Every gardener should have a few pair of affordable nitrile-coated gloves. Nitrile offers excellent dexterity (you can even pick up seeds), and knit backs to keep hands cool, plus they're machine washable. Nitriles aren't warm enough for cold-weather gardening, though, so you may also want to invest in a sturdy pair of lined waterproof work gloves.
Sharp pruners are necessary for chores like clipping stems and harvesting vegetables. It's one tool you'll reach for again and again. In fact, many gardeners wear them on their belts to keep them close at hand. Invest in quality pruners that will last a lifetime. (A clue you're buying quality is that replacement parts are available.)
You'll want a trowel to make digging small holes a cinch. Look for a handle that fits your hand comfortably, and a high quality construction that features seamless metal solidly joined to the handle.
Premium Quality Soil
The success of any garden hinges on quality soil. When you're growing in containers, choose a premium mix that provides a rich, well-drained base, such as Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix. Improve existing in-ground soil by mixing 3 inches of Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil into the top 6 to 8 inches of your existing soil. This will help increase fertility and drainage, two secrets to healthy plants.
Select a watering can with a detachable "rose" (sprinkler head) and a large opening for filling up. You'll also want a high-quality hose (look for one with a lifetime replacement guarantee) and adjustable hose nozzle (with a gentle "shower" setting) with an ergonomic grip.
Like us, plants need food to thrive. Take care of feeding at watering at the same time by using the Miracle-Gro® Liquafeed® Universal Feeder. (Follow label directions to learn how much and how often to apply.)
For a vegetable garden, you may want a traditional spade to help turn soil. Don't overlook specialized shovels, like a sharpshooter spading shovel (with a narrow blade for working in established beds and rocky soil) or a Kombi shovel (with a toothed blade ideal for digging in heavy clay) if your garden calls for it. As with any long-handled tool, make sure it is the right heaviness and height for your body type. If you're doing raised bed gardening, choose smaller, short handle versions of shovels and other long-handled garden tools.
Also known as a digging fork, this handy tool is what you grab for turning soil in new or existing beds, including breaking up clods and sifting out stones. It's also a great garden tool for turning compost. In raised beds, use a digging fork to loosen and aerate soil prior to planting.
Rake & Hoe
In large vegetable gardens, a standard bow rake comes in handy for working soil and smoothing out beds prior to planting. A hoe is a go-to tool for weeding and working soil, especially in vegetable gardens.
WheelbarrowEvery gardener needs a wheelbarrow, heavy-duty wagon, or garden cart to help haul plants, garden tools, and bulk materials (think soil, compost, mulch, etc.) around the yard. Invest in a higher grade construction-type wheelbarrow with a strong bucket so you'll be able to use it for years to come.It's easy to go overboard with garden tools and stock your shed with an abundance of items you rarely use. To avoid that, stick with the list above, adding just two last items that you'll use again and again: buckets (you can never have enough) and a comfortable hat. When choosing a hat, be sure to get one that has a vented crown to let your head breathe, a wide brim to block the sun, and a beaded string you can tighten on windy days.For additional tips on making your gardening life easier, or to learn more about Miracle-Gro® products, click on any of the links below.
-Written by Julie Martens Forney