So, you’ve decided you want to try your hand at gardening and see what all the fuss is about. Whether you made your decision based on curiosity, fear of missing out, or pressure from a friend or family member, we’re glad you’re here all the same. But now you’re confused about what you need to start – what’s the different between a trowel and a shovel? Why are there so many kinds of fertilizer? In this article, we are going to clear up all the confusion surrounding what you really need to get going and maintain the health of your garden.
Before we dive in, make sure you know the kind of space you are going to garden in. If you don’t have the soil or ability to plant straight into the ground, consider buying a premade or building your own raised garden bed with just plywood and nails from your local hardware store. Also, don’t forget to look up the gardening hardiness zone that you live in; each climate and environment will better for certain plants at certain times than others. Always check the USDA Hardiness Zone Map before starting your garden journey.
These are the gardening tools you need to start your own garden.
It’s a no brainer that before you can start your garden, you are going to need the right kind of soil. While you may have healthy, nutrient-rich soil just underneath your lawn, you should still pick up a few bags of soil specific to the kind of plants you are looking to grow. There are hundreds of different kinds of garden soil, but we recommend picking up a loam that is well-reviewed in your area. This is a mix of three different types of soil: Sand, Silt, and Clay. All plants do well in this medium, so it is perfect for beginners.
Getting down and dirty in your garden with your bare hands is a beautiful act that many people enjoy, but a pair of gardening gloves will save your cuticles (and possibly even your life) in the long run. Before you know exactly what is rooting around in your soil, it’s great practice to use gloves daily; this will help avoid blisters, as well as insect bites and splinters, thus saving you from potential infections! Gloves with claw attachments are even better because they enable you to till and shape your soil with any extra tools necessary.
Everyone knows that plants need sunlight and water to survive, but exactly how are you going to give it water? Depending on your space, either pick up a large watering can, or hose nozzle attachments. Your plants, especially your seedlings, will appreciate being evenly sprayed or misted through the proper attachment, rather than being flooded with your hose stream as is. Some nozzles even have attachments where you can insert your fertilizing agent to then be diluted during the watering process.
A garden hoe a simple-looking tool you can find at every hardware and gardening store; the metal half circle attached to a long wooden stick can be used to dig small trenches and pull young weeds in large patches. A good garden hoe can even help to till your space to prepare it to have the gardening soil to be incorporated with your existing medium. These are essential if you are planning on having a vegetable garden; a garden hoe will not only help you prep your soil for vegetable seeds, but also help you harvest root veggies like carrots and potatoes.
While a garden hoe can help you pull young weeds in large spaces, its size makes it tricky to use in smaller, hard-to-reach spaces; this is what a weeder is for. The handheld tool has two prongs that you use to dig into the soil wrench up the roots of more established weeds. Using this and leverage, you can yank pesky weeds out by the roots, getting them out of your new garden once and for all.
A trowel is another handheld, multi-use tool that you’ll find yourself using almost every day in your garden. In the right hands, a garden trowel can break up soil, measure depth for digging or sowing seeds, and transplant existing flowers or crops. We highly recommend purchasing a trowel with depth markings – these will show you how many inches (or centimeters) of soil depth you have to work with at any given time.
Yes, your standard shovel will help immensely in your garden, especially in the very beginning of each season. A shovel can help you break up or remove old soil and transplant your new loam or other soil medium. If you choose to remove your plants at the end of the year, you can bring your shovel back out of storage to help you easily dig everything up much quicker than by hand.
Even experienced gardeners can overlook a good pair of scissors for the garden. Garden-specific shears can be shaped a little differently than the craft scissors in your kitchen’s junk drawer; these are usually built ambidextrous – used by either hand. Typically made of steel instead of other sharpened materials, garden scissors are great for pruning, weeding, trimming, and harvesting your hard-earned fruits, vegetables, or herbs.
Many gardening soils are packed with the necessary nutrients your seeds and baby plants need to start, but eventually, that will be completely absorbed as your plants grow. In these situations, you will need to add those substances back into the soil using fertilizer(s). We recommend sticking with all-natural, organic additives you can find either through composting or making a trip to your local garden center. Depending on your Gardening Hardiness Zone, you may need to use certain fertilizers with specific nutrients that your area is naturally lacking in, such as Nitrogen or Potassium.
If you don’t want to build a composting bin or don’t want to spend extra money on fertilizing agents, there are a ton of kitchen scraps you can use instead! Coffee grounds are packed with nitrogen and acidity, epsom salts are a great source of magnesium and sulfur, banana peels have potassium and phosphorous to give, and even crushed eggshells add in much-needed calcium. Being resourceful is what gardening is all about.
Last, but not least, you will need plants to put in your garden. Yes, you can go out and purchase starter plants with are very small, very young plants that were grown in a greenhouse. The only potential problem with this is you may not always know what is in those plants’ soil or if they have any pests, so we recommend starting with seeds. With this, you can sow your own seeds into the soil and see the progression of a plant from start to finish. Seed packets also tend to display the care requirements of each variety, so you’ll have a head start on how to be successful in what you grow.
Our own seed packets at Pure Pollination come with naturally open-pollinated and chemical free seeds and instructions on how to grow each individual fruit, vegetable, and herb. Check out our Heirloom Vegetable Seed Kit or our Culinary and Medicinal Seed Kit when you’re ready to get started!
With that, you are ready to get started in your brand-new garden hobby! Bonus tip: while you don’t need that cute garden gnome or statue to get started, we’ve found that personalizing your space only encourages you to spend more time and build your gardening habits and skills even more – so go for it!
Is there any gardening subject you have questions about or would like us to cover? Let us know in the comments or message us on our Contact Page. We post more articles every other week, so check back for more tips and tricks every month!