Q: What hand tools do I need for my garden?

A: There are many fancy garden tools on the market, but basic tools, when kept clean and sharp, are some of the most valuable. You might even find they are all you need for your garden!

Lightweight gloves are one of the most beneficial gardening tools and are available at nearly any hardware or big-box store. Snug-fitting gloves with nylon and latex fingers allow you to feel the plants as you work and are great for year-round gardening. Attach them to a belt loop with a glove clip to keep them handy. Keep a bandana in your pocket to wipe away sweat and dirt.

My favorite pruners are Felco No. 2 bypass clippers with a case that clips to pockets for easy access. They are durable and the blades can be sharpened and replaced to extend the life of the clippers.

Use a hand trowel with a sturdy steel blade for planting small plants and fine tuning around the garden. A Cape Cod-style weeding tool is best for removing pesky weeds.

If you’re just starting out and not ready to buy tools, the Little Blue Library at Mercer Botanic Gardens now offers a tool-lending library! Shovels, spades, clippers and even wheelbarrows are available to borrow for a two-week checkout period. Come on by to grab a gardening book and some tools and get to work!

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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