The sharp edge can handle tough jobs, and the serrated edge takes out grass handily. Part digging stick, part root pruner, part trowel, a hori-hori is completely worth the investment.
- Standard Trowel This tool is so old it has replaced the digging stick. I prefer a nice sharp pointed one for working in the soil. I save the rounded edge ones for measuring out potting soil and other soft material.
- Broad Fork The broad fork is great for building permanent raised beds with good drainage and aeration. These are relatively expensive for using in the spring and fall, so it can be a good idea to share the tool within a community.
- Weed forks/Wrenches These are great tools to help with those deep-rooted weeds like yellow dock that tend to come back if the root isn’t removed. These tools can save pulled muscles and strains.
- Shovels/Spades These are some of the most versatile tools around. Specialized spades for planting small shrubs and trees can be just the tool you need for the job at hand.
- Gloves Gloves are optional. Some people prefer to have their hands in contact with the plants and soil. Others choose to use gloves. They can help protect your skin from briars, insects and more.
- Knee Rests Knee rests are usually foam pads that gardeners can kneel on. They save wear and tear on pants and make it a bit more comfortable to be on the ground. A small, portable bench for sitting or kneeling feels like a deluxe treat.
- Small Wheelbarrow This small, light wheelbarrow can be used for weeds in or toting around mulch materials and tools. It can save your back and save you time.
- Rain gauge A rain guage is super helpful for monitoring how much precipitation is falling on your garden. I can also help you keep a record of what happens from year to year.
- Clogs These might be listed last, but they keep the outdoors out and take a lot of wear and tear while supporting you in your garden, rain or shine.
Care and Cleaning
Well-maintained tools can last decades. Buy the best quality tools you can afford and spend the time to take care of them. With bladed or metal tools, it’s important to wash off any dirt and debris after each use, dry them well, and store them in a dry place out of the weather. A broad roof overhang works great. Some people take a five gallon bucket and fill it with sand and cheap cooking oil. They use this to store their shovels, spades, trowels, and other metal tools. The sand helps to clean debris off the tools, and the oil helps keep the metal in good condition.
Remember to pull your rain gauges in freezing weather so they don’t crack and break.
With these few tips, you can enjoy putting your garden to rest for the winter and know your tools and garden will be waiting for you in the spring (Unless, of course, you’re gardening through the fall and winter!)