ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

1 Essential Pair of Garden Tools with Gardening Tips

Updated on May 19, 2014
Heidi Vincent profile image

Ms. Vincent is an M.B.A graduate, Business Consultant and health, wellness & natural healing enthusiast, who reads a lot on those subjects.

Meet the Knife and Fork of Gardening

That's right! I always refer to the garden trowel and the garden fork as my knife and fork of gardening.

That's because they're the standard tools that I use when I am doing my kitchen gardening or vegetable gardening. They represent what that old song said, 'Love and marriage. You can't have one without the other.'

In kitchen or vegetable gardening you need the pair - garden trowel and garden fork. You can't have one without the other! I use the garden trowel and garden fork to plant all my vegetables (lettuce, cauliflower, beetroot, tomatoes, cabbage, celery, sweet peppers, seasoning peppers, chive and thyme). These are my kitchen garden staples.

Scroll down and see how easy it is to produce your own organic, home grown vegetables, as I:

      a. Share with you some effective gardening tips.

      b. Show you how to use this inseparable pair of garden hand tools to start creating a simple, tiny but neat nursery and kitchen garden.

      c. Showcase some of the tools and accessories you will need to start growing and eating your own organic vegetables.

Photo Credits: All photos in this lens are copyright and belong to the author - FreshStart7 - except where otherwise indicated. Do not COPY or DOWNLOAD. Other photos are from AMAZON and Microsoft Word.

Essential Vegetable Garden Tool Sets!

Eva Solo 571150 Garden Tool Set, Stone Grey
Eva Solo 571150 Garden Tool Set, Stone Grey

This is my basic essential pair of garden tools - Garden Trowel & Garden Fork.

 
Brook & Hunter Combo-HT-IND-3TCF Premium 3-Piece Combo Kit With Stainless Steel Alloy Polished Hand Trowel, Hand Cultivator & Hand Fork With Hand Crafted Red Oak Handles
Brook & Hunter Combo-HT-IND-3TCF Premium 3-Piece Combo Kit With Stainless Steel Alloy Polished Hand Trowel, Hand Cultivator & Hand Fork With Hand Crafted Red Oak Handles

The Hand Cultivator is the 3rd item added to my original Gardening Tool Set because it is useful for loosening the soil and pulling out weeds. If you can't afford it as yet, then you can just use the Garden Fork instead of this additional specialty tool.

 
The Rumford Gardener Essex Tool Set, 4-Piece BF2000
The Rumford Gardener Essex Tool Set, 4-Piece BF2000

Sometimes there's need for something to dig a smaller planting hole. That's where this 4th item - a smaller Hand Trowel - comes into the picture. It's very useful for transplanting seedlings.

 

Planting the Seeds: Your Tiny Nursery

Seedling Photos - Heidi Vincent (FreshStart7)
Seedling Photos - Heidi Vincent (FreshStart7)

Once you've bought the seeds you want to plant, start preparation and planting of your seeds:

1. Get some small containers to plant and germinate your seeds. I used three (3) Styrofoam cups and a small plastic feta cheese container.

2. Bore tiny holes at the bottom of each container with a kitchen knife. This will allow any excess water to drain out of the container.

3. Use the garden trowel to dig some dirt, soil or mud and place in the small containers.

4. Now use 1 prong in the garden fork to make half (1/2) inch deep holes in order to plant your seeds.

5. Place 2 to 3 seeds in each hole. This increases the likelihood that every hole will produce a seedling.

6. Use the same prong from the garden fork to cover the seeds with dirt, soil or mud. It's a very delicate process at this stage as you're dealing with miniscule seeds.

7. Finally, make sure to use a holding container so that the excess water can be reabsorbed by the soil and seeds as necessary and keep moist.

I used the 3 Styrofoam cups to plant beetroot, cauliflower and tomatoes and the small plastic container (feta cheese container) to plant the lettuce seeds. There you have it! Your tiny nursery.

Take a look at the containers I spoke about and my seedlings in the photo above.

How to Plant a Vegetable Garden

Companion Planting

Did you know that some vegetables grow best around certain other vegetables and that some vegetable should never be planted next to others? It's true and the concept is known as Companion Planting.

