7 Best Garden Hand Tools – Top Tools For Beginner Gardeners

 

Pruner and seeds

As with any hobby, gardening requires a few tools to get started and be successful. Luckily, the tools needed to get started with gardening are relatively inexpensive. With a little careful shopping, the seven best garden hand tools can all be purchased for small change. Having said that, if you are going to purchase hand tools, you may want to save up to get the best ones you can afford.

While tools can be found cheaply, the wear and tear of gardening will cause less expensive tools to break quickly – ending up in frustration and – well – wasted money. On the other hand, purchasing better quality tools from the beginning can ensure you are well-equipped for many years and gardens to come.

Below I will discuss the top tools that I recommend for beginning gardeners.

Gloves

Admittedly, gloves may not generally be considered a tool. However, gardening can be hard work and is hard on the hands – the skin, the muscles and the nerves. Not only will gloves keep your hands (and nails) cleaner, they will also protect your hands from cuts, bruises, scrapes and thorns. Not much is worse than grabbing a vine or branch only to find sharp thorns gleefully poking through your skin. Wild blackberry thorns are some of the worst!!!

For those who are not sure of the creepy crawlies you may encounter, gloves also protect you when you run into a rogue spider or reach for an earth worm only to find it is a snake. While running into wildlife is part of gardening – and in gardening we like to see worms and bugs inhabiting the soil – you may not always want to pick them up with your bare hands.

With many women suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand ailments, like a sprained thenar eminence muscle, gloves provide a measure of protection from injury and when injured. So, put a good pair of gardening gloves at the top of the list of products to buy. If you want more information on gloves, check out the post on gloves for gifts.

Pruners

While pruners are typically separated into three types: bypass, anvil and ratchet, by far, the most popular one is the bypass pruner. Bypass pruners make a nice clean cut much like scissors do – except they are much stronger and can cut through branches and stems. In the bypass pruner, a sharpened blade sweeps past the lower jaw which avoids crushing the stem.

Anvil pruners work similar to the principal of a knife on a cutting board. The top blade pushes through the plant onto the anvil to cut. If not sharpened regularly, the anvil pruners can mash the stems and sometimes will not cut all the way through leaving you to wiggle, twist and turn to get through the stems.

Ratchet pruners have a ratchet built in that makes cutting tough or thick stems easier. While this is a handy pruner to have in your toolkit, a beginning gardener would probably want to have at least a bypass pruner on hand before branching off to get a ratchet pruner (no pun intended).

Pruners come in all sizes from very tiny ones to loppers – large pruners used for bigger branches. Start off with a medium-sized pruner and when you find the need for closer work or are cutting large branches or trees, you can move into a palm sized pruner or a lopper.

Hori Hori Knives

Hori-horiI debated whether to add trowel to this list of tools and decided since it is basically for the beginning gardener, I would instead recommend a hori hori because it does the work of a trowel and so much more. This tool basically does it all from weeding to planting, digging, cutting, sawing, scooping, separating, splitting and anything else you can think of. The hori hori is smooth on one edge and serrated on the other – so it will saw through tough stems and roots easily. The hori hori also comes with depth markings on the blade so you can easily tell how deep you are planting.

The hori hori design comes from Japan.  Hori means dig and hori hori is an onomatopoeia of the sound of digging. The shape of the sharpened blade allowed foragers to harvest by digging deep and slicing through plant roots and tough vegetation. It comes in equally handy for the modern gardener.

Most hori hori knives are solid with blades made of stainless steel that will last for years. Once you use this handy tool, you will never be without it. One caution, the serrated blade is sharp, so handle with care.

Rakes

I probably don’t need to explain what a rake is – and if you have a yard, you probably have one (or more) lying around. There are various kinds of garden rakes, and after gardening for while, you will probably find that you need more than one kind. While the leaf rakes are great for fall leaves, for gardening you will probably need one with shorter, stiffer tines to help you level dirt or break up clumps of dirt when preparing soil. Also, when raking up those pesky weed piles that you will have, a rake with stiffer tines will be ideal.

While you can probably find a garden rake for around $10.00, try to spend as much on getting a good one as you can. Also, when selecting a rake, consider the weight of the rake. If you are a smaller person or you have physical limitations, carefully consider how heavy the rake is. If the handle is made of wood, it will generally be heavier and may be tiring to use for an extended period of time.

Shovels

There are so many types of shovels that you can be overwhelmed when trying to decide which shovel to choose. So, for a beginner, I Shovel and rakerecommend the digging shovel as one of the best hand garden tools. The digging shovel is just that – a shovel to dig. They have a curved scoop for holding materials and edges that slant up. Choose one with a point – shovels with flat tips are pretty useless for most gardening – unless you have the perfect soil. Again, while you can get an inexpensive shovel, look for ones that are steel and sturdy. Wood is the best material for a handle, although you have to keep it out of the weather. Plastic will break easily and metal is durable, but heavier. Unlike a rake, you won’t be using the shovel for extended periods of time, so you don’t have to be as concerned about the weight. In fact, a nice heavy shovel can be your friend in clay or other heavy soils.

Tool Belt or Apron

As you are working in your garden, using all your tools, you will find that you want some way to keep them handy and accessible to you. The best way to keep them handy to use and safe from being lost in the dirt, left alone to rust, is to have an apron or a tool belt that will hold all your tools.

There are probably as many choices for tool holders as you can imagine and some are even made to fit over a 5-gallon bucket. Depending on your size and how many tools you use regularly, you will have to explore the many options available. One of the best things you can do to save money in the future is to get into the habit early on of keeping all your tools in the belt and put them back in when you are finished using them. It is incredible how easy it is to lose a tool in all the gardening materials you are working with.

