Need Help?

Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

« Annuals for Perennials | Main | Annuals for Perennials »

Be Prepared: Handy Gardening Tools.

Here is a list of what flower gardeners keep in their tool sheds.

1] Trowel: This is a small hand tool used for digging holes for bulbs, annuals and young perennials. If you don’t own a specific tool for digging out weeds, this will make a good temporary substitute. Always select a trowel with an ergonomically shaped handle that allows the strongest arm muscles to do the work while keeping the joints in a natural position. If you suffer from arthritis, select a trowel with handles that are wider than normal [about 1 3/8 inches in diameter].

2]  Short - Handled Spade: A square shaped spade, with a D-shaped handle  that can be used for edging, digging holes for plants, trees and bushes and for digging up perennials.

3] Long - Handled, Round - Pointed Shovel: For digging compacted soil, slicing through roots and for digging out deeply set plants.

4] "Toolstep" or "Trenchfoot."

This is a new product that slides over the spade handle to rest on the head of the blade to form a wider step. The additional width lessens the stress on the sole and arch of the foot when pushing down on the blade. This product is useful if you plan to do a lot of digging. Sold as "Trenchfoot" in the U.S.A., it is available online from the Garden Gate Magazine Store. In Canada, it is known as "Toolstep" and is available online from Lee Valley Tools.

5] Bypass Hand pruner: A pruner is used to deadhead flowers, trim stems, stalks and branches and to cut flowers for indoor use.This is a multipurpose tool and a most important one for keeping a perennial garden tidy. Look for ergonomically shaped handles that are coated in plastic to create a comfortable grip.

6] Weeder: A weeder may be a long or short-handled tool for digging up weeds. This tool is available in many models, some dating back to the Middle Ages. Choose whatever style appeals to you because there is no ultimate weeding tool. Hard packed soil makes weeding difficult so moisten or aerate the earth before starting that chore.

7] Wheelbarrow: Transporting shrubs, tools and earth is hard work. Lighten the load by using a wheelbarrow. Your back will thank you.

8] Garden Hose: The hose should be long enough to bring water to the farthest point of the garden.

9] Adjustable Hose Nozzle: Newly planted vegetation and freshly sown seeds need watering. Ideally, a watering can is best because it delivers water gently. However, a hose, adjusted for low water pressure and attached to a nozzle that is tuned to a fine mist, works just as well and requires less effort.

10] Gardening Gloves: Gloves keep hands and fingernails clean, prevent the formation of hand callouses and protect hands from thorns. Rugged gloves are best for digging with a trowel, shovel or spade but they do not allow for fine work such as planting seedlings. Soft leather gloves made from goat skin or pig skin mold to the hand and allow full use of fine motor skills. They are not easily found and are usually sold in women’s sizes only. Don’t give up the search! Once you’ve tried them, you won’t want to wear anything else on your hands.

11] Kneeling Pad: Something must come between the ground and your kneecaps. A flat spongy kneeling pad is more comfortable than wearing knee pads.

Quality of Tools: Buy the best quality that your budget allows. Better tools last longer and make work easier.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

I purchased your #5 item "trench foot" My first time using it was to dig a sizable trench. It was a bit easier to make the edging slices, more accurate positioning and easier to force the blade at a consistant angle. When it came to digging past the spade's depth the step got in the way.

I recall having pain in my knee for quite sometime afterward. I do not suffer instep pain so a plain shovel is alright for me. Perhaps I should give the product another try for edging and transplanting. I would not recommend this for your work horse digging projects.

For me it caused pain in my knee, Perhaps for someone who already suffers pain on the underside of the foot

February 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>