"Companion planting is the planting of different crops in proximity (in gardening and agriculture), on the theory that they assist each other in nutrient uptake, pest control, pollination, and other factors necessary to increasing crop productivity" (Wikipedia, Companion Planting) .

Here are some examples:

- Did you know that growing Broccoli and Celery next to each other benefits both?

- Did you know that Beans should never be planted next to Peppers or Cabbage?

- Did you know that Cucumbers attract ground beetles and ideally should not be planted next to Tomatoes or Sage?

Ignorance of these simple growing tips could prevent you from reaping the benefits of a successful vegetable garden. So for a complete listing of which vegetables help others, which ones are helped by others, what insects they attract and deter, as well as what vegetables to avoid pairing them with when planting, click on the links below:

The Complete Guide to Companion Planting: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Garden Successful (Back-To-Basics)
The Complete Guide to Companion Planting: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Garden Successful (Back-To-Basics)

Learn everything you need to know about this all natural pest control and vegetable yield system – Companion Gardening.

 
Organic Gardening Beginner's Manual: The ultimate "Take-You-By-The-Hand" beginner's gardening manual for creating and managing your own organic garden.
Organic Gardening Beginner's Manual: The ultimate "Take-You-By-The-Hand" beginner's gardening manual for creating and managing your own organic garden.

Improve your health, reduce your monthly food bill and experience the unspeakable satisfaction that I and other organic vegetable gardeners get from picking our own vegetables and herbs from our very own backyards.

 
Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens
Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens

If you’re just starting a garden, this book ensures that you don’t ‘reinvent the wheel’ and learn about gardening the hard way – through costly mistakes and ‘no show’ crops.

 
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

You’ll never outgrow this book. It’s helpful whether you’re a beginner, average or veteran gardener.

 

Survival Gardening: Companion Planting

Your Vegetable Gardening Experience

How long have you been gardening?

See results

Caring for Your Vegetable Seedlings

After about 7 - 21 days, your seeds will begin to germinate and sprout into seedlings that you need to protect from the elements; rain, wind, sun.

At this stage, the seedlings should not be exposed to too much sunlight, wind or rain. Too much heavy raindrops will hammer your seedlings into the ground. Too much wind will tear apart your seedlings and too much sun will wilt them.

I usually place my seedlings to the back of the house where they are sheltered from the morning sun and so they get only about four (4) hours of full sunshine in the afternoons.

And remember to water them early in the morning before sunrise and in the afternoon when the sun is going down, so that too much water isn't lost through evaporation from the sun's heat. These are the coolest periods in the day.

Preparations for Transplanting Vegetable Seedlings

Transplanting Seedlings - Heidi Vincent (FreshStart7)
Transplanting Seedlings - Heidi Vincent (FreshStart7)

When the seedlings are about 7 to 8 weeks old, you can begin to transplant them to a larger container.

Again you'll need your pair of gardening tools - garden trowel and garden fork.

1. Half fill your large container with dirt, soil or mud using your garden trowel. You can put the mud in a smaller container , like I did, and then scoop it out into the large container.

2. Next, use your garden fork to loosen and aerate the soil. Just use a firm side to side twisting motion, with your garden fork, in the dirt, soil or mud until it is no longer clumped together and heavy. Loosening the dirt, soil or mud like this reduces soil compaction and improves soil aeration which results in improved water drainage, more oxygen being made available to the plant roots and makes it easier for the plant roots to penetrate and spread out further and deeper into the soil.

3. Then water the aerated mud, soil or dirt until it is just about saturated. This will ensure that the bottom soil is not dry and there is sufficient water for the plant roots when you fill up the container and transplant your seedlings.

4. Dig out some more dirt, soil or mud with the garden trowel and keep scooping soil into the large container until it is about three quarters () full. The remaining space is to add dirt, soil or mud later on as your seedling grows into a full plant.

5. Repeat steps 2 and 3. That is, loosen, aerate and water the dirt, soil or mud.

Patio Vegetable Container Garden

Fiskars 30 Inch TerraBox Planter, Color Clay
Fiskars 30 Inch TerraBox Planter, Color Clay

Ideal for mixing vegetables (companion planting) as I showed you in my long planter (see pictures above).