Work Made Easier with the Best Garden Hand Tools

Gardening is a healthy activity and a fun form of exercise for those who do not like to go to the gym and lift weights. But, don’t kid yourself – gardening can be hard work. While rewarding, and definitely worth the effort, having the right tools can make your work a lot more enjoyable and help you stick with it when times get rough.

 

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Gardening Gifts for Women – Great Glove Ideas for Digging in the Dirt

Gift basketEveryone loves to receive presents, and women who love to garden are no different. Sometimes, giving a gift can be a stressful experience for the giver. As you are trying to find the perfect gift, you may wonder, “Will she like it, will she use it, will she hate it, will she just throw it away or tuck it in the closet?” Let’s face it, we all want our gifts to be appreciated and loved – yes and used.

Luckily, gloves are a great gift idea for any gardener. You will find that it can be very easy to find one or more pairs of gloves your lady will love to receive and will use over and over. Kind of like shoes, a gardener can never have enough gloves. Even when a gardener has a favorite pair, a gift of several different types of gloves would be appreciated as well. Many styles and types of gloves can be found in all price ranges. And if you want to add a more personal touch, you can include gloves with an assortment of other items in a wondering gardening gift basket. Let’s take a look at some gift glove ideas.

Gardening Gifts for Digging in the Dirt

Gloves are an obvious choice for gift-giving. While women usually don’t wear gloves socially anymore, they certainly are needed in the garden. Dare I say again, a gardener can never have too many gloves. There are many ways to look at purchasing gloves. Your gardener may have a favorite pair of gloves and in that case, you can simply find out what it is and buy her an extra pair.

Why buy an extra pair when she already has a favorite? While some gloves may last a long time, they will all eventually wear out when usedOld gloves over and over. They deteriorate from exposure to the sun, from friction as the fingertips are being rubbed against the ground and weeds, and from exposure to water or punctures. If you have a Labrador puppy like the one dropped off at our gate, they also can be ruined by enthusiastic chewing. So, if your gardener really likes a certain brand of gloves, they will always be happy to have one waiting for them when the old and tattered glove no longer protects their hands.

Gloves for Gardening with Friends and Family

Many women like to garden with their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and even friends visiting. Yes, gardening is indeed a great form of bonding, communication and fun. It is always nice to have extra pairs of gloves set aside for visitors – so a selection of gloves in various sizes and styles is always nice to have around.

For the extra personal touch, you can even try out a pair of the gloves by offering to help dig in the gardener with her when you give her the present. Not only will she have a wonderful gift that enables her to share gardening with others, she will have a wonderful day full of memories with you sharing work in her garden. This would truly be a gift that would be remembered.

Some different types of gloves are discussed below.

Nitrile Gloves for Gifting

Lavendar nitrile glovesDifferent types of gardening require different types of gloves. Even with a favorite pair of gloves, gardeners have varying needs when digging in the dirt. Nitrile gloves have become very popular lately for gardening. These gloves are generally made of a thin fabric-like material on top that is coated with a flexible coating of nitrile on the palms and bottom of the fingers. This nitrile coating gives the gloves extra grip that is very handy for pulling up weeds. They are lightweight but can be pretty tough in preventing punctures and even some small thorns.

Plus, these nitrile gloves come in a wide array of bright, happy colors and designs for gardeners – often with flowers and butterflies worked into the design. (How do they do that?) Even better, nitrile gloves can be thrown in the washer to clean them after use. These gloves are relatively inexpensive and having several extras on hand would make any gardener smile. They would be a good choice if getting an assortment of gloves for visitors to use.

Gift Gloves that Protect

Practical gardening gifts for women include gloves that go above and beyond in protection. While nitrile gloves can resist some punctures and thorns, they are not hardy enough for working with roses and other thorny plants. Plus, when working with thorny plants, the gardener often gets scratches and punctures on the arms as well as the hands and fingers. Some gauntlet or long-armed gloves will be the best gift you can get any gardener because they not only do a super job of preventing punctures, they also provide that protection up to the elbow. No more tears as your gardener is reaching through the rose bush to prune it, or in my case, grabbing the evil, thorny Greenbrier vines to pull them out of trees.

In addition to gauntlet gloves, you can also purchase Kevlar arm protection sleeves to wear under any gloves. These arm protection sleeves are generally about 18 inches long and have a thumb slot to hold them in place. These sleeves will provide an extra layer of protection most of the way up the arm.

Gloves with extra padding can also be a welcome gift to any gardener. I found this out when I injured my thenar eminence muscles in my hand. That is a big name but they are group of muscles on the palm of the human hand at the base of the thumb. In essence, it hurts when you use your thumb and in gardening – you would be surprised how much you actually need to use your thumb. High performance gardening gloves are now made with extra foam padding in the palm and knuckles to alleviate some pain caused from using the thumb repetitively.

Unique Gardening Gift – Clawed Gloves

Another unique gardening gift for women would be the glove with built-in or removable claws on the finger tips. OK, a great idea for Halloween costumes – I can just see the Evil Gardener costume being a real hit this year. But, these gloves are very handy for digging in the dirt to pull out weeds and leaves without having to switch over and use a hand tool. They have a breathable design that protects the hands without becoming hot and uncomfortable. This just might be a small gift for the gardener who has everything.

Gardening Gifts for Women – A Bushel of Gloves

Who would have thought that you could find a treasure-trove of gifts for women simply by looking for gloves? But, while seemingly a practical idea, glove-giving can also be whimsical and thoughtful. And very much appreciated by the gardener. To jazz it up a bit, you can give the gloves in a gift basket you create along with special essential oil soap for gardeners, a soothing hand lotion, a loofah and a nail scrubber.

These thoughtful and useful gifts will be treasured, used and remembered by your special gardener for years.