Gardening Basics

Our Picks for Essential Gardening Tools

If you want to garden, you don't need a shed full of tools. Here are the ones you'll probably use the most.

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Garden fork. A very versatile tool in the garden, a garden fork makes digging in tough soils easier; you can use it to dig planting holes in dense clay, mix amendments with your planting soil, break up clods in a seedbed, and pry plants out of the ground with possibly a bit less root damage than with a shovel. Make sure you get one with an extra-durable shaft — either fiberglass or ash.

Circle hoe. For raking the weeds out of perennial and vegetable beds, the circle hoe is an old gardening favorite. You can get it with either a long or a short handle, and you might want to have both. Shop for this product at HGTV Marketplace.

Hand pruners. You'll want to have a set of good hand pruners with you at all times. What's a good set? They need to feel comfortable in your hand, they need to open easily and lock securely. You'll use them for deadheading flowers, snipping off dead growth (anything up to about 1/2 inch in diameter). Make sure your hand pruners have curved blades. Shop for this product at HGTV Marketplace.

Loppers. These loppers will take care of branches up to 3/4 inch in diameter. A well-made pair will make clean cuts on small branches that are three feet farther than your normal reach, and you won't have to return to even out the cut. Shop for this product at HGTV Marketplace.

Garden cart. Whether your garden measures two acres or 20 square feet, a cart comes in handy. You'll use it for hauling mulch, top soil, weeds, transplants. This version has large wheels to help make negotiating over rough terrain a bit easier, and an easy-dump front end. Shop for this product at HGTV Marketplace.

Hose attachment. Having a good sprayer at the end of your hose can make all the difference in how you efficiently you deliver water to your plants. Ideally, you'll want to be able to deliver a fine spray to fragile seedlings or full throttle to wash out a planter, and you want to be able to go from fine to full force without a lot of effort. Shop for this product at HGTV Marketplace.

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