3 Tools Every Gardener Should Have

It’s easy to get carried away with a gardening venture and buy every tool and gadget available on the market. But are they all necessary for success? In reality, a beginning gardener needs these three basic tools:

  1. Hoe
  2. Watering can or hose
  3. Thermometer–Hygrometer

A gardener’s “series of unfortunate events”

In a garden, the wind can blow things away, the sun can burn our plants, the rain can drown them, and our hectic lifestyles often lead to a fair bit of neglect.

Let’s face it: gardening, whether pursued as a profession or a hobby, can be expensive. Why not spare the money whenever possible?

The Garden Hoe

Garden tool

Many people will use a shovel or rake to open little furrows for their delicate seeds. But a shovel is excellent for digging holes and piling dirt and a rake is handy for leveling light-textured soil.

The hoe, on the other hand, is the ultimate tool. Regardless of its shape, you’ll be able to use it in virtually every stage throughout the growing season.

Dig with it, open furrows, fluff up the crusty soil around your plants’ feet so that water can better access their roots, or use it to bend that high branch of your fig tree that’s loaded with fruit and you wouldn’t be able to reach without a ladder.

In other words, it’ll be hard for you to come by a day when the blessed hoe won’t be asked to leave the shack and get dirty, so buy yourself one and get growing.

The Watering Can or Hose

Garden tool

Many gardeners have a hose at their disposal, especially if they have many plants and/or a yard. People with small gardens don’t need one and will instead opt for a good watering can, which is always a good tool to have, no matter what size your property is. Some common problems with a hose include:

  • The pressure being a little high or at least not entirely controllable;
  • Muddy drops all over the leaves, having a negative impact on gas exchange and photosynthesis rates;
  • Wastage of water when compared to the methodic application via watering can;
  • Gradual impermeabilization of the soil;
  • And the dreaded destruction of plants by running them over with a stiff hose.

As your skills improve and your garden beds become larger, an upgrade to your watering system will be necessary.

Once you get there, find a decently sized hose with a good nozzle; you could also give sprinklers a chance. The choices are plentiful, so feel free to choose anything that suits your requirements.

The Thermometer–Hygrometer

Garden tool

More experienced gardeners know better than to be fooled by the local weather forecast that seems to change every hour, anyway. Serious gardeners can learn every detail about their soil with a thermometer and hygrometer.

I have long used these tools on my balcony’s flower stand. Once you install them, you’ll be amazed how often your eyes will wander towards the pointers that fluctuate from dawn till dusk.

Using the hygrometer’s clues for relative humidity, you can play with how your plants respond to the temperatures around them. Knowing that high moisture levels when the temperatures are highest will protect your flowers against quick dehydration, you’ll learn to keep a spray bottle nearby.

During cold winters, the effects of low temperature are also best prevented by increasing the relative air humidity. Once the mornings become chilly and there is little rain, wake up early and give your plants a drink to keep them free of rime-induced frost burns.

Be sure to shield these instruments from direct sunlight, as the hot rays can cause the values to jump. Place them on a clean surface by your indoor flowerpots or outside in the garden, open to the air but not touching soil, leaves, and water.

In the right conditions, they work flawlessly, and technical gadgets such as these help us better understand how the needs of our plants change throughout the year.

You need very few tools to get growing. Keep it smart and minimalist. Allow entanglement to sprout naturally in your garden, not inside your head.

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Ricardo Elisiário is a frenetic freelance writer for hire. He should probably act more like the agricultural engineer he is, yet you’ll find him creating copy and content for websites, print, and his own amusement, as he’s up to becoming the new Dickens someday. To find out more about this Lisbon-born wifey-lover, visit his website or say hello @rmelisiario.