My favorite gardening tools

Every time I visit a nursery, I unlock some new achievement level for fitting plants into my SUV.

Between Christmas and my own shopping, I have found some amazing gardening tools worth recommending to others. (Note: This is not a sponsored blog post. I am not getting compensated in any way for recommending these items. These are my honest opinions as a gardening nerd. I hope they are helpful!)

First, something that has truly revolutionized my time in the garden – Vertex’s Super-Duty Toolbox on Never-Flat Wheels with 120 Lb. Capacity Lift Plate. Oh. My. Goodness. This thing is pure genius. Before I bought this contraption, I was using a collapsible cart from Bass Pro Shop (love that store) that we would also empty out and use on trips to the beach. That cart would hold my small gardening tools, bags of fertilizer, water bottles, and whatnot, but it was not useful for transporting large tools.

This baby carries it all, and the lift plate works like a dolly if you have to move anything kind of heavy. (There is a model with other attachments if you want the plate to be used for propping up leaf bags, for example. I use it for carrying giant sacks of fertilizer or pots.) I have mine loaded up with shovels, rakes, a pick-axe, two sets of clippers, my hula hoe, edger, and so on. You could also attach a little garden bag to it with a couple of zip ties. It is well-balanced and does not tip over, even when fully loaded. I am not a big person, and I find this cart incredibly maneuverable. Best of all, when it is time to clean up after a long day working outside, all you have to do is roll it into your garden shed. Pour yourself a glass of wine, it is time to relax.

My husband gave me several Japanese gardening tools for Christmas that are also incredibly clever. I am quite fond of the Nisaku NJP650 Hori-Hori Weeding & Digging Knife, Authentic Tomita (Est. 1960) Japanese Stainless Steel, 7.25″ Blade, Wood Handle. The knife has one sharp edge and one serrated edge, perfect for dealing with roots and weeds. The blade itself is concave, which means you can dig with it, like small spade. For several years now, I have found myself planting thousands of annuals (I love impatiens) and this tool is perfect for that purpose. One could also use it for planting bulbs, though I have a better recommendation for that coming up. We’ll probably end up taking it on future camping trips too, as a sort of multi-tool.

He also gave me this Carrot Design Circular Hoe Hand Garden Weeding Tool. This is a sort of miniature version of what I call “hula hoes,” or hoes with a circular or oblong head that you can move back and forth to remove weeds or till the soil. This particular tool is neat because its small head allows you to get underneath delicate plants. You can remove weeds without hurting the plant.

Incidentally, this is the tall hula hoe I use and a shorter version that is useful for when you are going to be working sitting down or kneeling. I would not be able to function gardening in South Florida without these tools. It’s a constant battle against the jungle down here (lol). If you want a sharp version of the mini hula hoe, this is also cool.

Okay, back to nifty Japanese tools. Meet the Japanese Weeding Sickle. This little fellow legitimately has a razor edge. When they say it makes quick work of weeds, they are not kidding. In my case, this is going to be the ultimate vine tool. It comes with a plastic case over the top to keep you safe when reaching into your gardening bag. If the Zombie Apocalypse goes down while you are out weeding, trust me, you are going to be just fine.

Next is not so much a recommendation for a specific tool, but a specific brand. A fellow who keeps a homesteading blog I enjoy was talking about how he tends to forget his tools outside and they inevitably get rained on. Before I bought my super-duty cart, this was a big problem for me too. He said he started investing in tools from the British company Spear and Jackson. S&J makes stainless steel yard tools that apparently do not rust. They are a little pricey, but perhaps worth it if this is an issue for you. I went out and bought several of their tools, as I am hoping they will hold up well to the saltwater air we have here on the coast. You don’t even have to leave metal tools out in the rain here – the salted humidity will gradually corrode them.

And now on to the best edger I have ever found. So I am a bit of a lunatic about edging flowerbeds. In the future, I may invest in some kind of permanent edging, but for the time being, I love putting a crisply cut edge on our lawn. Not only does this make your lawn look manicured, it prevents your grass from creeping into your flowers. (We all have St. Augustine grass down here, which is a glorified vine, in my opinion, so lawn creep is a never-ending problem.) I have tried having the chap who mows our lawn use his weed eater to edge the lawn, but you quickly lose the shapes of your beds that way. It’s just one of those things where it is best to give up and put your back into it.

For this task, I highly recommend Kwik Edge. This gadget makes it possible for you to edge in what is essentially an easy dragging motion. It definitely beats using one of those wedge-shaped shovels in terms of labor and time. There is a video in the Amazon link above where you can see how it works, as the motion is difficult to describe and a bit counterintuitive. But it works like a charm.

I don’t know when Amazon will have this item back in stock, but I am going to recommend it anyway – Re.Earthed’s 8-Piece Gardening Bag. (The company has a Facebook page, so if you want it, you can contact them directly.) This set is super cute and matchy-matchy. It comes with an apron – which I had never contemplated buying for gardening before – and a kneeling pad. The tools it comes with are decent and work well. I did not really buy it for the tools, as I have probably a dozen sets of clippers and spades, but if you need those things, these are alright. It also has a quality set of gloves. Just so much cuteness.

So… My next recommendation is actually a rake for digging clams (yeah, I know), but it makes an awesome gardening tool as well (not to mention back-scratcher). This thing is great for raking back mulch when you want to plant something and that sort of activity.

My last recommendation is something I learned about from my dear friend, Susanna. In previous years, I have planted thousands of bulbs at a time. It’s hard for me to believe I used to do that with a simple spade. Susanna is a power tools savant (you like what I did there, Susanna?) and suggested I get a mini-auger for our power drill. Oh man. This $13 gadget made it possible for me to zip through thousands of bulbs in no time. If you are doing a lot of small annual plants, it works for digging holes for them too, just rock the auger around from side-to-side as you drill and it widens the hole. Game. Changer.

That’s it for this post, guys. Happy gardening!

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