Essential Tools for the Vegetable Garden

Walk into any garden center or flip through a garden supply catalog and you are bound to see an overwhelming number of garden tools. From hedge shears to hukari knives there is a tool for every task. When it comes to vegetable gardening there are seven essential tools you want to have on hand – a trowel, sharp shooter, garden fork, watering wand, hand pruners, staking materials, and twine.

Trowel – A trowel makes actions like digging, mixing and planting easier on you because it’s basically used as an extension of your hand.

Sharp Shooter – To create deeper, more precise holes, you’ll need a sharp shooter. This is a specific type of shovel with a long, narrow blade. It provides you with more leverage than a trowel and more control than a large garden shovel.

Garden Fork – Another great tool for working with the soil is a garden fork. Its primary function is to loosen or turn over soil, but it can also be used to rake out weeds or large rocks.

Watering Wand – Once your plants are in place, you will really appreciate the value of a watering wand. This tool allows you to be more precise in the amount of water applied to a particular area, which means more consistent watering with less waste. It also prevents some of the achy muscles associated with bending and stretching to water those hard-to-reach areas.

Hand Pruners – There’s nothing better than a great pair of pruners to manage the size and shape of individual plants. This is especially true when it comes to the lanky varieties that can easily over grow their bed companions. They are also handy for harvesting fruits and veggies with tough stems like tomatoes and peppers.

Staking and Twine – The last two things that every gardener needs to have on hand are staking materials and twine. These two work together to keep your vegetable garden in order. First, they provide an area for climbing plants to grow. And secondly, they create an aesthetic design element as a focal point in the garden.

Having the right tool for the job simplifies things and will ultimately give you more time to enjoy your garden.

25 Responses to Essential Tools for the Vegetable Garden

  1. Kathy says:

    You reminded me how important the sharp shooter shovel is for digging. I volunteered at Missouri Botanical Gardens and my mentor showed me the beauty of this shovel. Thanks for the reminder. Now I just need to find one.

    • Judy H says:

      Kathy, I bought a tool at the MO Bot Garden Gate Shop called an NRG pro transplanter. It was kind of expensive, but 20% off for volunteers, and no tax, you can’t beat it!

      There’s also a tool called a post hole digger which looks just like the sharp shooter pictured. I bought one many years ago to, of course, dig post holes. It’s probably available at farmers’ supply stores, or maybe Lowe’s or Home Depot. Judy H, St Louis

  2. Carolyn Konrad says:

    Thank you, Allen, for including simple, basic tools. I especially appreciate bamboo stakes and twine. In this time of high tech madness and marketing, even in the garden, simple solutions are the best. Thanks for keeping us true to simplicity.

  3. Carolyn Webb says:

    With arthritis the water wand is very handy.

  4. Linda Lyle says:

    Keeping tools sharp has been a problem for me and I discovered an easy tool sharpener this fall that allowed me to keep my pruners sharp without using the emery wheel. I didn’t know the name of the sharp shooter and I have two.

  5. Mary McIntosh says:

    where can I get bamboo stakes?

  6. Genevieve Straughan says:

    You have me thinking of Spring. Our tools are cleaned and ready for some Sq. Ft. Gardening. I have an old 1981 Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Bartholomew that is well worn. I did a lot of transplant seedings. We were a family of 5 out in California in those days. Our 5 squares produced what we needed and made an attractive addition to our yard area. My husband and I are in our late 70’s now. But, we manage to still plant a few of our favorite things. I enjoy your emails…….

  7. SanJoseBob says:

    Enlighten me please! I wanted to build two 8′ X 4′ X 3′ boxes in my backyard as it’s getting harder to bend over at age 67. I wanted to know if I should put “corner brackets” on each of the “Butt or Mitered” joints to strengthen joints? Also I was thinking of laying down “Chicken wire” on bottom of boxes to prevent Gophers or Moles from coming through, is this a valid idea? Would the boxes or plants benefit by me lining boxes with “Black Plastic” sheeting? Please advise, SJB.

  8. Linda Lyle says:

    Elaine: It is the “All in 1 Pruner, Knife and Tool Sharpener” made by Bryers’. If you are nervious about using power tools, this is much safer to use. I got it from Gardeners Supply, but you probably can find it almost anywhere. At this post we have about 6″ of snow here in mid-south Missouri and it is still snowing. How’s everyone doing?

  9. Vanita Bries says:

    Did you forget the hoe? I wouldn’t garden without out.

  10. Jill says:

    You forgot the most important tool of all once the garden is planted: a picking basket to collect the veggies you grow!

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