Essential Gardening Tools

Nifty tools keep you and your garden in tip-top shape.

| April/May 2007

Many years ago, I purchased an inexpensive bulb-planting tool with high expectations of making the task easier when it came time to plant more than 200 daffodils, tulips and ornamental alliums. That supposedly handy tool actually made my planting day more of a chore when it broke after planting the third bulb. That was my first lesson in learning that the garden is no exception when it comes to poorly made products—sometimes you get what you pay for.

Most of us have first-hand experience with a bad buy—a trowel that bends when digging in clay soil, a shovel or wheel-barrow that strains the back or pruners that are hard to use. A tool is no bargain when it doesn’t perform the task required. On the other hand, the right gardening tool, book or other essential tool of the trade can make gardening a lot easier and more enjoyable. Our sweat equity may be a labor of love, but where does it say that labor has to hurt?

A variety of gardening tools are available that allow you to extend your reach, work in comfort and maximize your muscle power. As you gear up for the new gardening season, keep these essentials in mind.

Handy Hand Tools

Hand tools are available that are easy to control, easy to grip and pamper your hands with cushioned handles. Finding the right fit is essential to getting maximum performance with little effort. However, tools with form-fitting, contoured handles don’t always ensure a proper fit. Gardeners with large hands may find that their fingers overlap the grooved finger grips, while gardeners with small hands will need to uncomfortably spread their fingers to match the grooves.

Radius Garden offers a line of lightweight ergonomic garden tools—including a hand trowel, bulb trowel, weeder and cultivator—designed to maximize power and comfort while minimizing stress on hands and wrists. (The cultivator and trowel are available on our shopping page.) The specially designed grip is curved to match the curve of the palm of the hand and keeps the wrist in neutral alignment for maximum power and strength with no added stress to the wrist. The aluminum-magnesium alloy blade gives the tool strength without adding weight. These features are especially beneficial to gardeners with conditions such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. As an added bonus, both the hand trowel and bulb trowel come equipped with back-blade wings that help pull weed roots and stems.

Another great find is the Fiskars Sof-touch Cultivating Tools line, including the Softouch trowel, transplanter and cultivator. These high-strength, cushioned tools feature a one-piece construction that resists rusting, bending and breaking. Gardeners with larger hands may prefer Fiskars Big Grip Cultivating Tools. They feature oversized, soft molded grips that make them easy to control, easy on the hands and even easier to find when accidentally left in a garden bed.

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