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Essential Tools for Growing vegetables

Updated on July 8, 2014
My essential gardening tools
My essential gardening tools | Source

A guide for essential gardening tools

Most people that start out on a new venture or hobby often go out and purchase everything available in preparation for the task a head. They will often find that most of the things they bought are not needed and often never used.

A majority of people who decide to grow their own vegetables do so to save money, so spending out on lots of tools that are not needed defeats the object. This page will guide you through getting the essential tools needed for growing your own vegetables.

You may find that once you get started you may decide you need other bits of equipment which you can then purchase when needed.

When purchasing any gardening equipment I would suggest always to buy the best you can afford. You want it to last, often buying cheap equipment is not always beneficial as it will need to be replaced that much sooner.

I have bought many of my gardening tools second hand. They are often older tools but are of a very good quality that I would not of otherwise been able to afford. Great places to buy good quality second hand tools are places such as ebay, yard sales and boot sales.

The essential garden tools list

Garden spade

To do any type of gardening you will need a garden spade. There are different types available but all you need is a basic spade for digging.

One thing you do need to consider is the size of your spade. If you are tall it would be better for you to get a long handled spade which will not only make digging much easier but will also save your back from bending over a smaller spade.

If you are female you can purchase spades designed for women, I have this on my wish list as I find a normal size spade much too heavy and the ladies gardening fork that I have now is much easier to handle and more comfortable to use.

Garden fork

A garden fork is another must have item. This will also be used on a very regular basis, for breaking up the soil, lifting out root vegetables, weeding and when applying compost to the garden, I find it much easier using a fork rather than a shovel.

Like the spade a garden fork also comes in varying sizes so you will need to take in the same considerations as for the spade.

Garden Rake

The garden rake is one of the most used items in your gardening tool shed. Used for leveling off the soil, and making a fine 'tilth' for seed sowing. There are mainly two types of garden rakes, the thick short tooth one is for the soil as mentioned above, and the long fanned out thin tinged teeth are mainly for raking up cut grass and leaves.

Garden Hoe

A garden hoe is used to skim over the soil to cut off the weeds. However it does not totally kill the weeds it just removes the tops. To get rid of a weed you will often find you need to dig out the roots. Once you have gone over the ground with the hoe, I would advise you to collect up any of the larger weeds and dispose of them.

Hand tools - Trowel

You will need a trowel for transplanting plants that you have either started off indoors or for moving plants from a seed bed to their final growing place. Also for weeding and for when you grow plants in pots and containers.

I have had several of these over the years, either because I have misplaced it or it has snapped or broken. The stainless steel are the best trowels and when you go to purchase one of these as with most tools pick it up to see how it feels to hold to make sure it feels comfortable. Even if you are buying tools online take time to visit a garden supply store to get a feel for particular brands and then you will know what it is like and then you can order online knowing that it the right one.

Watering can

You maybe thinking I have a garden hose to water the garden I don't need a watering can. However There are times when a watering can is the only thing you can use. For instance in the UK we had a hosepipe ban and the only way we could water the garden was with a watering can. Also if you collect rainwater unless you want to purchase a pump the only way you will get water from a water butt is via the little tap and there is not enough pressure for it to work with a hose.

The jet can often be too powerful and would only damage your small tender plants. And when sowing seeds a hose would just jet the soil straight out of the seed trays. A stainless steel watering can in my personal opinion and experience would be the best purchase you could make. Over the years I have gone through numerous plastic watering cans, however they always develop a hole or leak. But again it it down to you personal choice.


There are two different styles of secateurs, they both basically do the same job but again it is down to preference. These are used for pruning and cutting back. And can be used to snip off fruit and vegetables. I have a pair but I mostly use a large strong pair of kitchen scissors for collecting the vegetables.


This is one item you could never be without! You need it for collecting weeds, moving soil about and even for collecting your vegetables in unless you have a vegetable trug for that purpose.

Gardening Gloves

I felt that these need to be added to the list even though they are not a tool as such, however they are an essential piece of gardening kit. I have several pairs which I use for different jobs. For weeding I like to wear a thin pair so I can grip and feel better. When doing more heavy work I have a thick leather pair.

When Using tools with your bare hands for long periods of time you will find that you may get blisters and by wearing gloves it helps to prevent this and also getting dirt in any open wounds you may have.

It has been brought to my attention that a hat is also perhaps an essential item when out gardening to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun. I Prefer to slap on some sun protection cream. Whatever your preference remember it does not only apply to the summer months, when out gardening even the winter sun has enough power in it to be harmful to our skin. And if it is cold then a nice woolen hat would keep you warm as we lose most of our body heat through our head.

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    • sjwigglywoo profile image

      sjwigglywoo 5 years ago from UK

      Hi Mary, Thank you. Yes a hat would be a great idea, I always slap lots of protective cream on as a hat always makes my head sweat and itchy and itching your head with a soiled glove or hand is not very nice. Plus I haven't got a face that suits a hat! However I will add that and thank you for reminding me.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Great job with this Hub! Another essential to gardening is guess what??? A big straw hat to protect your skin! I voted this Hub UP, etc. and I will share to my followers.