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The Essential Gardening Toolbox

Aug 17, 2007
Different kinds of gardens require the use of different kinds of garden tools. Hardware stores mostly offer a wide range of gardening tools, but you can find stores that specialize in the more expensive, and higher quality gardening tool. Whatever your budget and committment to your garden may be, you can't go wrong with a few pointers to guide you.

The first factor: Do you have large garden or a small one? For a small garden you will not need the same bulky equipment that you would use if you had an extensive one. A ride-on mower is unnecessary if you only have a small strip of lawn. Afurther factor to bear in mind is who does most of the gardening? Some equipment is heavy, and may not be easily managed by less muscular or some elderly folk.

When you buy secateurs, ensure that the blade always stays sharp to avoid damaging the plant. Look for models that have blades that can be sharpened or replaced, models with tension control and, an equally practical but often unconsidered fator, choose ones that best fit the size of your hands, and that feel comfortable to use. Good secateurs will normally cost you from $50 to $130.

Hedge trimmers or shears are handy, but only if you have a hedge, or plan on growing one. Some hedge trimmers are equipped with curved blades to stop branches from sliding out when cut.

Garden forks are used for turning and aerating compost and breaking up lumps of soil. Note that the cheaper ones are often not strong enough to handle heavy soil, so shop for sturdiness instead of price. Forks usually cost from around $30 to $100.

A shovel features a scoop blade and is best used transport small quantities of dirt and garden soil. A spade, on the other hand, sports a flat blade, which is ideal for cutting edges and digging and separating plants. The edge of a spade should be kept sharpened because clean and efficient cutting will cause the least amount of damage to plants. A spade and a shovel are basic garden necessities and will probably cost you around 30 to 50 dollars.

A pruning saw is employed for pruning trees and larger shrubs, whereas secateurs are used for plants such as roses. A pruning saw a narrow curved blade that fits easily between stems or branches and cuts them as you pull the saw back towards yourself. They cost approximately $27 to $55.

The chipping hoe remains a handy tool for getting rid of small weeds. The Dutch or push-hoe is slightly more user-friendly as the action required to use it does not jar the neck and shoulder quite so fiercely.

A rake is another fundamental piece of equipment for the garden. A strong rake with a flat head and sharp metal prongs is used for smoothing a garden bed and digging out the last of the bumps and weeds. The plastic rake can really only be used to gather leaves and grass cuttings.

Gardening tools don't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Flea markets and garage sales can be excellent places to pick up great tool bargain.
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