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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

Tools of the Trade

You don’t need a lot of fancy tools to start gardening, so don’t be tempted by everything you see at the nursery or online. Buy the basics then see what works for you. In this post I'll share a few essential tools I can recommend for home gardeners.

Trowel - Buy it in person so you know it feels comfortable in your hand

Shovel - Make sure you can use it - too big or too heavy means it's not for you

Felco bypass pruners - Buy the best, even if they're more expensive

Flower clippers - These little snips aren't expensive

Colinear hoe - Get the Elliot Coleman type, available online from Johnny's Seeds

Hand weeder - Also available from Johnny's

Kneeling pad - Your local nursery has these

Hose and sprayer - I like the retracting Pocket hose and a wand sprayer attachment

Watering can - Get a good galvanized one that will last, 2-3 gallon size

Gloves - I order a dozen at a time from Uline, I like Showa Atlas 370, nitrile, washable

Bucket or trug - I use a Home Depot bucket to carry everything around in

Clockwise from top left: Showa gloves, hand weeder, flower snips, Felco pruners

About "bucket or trug," you can go fancy or plain, but I recommend having something to put your tools in so you don't leave them all around the garden and have to go hunting for them later. Or maybe that only happens to me ( ; .

About the colinear hoe - maybe you've never heard of this tool, but it's so much more efficient than hand weeding. Just between you and me, I’m getting too old to spend hours on the ground weeding. I try to stay standing for most flower farming chores, and my knees thank me for it. But the fact that I have a kneeling pad on my list tells you that I can’t do everything standing up. Setting out transplants, for example, has to be done on the ground, so I have to have this little piece of foam to cushion my knees and lower legs. And my last comment is that if you mulch your garden regularly, you'll cut down on weeds - you'll use flower snips more than the hoe and hand weeder.

When Don and I started Tiny Footprint Flowers we found other things that were needed to make us efficient in growing cut flowers, but that's a story for another day.

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