 
Bloem 2.6 Gallon Easy Pour Black Watering Can (20-47287)
Bloem 2.6 Gallon Easy Pour Black Watering Can (20-47287)

Its unique handles make holding and pouring easy.

 

Transplanting Vegetable Seedlings and Harvesting Time

So your seeds have germinated well and you have that gushing feeling of pride that you have "green thumbs". Well it's time to give your seedlings more room, watch them mature and reap the rewards of your hard work:

1. Water the vegetable seedling in the small containers were they germinated as seeds. This will help loosed the soil and make it easy to remove the vegetables seedling as easily as possible with its roots intact.

2. Use the garden trowel to make planting holes in the soil in the large container.

3. Next, use the garden trowel or 1 prong in the garden fork to gently loosen the vegetable seedlings by the roots. Gently is the key word here, since the seedling roots are very tender and can easily break off from the stem of the vegetable seedling.

4. Transfer (Transplant) the vegetable seedlings from the original individual small containers to the large container(s) and place in the previously prepared planting holes.

5. Water the vegetables seedlings in their new large container.

6. And don't forget to wash your garden trowel and garden fork.

7. Now you just water your vegetable seedlings at least twice each day and continue to monitor them for over exposure to wind, rain and sun.

8. Then sit back and reap the fruits [or rather the "vegetables"] of your labour!

From Seeds to Seedlings to Vegetables

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My Gardening Knife and Fork - the essentials of vegetable gardening!Using my Garden Trowel to get mud for my transplanting container.Watering my half-filled (with mud) transplanting container before transplanting seedlings.Using my Garden Fork to aerate the soil.Photo of a seedling.Photo credit: MicrosoftMy newly transplanted tomato and lettuce seedlings.You could be moving these from your vegetable garden to your kitchen to your table.  Photo credit: MicrosoftWashing my Garden Fork and Garden Trowel.  I want them around for a long time.
My Gardening Knife and Fork - the essentials of vegetable gardening!
My Gardening Knife and Fork - the essentials of vegetable gardening!
Using my Garden Trowel to get mud for my transplanting container.
Using my Garden Trowel to get mud for my transplanting container.
Watering my half-filled (with mud) transplanting container before transplanting seedlings.
Watering my half-filled (with mud) transplanting container before transplanting seedlings.
Using my Garden Fork to aerate the soil.
Using my Garden Fork to aerate the soil.
Photo of a seedling.Photo credit: Microsoft
Photo of a seedling.Photo credit: Microsoft
My newly transplanted tomato and lettuce seedlings.
My newly transplanted tomato and lettuce seedlings.
You could be moving these from your vegetable garden to your kitchen to your table.  Photo credit: Microsoft
You could be moving these from your vegetable garden to your kitchen to your table. Photo credit: Microsoft
Washing my Garden Fork and Garden Trowel.  I want them around for a long time.
Washing my Garden Fork and Garden Trowel. I want them around for a long time.

Organic Gardening: How to grow an organic vegetable garden - by HowdiniGuru

For the best product reviews, delicious recipes, winning gift ideas as well as uplifting Catholic & Christian content, visit FreshStart7 or the Catholic Contributor

What's growing in your garden? What's your next garden project?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @RinchenChodron: That's great RinchenChodron! You're welcome about the companion planting tips. Thanks for visiting and have a blessed week.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 3 years ago

      So far this summer just flowers. Thanks for the companion planting tips.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Right now, my back is not letting me do anymore gardening........but there is a lot of "stuff" to do and it will be done in the next two weeks........great lens and you know it's going onto the Weekend Gardeners FB page too!

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      I just planted some strawberries, various sorts. Let's see if they take off. We are all strawberry lovers.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @Rhonda Lytle: Lucky you! You've started your planting season. It's extremely dry now so I hope to start up again in June when the rains start coming back. About the companion guide - for a long time I did not realize that certain things should not be planted together or did well together. A whole new world opened up to me once I discovered it. Thanks for visiting and sharing what happening with you with respect to gardening these days. I wish you a bountiful planting season!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Yesterday, we put in Lantana, not edible but pretty :). If the rain lets up, I hope to put in some peppers, tomatoes and zucchini. Love, love, love that you provided a link for the companion plant guides :).

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @GrammieOlivia: Sounds like it's already under control from your latest gardening lens that I read, grammieo!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @GrammieOlivia: Thanks for the feature on your Facebook page, grammeio!

