This might be a little late to get your favorite gardener something for Christmas, but it’s never too late to know about the best tools to have in your gardening arsenal. I have my favorite tools that I have anywhere I go in the garden.
I have an old beat-up golf cart that has these tools in it permanently, except for when the grandkids come and want to ride in it. Then everything must be unloaded. Anything for them!
My number one go-to favorite garden tool and the one I never go without is the soil knife. It is also sometimes called a hori-hori. If you search online, you will find that they are interchangeable.
Hori is Japanese and means to dig and hori-hori is the onomatopoeia for a digging sound according to several online resources. Whatever you want to call it, call it the best tool for digging, planting, weeding, and even cutting tough roots.
This tool has a sharp blade on both sides, with one side usually serrated. The tip is somewhat sharp as well. Mine is at the point that it needs sharpening because I use it so much.
I usually sharpen most of my tools, but this one will be done by a professional tool sharpener so that it’s done right.
My next favorite is my hand-pruning shears. My favorite and so far, the most reliable is the Felco F2 bypass pruner. This brand and model fit my hand perfectly. You can get replaceable blades when you wear out the original from use and sharpening.
There are numerous types of hand pruners on the market. Select one that is right for the job. Hand pruners should only be used for branches that are one-half inch or less. I tend to do a lot of hand pruning during the growing season.
In the early spring, when I am doing major pruning and shaping shrubs or trees, I will use the next step up from hand pruners or loppers. These can cut one-half to an inch. For bigger branches, I step up to a pruning saw.
My third necessity for gardening is a hoe and I prefer the triangle hoe. This has a triangle blade that is sharp on all three sides. I have a long- and short-handled one that I use for weeding.
It’s fantastic for annual weeds. It’s best when the weeding is done in the morning of a hot day. Once you cut the roots of the weeds, they die in the heat. If you cut the weeds and it rains that day, many may re-root and survive.
And finally, a small (eight-inch wide) plastic leaf rake. My husband got me an inexpensive one several years ago and I find it’s great for raking out any weeds or clippings from pruning that are laying in my perennial beds.
Since it’s plastic, I can rake the debris right over emerging plants and not worry about damaging them. I use this all the time.
I am a firm believer in having the right tools for the job. It makes life so much easier in the garden.
Merry Christmas and thank you for reading my column. I truly value my readers and appreciate your kind words and feedback.
Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at email@example.com.
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