What you need for spring gardening
Spring gardening essentials
Spring is finally here, which means it’s time to get outside and cultivate your lawn and home garden. With the warming weather and April showers, it’s the ideal season for growing your favorite plants, flowers and vegetables. What’s more, you don’t need a green thumb to build the garden of your dreams — just the right tools and materials for the job.
From wheelbarrows to soil fertilizer, we’ve rounded up some essential items that will make your home gardening both easier and more successful.
Plan your garden
Before jumping to invest in gardening tools, it’s worth thinking about what kind of garden you want to grow. Gardens can come in all different shapes, sizes and varieties, and which type you plan to cultivate will largely determine the kinds of materials you’ll need.
As its name suggests, an in-ground garden is one that sits in the ground. It’s the most common kind out there, and the one most people think of when they hear “garden.” In-ground gardens are great for anyone with plenty of yard space and access to water.
If your ground soil isn’t healthy or plentiful enough to support flora, a raised garden is a good alternative. These gardens involve building raised walls in which fresh soil sits, keeping it separate from the ground below.
If you’d rather not use soil at all, try a hydroponic garden. These rely entirely on water to grow plants, and while they can be more complicated than traditional soil gardens, they’re a good option for anyone who doesn’t have space to grow a garden outdoors.
Other garden details
Of course, in addition to the type of garden you plan to build, you should also decide what you’ll grow in it. Maybe you want a garden to showcase your favorite flowers, or to produce fruits, vegetables and herbs to feed your family. You may want to consider employing organic gardening techniques as well, including composting, recycling yard waste, and using natural fertilizers and pesticides.
A gardener is nothing without a good set of hand tools. They’re essential for some of gardening's most important tasks, from tilling and turning over soil to pruning and trimming flora. There’s a huge variety of garden tools out there, but here are a few essential types you should keep in your tool shed year-round.
Garden trowel and fork
Perhaps the most important of all gardening tools, a trowel and fork go hand in hand. The curved shovel of the former makes it easy to dig holes in the soil, while the three prongs of the latter lets you till the bed for planting.
If you want to keep your garden looking nice and tidy, a pair of pruning shears are a must. They’ll let you trim the branches of all kinds of plants, from shrubs to small trees. They also come with varying handle lengths, which can give you more or less leverage depending on the kind of plant you’re pruning.
Garden hoe and rake
If you’re tending to a larger garden plot, you might want a few longer tools to make your job easier. A garden hoe with a full-size handle will let you dig and turn soil without having to crouch or bend, while a rake will allow you to quickly prepare a large area for planting in the same fashion.
While you can certainly buy all of these tools separately, you may find it easier to just buy a set that includes them all. We especially like this Pure Garden 8-Piece Garden Tool and Tote Set, which comes with a number of high-quality, rust-resistant pieces in a convenient carry bag.
Seeds and fertilizers
When it comes time to decide what to plant in your garden, the options are endless. You can get seeds for heirloom fruits and vegetables, organic herbs, or annual or perennial flowers. For beginners, it might be easiest to pick up a starter pack of seeds, such as this Back to the Roots Organic Herbs and Vegetables Variety.
Before and after you plant your seeds, it’s also a good idea to prep and treat your soil to ensure optimal growing conditions. This is especially true in climates where the soil is lacking in nutrients and moisture. You can use a soil meter to determine the pH and moisture level in the soil, then add some seed starter or plant food to create the perfect environment.
Beyond the basics, there are other tools and accessories that will help make your job easier — and your garden thrive. Unless you want to get your hands dirty, gloves are an absolute necessity. We love these Digz Medium Adjustable Wrist Grip Gloves, which feature protective polyurethane palms that shield your hands from thorns and rocks.
To keep your plants healthy and hydrated, you’ll also want an easy way to water your garden. A hose — such as this Rocky Mountain Soaker Hose, which is constructed of flexible PVC for maneuvering in tight areas — will help.
Finally, depending on how big your garden will be, you’ll likely need a wheelbarrow to move all that soil around. This Simplay3 Easy Haul Plastic Wheelbarrow even comes with a storage tray for organizing and carrying your tools and fertilizers.
Chase Brush is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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