Gardening products you can’t live without

Growing your own garden is a wonderful hobby, not to mention a very rewarding experience. There is nothing like indulging in the fruits (and vegetables) of your own labor. You may choose to start a small container vegetable garden, or perhaps a bigger plot in your back yard is sun-drenched enough for growing bigger crops. Either way, you will need certain gardening products or tools to get started.

Gloves
While gloves may seem like a given here (and they are, really), it is important that you spend a little money on a nice pair. Don’t go for the cheapest pair of gardening gloves you can find at the grocery store. Look for a pair of deer- or cowskin gloves, which you can find at any outdoor sporting goods store or online at reputable stores. The great thing about these gloves is the fit. They mold and stretch with your hands, but retain their shape – not to mention their softness. And they last for a long time, which is key when it comes to vegetable gardening. These types of gardening gloves are durable and can be used for more than gardening. Make sure they fit your hand and aren’t too big. It’s beneficial to have gloves that fit so you can use your fingers when going after pesky weeds.

Pruning Shears
Pruning is something you will spend a lot of time doing in your vegetable garden. This essential gardening product is used for trimming, pruning, lopping – you name it. When gardening, you will ultimately come face to face with stems, vines or weeds that need clipping back. Your pruning shears will save the day. Again, don’t skimp out on price for these. You want durable shears that can stand up to woody vines and weather (at some point you will absent-mindedly leave them outside when it rains). Cheaper shears tend to lose their ability to easily cut through stems and roots. Think about your scissors when they become dull. Now think of trying to cut a thick woody stem with those same scissors. Spend the money; you’ll be glad you did.

Gardening Hoe
The most annoying thing about your garden will be the weeds. And you will have to face the weeds; all vegetable gardeners do. Your hoe will become one of your most valued gardening products! Having a hoe will help make the job much easier (as will using your hands much of the time). Investing in a hand hoe and a full-length gardening hoe is best. The hoe will help you break up and turn over dirt, as well as swiftly remove weeds. Smaller hoes make it easier to get in between plants for more intricate soil work. Your gardening hoe(s) should be sturdy. When you shop for a gardening hoe, don’t get too bogged down in the many choices, not when you’re just starting your vegetable garden. Splurge on a basic paddle hoe with a wooden handle.

Trowel
Gardeners get dirty. That is the bottom line. Much of your vegetable gardening will require you to get down on all fours and play in the dirt. Your trowel will be your best friend when you’re down there. Think of the trowel as the mini garden shovel. You will use your trowel to plant your vegetables. A trowel with a steel blade is the best choice, given its durability. If you get really serious about gardening, you will likely end up with more trowels than you need, given the various blade types and what they can be ideal for. Some are better at digging into really compact dirt; others with wider blades are capable of removing larger amounts of dirt. Selecting a trowel is a personal experience. But, again, don’t go too cheap. You’ll wind up with a broken handle or busted blade.

Rake
Your old leaf rake will come in handy in the vegetable garden. Depending on the size of the rake and the size of your garden, you can use it to rake out fall leaves and other garden debris, such as dead plants, unused fruit, compost dirt, etc. You will find yourself using the rake more often than not just to keep your garden tidy. You can also use your rake (or you may have to buy a new one with straight teeth) to evenly spread out garden soil.

Watering Cans or Hose
Water is the source of life for your vegetable garden (and sunshine, of course). If you don’t have access to a nearby spigot, invest in a nice watering can. You will rely heavily on that watering can. Your garden will need watering near daily, so a sturdy can is your best investment. Make sure you don’t get the biggest one out there, unless you’re capable of carrying it when it’s full of water. A garden hose is ideal, of course, although it does spike your summer water bill a bit. If you want to conserve water, buy a rain barrel, place it appropriately under a gutter on the side of your house and hook a regular garden hose up to it. Your garden (and your wallet) will love soaking up all of that saved rainwater.

Wheelbarrow or Wagon
Carrying around bags of peat moss, top soil, dirt and manure can become heavy and cumbersome. When you’re first starting your vegetable garden, there will inevitably be much heavy lifting involved. Those bags of dirt are not light! The wheelbarrow (or even a wagon) will become your best friend. Once your garden is underway and growing, you will still find yourself toting plants back and forth, or more top soil or who knows what. The wheelbarrow will become your main source of transportation, especially if you have a large gardening space, or if the garden is a bit of a distance from the tool shed.