Good quality tools not only offer better value over the longer term but are also very reliable, comfortable to use, and probably last a lifetime. There is a vast array of tools from which to choose, but for the typical keen gardener, the essential tools required almost everyday and used for soil cultivation, sowing and planting are:
1. Fork, for digging heavy soils, initial ground preparation and breaking down rough-dug soil and light surface tilling.
2. Spade, used for light and heavy digging, planting trees and shrubs.
3. Hoe, ideal for weeding and surface cultivation, choose from two types: Dutch hoe and Draw hoe, the former for horizontal cutting and the latter for a more chop and draw action.
4. Rake, ideal for levelling grown and developing a fine surface tilth for seed sowing. Long handled rakes involving less back bending are much more comfortable to use. If your garden contains much deciduous shrubs and trees, a lawn rake might be a useful addition to your essential toolkit.
5. Trowel, a short handle trowel or pointing trowel is not essential for planting bulbs, small plants and bulbs but very useful for removing weeds and unwanted growth from joints in paving slabs, rockery crevices and steps.
6. Wheelbarrow, an essential labour saving tool particularly for moving heavy loads such as compost, shrubs, soil and planters around the garden. Larger gardens will require several wheelbarrows, and models featuring pneumatic wheels are more comfortable for moving materials over uneven ground.
Other important tools include shears, secateurs, pruners, pick, dibber, knife and lopers.