Tools are something that, with good care, can last you for years. It truly pays to invest in good tools and take care of them. For small gardens, you can get by with hand tools. In dealing with raised beds there are but a half dozen tools you’ll need.
Pass by those cheap tools at dollar stores. They may be a dollar, but over five years they’re $5 or more in my experience, because they break. Better to spend $10 on a good, heavy set of hand trowels that will last you years.
Good quality older tools can sometimes be found in thrift shops and auctions. A little rust isn’t an issue, and you can save a great deal if you know what you’re looking for.Don’t shy away from a broken handle – those are not difficult to replace.
The most used tools here – good hand trowels, a garden rake, hoe, shovel, wheelbarrow and a good attitude.If you have the extra, a good pitchfork to turn over compost can be an asset. A light tined yard rake can also help.
Get a hoe that is comfortable for your hands. If you don’t like the wood or fiberglass handle, consider taking some foam, or Vetrap (found in the animal care section) and wrapping the ‘working end’ of the handle for a softer, more textured grip.
Likewise, choose your garden rake with care. You won’t use it daily, but when you need it to break up soil, cover seeds and smooth planting beds, you’ll be glad for having a good one.
A shovel is used for moving soil, tilling and turning over compost and moving compost, soil and manure. Forged tools are better, especially in the case of shovels. These will have a welded reinforced area that the handle attaches to, and are a little heavier and much more durable than stamped tools.
Some say a wheelbarrow is an extra, but after moving manure by a carry bucket for years, a wheelbarrow is an asset! Be it a one wheeled one or a heavy two wheeled garden cart, it will get a workout. Like your other tools, get the heavier ones that last. A very light duty wheelbarrow may be all you need to transport small amounts of soil, mix seed starter materials and other light applications. However, if you envision getting into heavier gardening, if you plan on raising small livestock to compost the manure or there’s a possibility of using it for more than gardening, get a heavier duty contractor’s wheelbarrow. Generally these are made to be used daily, and are a bit better made.
These tools can be invaluable. Choose them well, make them tools that will last a lifetime.