Even on the smallest scale, gardening is far easier and more enjoyable when using the proper tools for the job. But knowing what tool is best for each task can be a bit overwhelming with the sheer multitude of implements out there. Here are some of Burpee's useful and unique garden tools and how to use them.
If all-purpose tools reign supreme in the home garden, then the hori-hori (aka soil knife) could be considered the king of garden tools. With its unique serrated edge, cutting notch and built-in measurer, the hori-hori is handy for everything from tilling to planting to harvesting. Originating in Japan, these sturdy tools are easy to use and cut through the soil with ease; the serrated edge allows you to saw through tough rootbound or hardpan soil without hesitation.
If you don't need quite as much from a hand-held shovel, enter the stainless steel transplanter. These narrow yet sturdy tools allow for easy digging, shoveling, scooping and measuring. This transplanter is great for use when transplanting seedlings from seed trays into the garden soil or starter plants into pottery and flower boxes. Unlike many other planters, measurements are listed in both inches and centimeters for easy conversion while planting.
When it comes to unique garden tools, the dibbler is a fantastically simple and easy-to-use tool for planting small bulbs in even the toughest soils. To use, plunge the stake into the soil until it reaches the preferred depth as per the indicator marks. After placing the bulb, cover it using new soil and you're all set! The dibbler is great for planting many small bulbs, such as garlic, onion starters, crocus or Siberian irises, but it's equally helpful when planting larger seeds like beans and corn.
If you're looking to plant many larger-sized bulbs such as daffodils or tulips, the bulb planter is the perfect tool for the task. This device is best used in loamy, loosened garden soil. You press it down into the soil until it reaches the desired depth, giving it a 90-degree twist before lifting it from the soil. After you've placed the bulb, you can deposit the soil back into the hole.
While larger rakes are great for raking leaves in larger spaces, smaller, more cramped locations in the yard require something with a bit more precision. A five-tine hand rake is an excellent tool for such situations. The long tines or "teeth" of this small rake allow for easy cleanup of leaves and debris when lightly raked across the soil. To rake deeper into the soil or even plow, simply push the stiff steel tines into the soil and pull along the surface.
To make light work of deep, tap-rooted weeds such as dandelions and thistles, the stainless steel weeder is an easy choice. To use, push the prongs down into the soil about a half-inch from the weed and pull backward. As the weeder's teeth grab the root, you should hear a slight popping sound, and the plant can be removed without disturbing the surrounding soil. Using a weeder helps to remove most of the root, making it less likely to grow back.
Let's face it, working in the yard for any length of time is hard work and even harder on the knees! The kneeler seat is designed to not only function as a pad to kneel on while digging in the soil but can also be flipped over and converted into a seat. What puts this seat above the rest is its ability to fold up when not in use.
Altogether, these unique garden tools make an excellent set to get started in the yard and are sure to last many years.
For information on how to take care of your tools, check out Burpee's article on how to clean garden tools and make them last.