Materials You Need for Gardening
What's Needed to Garden?
When it's time to prepare your shed for a garden, you don't need to get carried away and buy a whole room full of tools and supplies. What you need depends on what you grow and how much, as well as what kind of garden you have. If in doubt, start small and work your way up. Check out the recommendations below to see what materials you might need for gardening.
How to Make a Garden
When it comes to materials you need for gardening and getting the most from your vegetable garden, the first thing you will need is a plot of land to grow on. There are really a few choices when it comes to picking a garden, and they depend on where you live, what you plan to grow, and how much.
Raised Bed Garden
My personal favorite is the raised bed garden. This attractive garden bed is easy to put anywhere, even on a patio, and it may be sized to your liking. Also, several raised beds may be used to scatter the vegetables around the yard. The primary benefits of a raised bed garden are that they are less work, can be located in areas with poor soil, and look nice. The disadvantage is that they cost money and are only so big.
The traditional tilled garden bed is a super option for someone who plans to grow a whole bunch of food, or where lots of space is needed for crops like corn, melons, or a strawberry patch. Those who want to can a whole lot of food also may just prefer a larger tilled area to a raised bed. The downside is that a tilled garden is less attractive than a raised bed and it is less efficient with water.
If you don't have the option for a garden at home, see if there is a local community garden available. For just a small fee, you may be able to get access to 100-500 square feet or more of garden soil just waiting for you to come along. Many community gardens also add the benefit of on-site water and a compost pile for easy clean up.
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Important Garden Tools
Once you have a garden, a set of proper garden tools is mandatory to get the job done with as little effort as possible. You really don't need a huge inventory of tools at first. You will find that you tend to use just a few most of the time. Here are the ones that should be high on the list.
When it's time to loosen the soil or find your potatoes, there is no tool better than a garden fork, or pitchfork. This tool is also used to turn soil and break up large chunks - especially useful if your garden soil is a bit heavy. If you have a tiller and don't grow potatoes, you may find that you can live without it.
A spade is best for turning soil or moving dirt from one place to another. It is also great for mixing in new compost. The short flat spades are great and easy to handle and excellent at cutting sod away when creating a new garden bed. The traditional spade is nice too and better for moving dirt.
Sometimes you need to make a row for planting, and a hoe is the tool for the job. A flat hoe is also a great way to work soil and chop up little weeds throughout the season. A triangular hoe is really nice for creating a long row. If I had to pick only one, I'd choose the flat-bottom hoe.
I love to use my garden rake to smooth the soil or move soil around, especially early in the season. A three-prong version is also great for keeping soil loose between rows, since it fits in a smaller space than a traditional garden rake and the tines are a bit longer which digs into the dirt more easily. Because of this I prefer the smaller garden rake.
If you have a raised bed, hand tools are a must. Since the soil is going to be lighter than normal and the space smaller, a raised bed may require only hand tools for your annual garden duties. A small garden trowel and hand rake are perfect.
Sometimes it just doesn't rain, so a quality hose and/or watering can is needed. Don't skimp here. A hose that kinks too easily is a real pain. The only thing I can guarantee about a cheap hose, other than the fact that it costs less, is that you will be replacing it soon.
Must Have Garden Accessories
There are some little extras that come in handy nearly every time you tend to the garden. Consider stocking these items to make gardening life easier.
One of my favorite garden accessories is a nice five-gallon pail. This is perfect for carrying things out to the garden from the garage and serves as a weed container. A clean bucket is great for harvest as well. They even make a canvas sleeve that fits around the bucket to hold hand tools and your cell phone.
Gloves come in handy on occasion, especially when working the soil for any length of time might trigger an unwanted blister. They are also nice when the soil is damp, since that makes a mess of your hands. Choose quality gloves with a reinforced palm so they will last a long time.
To grow vegetables properly, they need the right amount of water. It's helpful to know what Mother Nature is dishing out first. A cheap rain gauge will do, but the wireless ones are a lot of fun, since you get to check out the rainfall totals from the kitchen. A wireless rain gauge also empties the water through the bottom, so there is no evaporation before you get the totals and no gross water.
If you have sore knees or just want some comfort, a foam kneeling pad is lightweight and easy to carry, but is wonderful for the knees when you have to spend more than a moment on them. This is great for a task that takes some time and is low to the ground, like harvesting lettuce.
Now What to Plant?
Once you have the gardening supplies needed to get to work, it's time for the fun part - what to plant. Check out some of the simple vegetables to grow directly in the garden or even try your hand at starting seeds indoors to save some money and bring your hobby inside in late winter.
With a few quality tools, a good pair of gloves and bucket, and a tilled plot of land, you'll be ready to harvest from your own garden this year.
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