16 essential tools for every gardener

  • By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, January 28, 2014 4:25pm
  • Life

It’s time to think about gardening.

The days are getting longer, weather forecasts call for an early spring and the weeds are coming on strong. A garden cleanup should be on the weekend agenda.

For new gardeners just getting into this satisfying endeavor, a list of good tools may be helpful.

Visit your local nursery for help or talk to garden tool vendors at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Feb. 5 through 9 at the Washington State Convention Center, Seventh and Pike, Seattle.

Cheryl Bonsen, the buyer for Christianson’s Nursery near La Conner, and Steve Smith, owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, offered tips that resulted in the following list of 16 essentials.

1. Gloves. Unless you like dirt under your fingernails, slug slime on your plans and scratches across the backs of your hands, gloves are the first essential. Try the form-fitting, washable gloves with palms and fingers that are coated with nitrile, a tough, but flexible synthetic rubber. Leather pruning gloves are good, too.

2. Trowel. Everybody needs a hand-held shovel. Even better if it has a ruler on the spade in case you need to keep track of how deep to dig a hole.

3. Hori hori knife. Hori means “to dig” in Japanese. But use the knife to divide perennials, chop off the bottoms of roots that have been too long in pots and dig up dead plants. Great in our Northwest clay soil. Be careful, the hori hori is sharp.

4. Nejiri weeder. Sharp blade for one-handed weeding in raised beds.

5. Claw. A three-pronged claw is great when working in those raised beds. Lean over and really turn that soil over.

6. Dibble. Use it to press the soil down to plant your seeds, either in pots headed for the greenhouse or cold frame, or sown straight into your garden later in the spring. The most delightful dibbles are made of wood.

7. Hand pruners and folding saw. Trim fruit tree branches, rose bushes and perennials. If you have a pair from last season, be sure to clean, sharpen and oil your pruners.

8. Hand rake. Get under your rhododendron and get the dead stuff out.

9. Knee pads. The best way to protect your bones while you’re under the rhody.

10. Totes. Move your stuff with 5-gallon buckets, baskets, wheelbarrows with two wheels out in front, pop-up bins or foldable, tarplike sacks.

11. Sun hat. Sunburned necks and noses are not pretty.

12. Boots. Especially in our climate, barn boots, garden boots or clogs are worth it. They will last longer that those scummy slip-on tennis shoes left over from last summer’s beach trips. Crocs are good in the summer.

13. Watering. Lightweight hoses, spray wands and a watering can with a spray nozzle.

14. Big shovel, big rake and a stirrup or hula hoe. Deal with weeds in large garden plots.

15. Sluggo and Bobbex deer repellent. Get those pests out of your vegetables, berries and fruit trees.

16. Books: Sunset’s “Western Garden Book” and “Gardening with Native Plants” by Arthur Kruckeburg. Everybody needs a bible.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

More in Life

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Plant of Merit: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ Japanese aralia

What: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ or variegated Japanese aralia, is an evergreen shrub… Continue reading

Don’t call Justice Brewing owner a gypsy — he’s just ‘homeless’

After an unexpected hardship, owner Nate McLaughlin won’t be moving his brewery to downtown Everett.

A mild December makes for easy winter cleanup in the garden

If you haven’t finished your November gardening tasks, here’s a list of chores to do this month.

Beer of the Week: Justice Brewing’s Outlook F——d, Northeast IPA

The brewery’s new beer with a vulgar name is a tropical IPA that riffs off its Outlook Hazy recipe.

Yummy Banh Mi offers cheap sandwiches with rich flavor

Classic Vietnamese meets fast food at new restaurant in downtown Everett.

Daughter’s friend is forbidden from attending social events

Adapted from a recent online discussion. Hi, Carolyn: My daughter, 11, has… Continue reading

Today in History: Dec. 11

Today is Monday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2017. There are… Continue reading

Most Read