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Gardening Essentials: 12 Tools for Maintaining a Home Garden

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Apr 24, 2020 • 2 min read

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Ron Finley Teaches Gardening

The right array of tools can make gardening easier and more efficient.



Ron Finley Teaches GardeningRon Finley Teaches Gardening

Community activist and self-taught gardener Ron Finley shows you how to garden in any space, nurture your plants, and grow your own food.

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12 Essential Gardening Tools​

Your hardware store's garden center is filled with garden tools, and it can be hard to determine which ones are truly crucial. Start your collection with the basics and build from there.

  1. Digging shovel: If you only buy one single gardening tool, make it a shovel. A long-handled shovel with a curved blade is great for digging deep into the soil.
  2. Hand trowel: A hand trowel is essentially a one-handed shovel. It's perfect for digging out small areas of your garden bed for new plantings.
  3. Handheld digging fork: Use a digging fork (sometimes called a garden fork) to loosen the soil in your garden. You can also purchase a full-sized digging fork for moving larger chunks of earth.
  4. Soil knife: A soil knife looks like a hand trowel, but its blade is serrated for cutting through roots and hard soil.
  5. Hand pruners: Hand pruners (also known as pruning shears or secateurs) are a scissor-like apparatus with two blades—one sharp and one dull—that allow you to quickly and precisely clip small branches.
  6. Lopper: A lopper is an oversized pair of pruning shears, with long handles and a strong blade. It is great for trimming hedges, lopping off thin tree branches, or shaping unwieldy shrubs.
  7. Garden knife: With one sharp edge and one serrated edge, this versatile tool is useful for cutting roots, digging out weeds, and pruning.
  8. Wheelbarrow: A sturdy wheelbarrow is great for moving soil and mulch or for transplanting large plants from one part of your yard to another.
  9. Garden rake: Use a garden rake to move leaves, grass clippings, and mulch.
  10. Garden hose: Attach a sprinkler to the end of a heavy-duty hose to water plants in your garden. For potted plants and plants in hanging baskets, go with a watering can.
  11. Garden gloves: Gardening gloves keep dirt off your hands, but more importantly, they help prevent cuts (when you’re using a gardening knife or handling thorny plants) and blisters (when you’re using a rake or shovel).
  12. Knee pads: When you work in your flower or vegetable garden, you’ll need to get down on the ground to work the soil. If you're wearing a good pair of knee pads, you’ll be able to kneel more comfortably when you’re weeding and planting.

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Grow your own food with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the MasterClass All-Access Pass and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.

Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
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