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Shared on the FB Weekend Gardeners Page too! Stop by if you like and like the FB page too!This is a great lens with lots of really good information! Thanks FreshStart7!https://www.facebook.com/GrammieKnowsWeekendGarden...

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      I haven't decided what my next project is, maybe I need to get what I have under control !!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We came back to Canada early enough for me to have my garden and I am enjoying it. I can't grow much a s they'll only be eaten by the wild creatures around.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @GardenIdeasHub LM: Thanks for the visit and compliment GardenIdeasHub! Glad you liked the lens and found it useful also. Have a blessed week.

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 4 years ago

      I enjoyed your gardening lens and I did pick up some good tips.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @coolmon2009 lm: I am glad you liked reading my lens coolmon2009. I hope this inspires you to start back doing a little bit of gardening :) Have a blessed week.

    • profile image

      coolmon2009 lm 4 years ago

      Over the last ten years I got away from gardening; I enjoyed reading your lens.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @Camden1: I guarantee you would love it Camden! The best part is reaping your produce. They just taste better than the bought stuff and there's that awesome feeling of pride that you did this. I'll ask you next spring:)

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 4 years ago

      Hmmm...I'm not much of a gardener. You make it look so simple and enjoyable - maybe I'll give it a try next spring!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @Elsie Hagley: Glad you liked my gardening lens kiwinana71 and thanks for the visit.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice gardening lens, with good advice. Thanks for sharing. Blessed.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @lesliesinclair: Nice! A thriving geranium now. I am happy you found the source of the problem. Thanks for visiting and sharing on your gardening Papier. Have a blessed week.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      Nice! A thriving geranium now. I am happy you found the source of the problem. Thanks for visiting and sharing on your gardening Papier. Have a blessed week.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      My geranium now has healthy lush leaves, since I gave away the Elephant Ears (some call it Zebra) plant, with it's itsy bitsy flies.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @N Beaulieu: Ha ha ha...Glad you liked the humour of my knife and fork phrase PatriceBeaulieu. I love herbs because I constantly use them for seasoning food. So I think that is a wonderful next gardening project. Thanks visiting, sharing and complimenting my lens.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Hmmm I definitely depend on my trowel, but don't really use the fork, tending to use my hands a lot--will experiment after reading this. Thanks for the tips. Your introduction is great!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @Steph Tietjen: Glad you liked my intro and tips and that I have peaked your interest in using the Garden Fork. You'll love it Steph_Tietjen. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @DrBillSmithWriter: Well I was proud to show off my gardening skills :) Thanks for visiting drbilltellsexcitingstories.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @Anthony Altorenna: Thanks AnthonyAltorenna for the visit and compliment and for sharing on you favourite garden tool.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @SheGetsCreative: Thanks for the visit and compliment Upon-Request.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @dahlia369: Thanks for visiting, sharing and complimenting my lens daria369.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @Elyn MacInnis: Indeed, the garden hand fork makes gardening a breeze. I really love it for my small vegetable gardening projects and I am sure you will love it too. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

    • N Beaulieu profile image

      N Beaulieu 4 years ago

      I love your phrase "my knife and fork of gardening" - very creative! My next garden project will hopefully be putting in a few raised beds for an herb garden. I enjoyed your lens, thanks for sharing!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Nice photos! Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 4 years ago from Connecticut

      Nicely done! The garden trowel is one of my most trusted tools, and the fork is very useful for weeding and preparing planting beds for seeds.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Good gardening lens!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 4 years ago

      I don't use these because weeds around here are easy to pull from the sandy soil but they look like useful tools. Nice lens!! :)

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I want to get the garden properly weeded. I have never used a fork before. It looks like a good idea. Thanks!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @TolovajWordsmith: Wonderful Tolovaj. Some gardening no matter how small is always an excellent idea. Thanks for visiting.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      I have to organize the balcony to make some room for pots and than I will plant some herbs.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @WriterJanis2: What's stopping you WriterJanis! Thanks for visiting.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I need to do more landscaping.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      @JoshK47: Thanks for the visit Josh and I'm glad you like my "Knife and fork" of gardening.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 4 years ago

      Very nice tools!