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Tools and Supplies for Growing Vegetables

Good garden tools are a basic investment for even the casual gardener. With good quality tools, gardening becomes easier and more fun; without the proper tool, frustration and increased effort is the order of the day. Don't buy simply on price; rather, take your time, study the tools you like, and purchase the best one (which is not always the most expensive one). Well maintained, good quality garden tools will last a lifetime and easily pay for themselves. Here are some of the tools that we have and how we use them.

A Few Basics Tools for Starting Seeds Inside:

Tools for starting seeds can be as basic as using common ordinary things that you find around your house.

Here is a list of items for the frugal gardener:

• Containers for planting seeds like clean plastic food containers, egg cartons, take home restaurant food containers and plastic or Styrofoam cups. Don’t forget to save pots and containers from your plants you purchased from your local nursery or garden center.

• An awe or a pointed object for making drainage holes in plastic containers or cups.

• Plant markers can be made from plastic containers or plastic utensils and Popsicle sticks can be used. Use a permanent black marker for labeling your plant markers.

• Old measuring cups or clean plastic food containers can be used to scoop up soil mix for filling your pots and seed starting containers.

• A chopstick or eraser end of a pencil can be used to poke holes in the soil for planting larger seeds.

• Clear plastic bags can be used as a green house to keep seedlings warm.

• A watering can that is used for houseplants can be used for watering your seedlings.

• A tongue depressor can be used for lifting out tiny seedling plants for repotting them into larger pots or containers.

Here are a few additional items to purchase for starting seeds:

• A florescent fixture with two grow light tubes installed can be hung over your seedlings to get them started and to keep the seedlings warm. Using white cardboard on each side of the grow lights can reflect the light onto the seedlings to help them grow up straight.

• For starting seeds, a seed tray kit that comes with a clear dome, plastic tray and cell packs.

• Peat pots for starting up larger seeds or repotting seedlings.

• A thermometer for measuring the correct temperature for germinating your seeds.

• A tweezers for picking up individual seeds.

• A seed dispenser for planting very small seeds

• A cold frame for starting seeds outside or hardening off seedlings.

Now all you need is seeds and a bag of seed starting soil mix.
Let’s get planting!

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Basic Tools for Getting your Garden Bed Prepared For Planting

• A spade shovel with a 6-foot handle to be used for turning over the soil.

• A triangular-headed hoe to make furrows in the soil. In our case we use a hoe for making furrows for the soaker hoses.

• A steel rake with fixed tines for raking the garden smooth.

• Hand held fertilizer spreader for dispensing the granular fertilizer onto the garden bed.

• A rototiller can come in handy for breaking up, loosening and mixing amendments into the soil.

• A scissors, knife or box cutter for opening bags of soil or fertilizer.

• A single tire wheel barrow for hauling soil and other materials.

Additional tools will be needed if you use Our Veggie Garden method for your garden bed. Click here to find out more.

Basic Tools for Planting Seeds and Plants into the Garden

• A plant thermometer for checking if the soil outside is warm enough for planting seeds.

• A good quality trowel that is comfortable to hold. The blade of the trowel should fit securely into the handle. I use two different types of trowels, a narrow blade for tight spaces and a wider trowel for most digging tasks. If you have wrist problems or arthritis, an ergonomic trowel might be a good choice especially if you do a lot of hand digging.

• A three-prong cultivator. I use a short handle cultivator for small tight areas and a long handle cultivator for saving my back when I’m working up soil in larger areas around plants.

• A dibble tool is a good tool to have for making holes in soil for planting seedlings.

• A yardstick for measuring your rows and spacing your plants in the garden. A measuring rod can also be made from a 3-foot dowel or piece of wood. Make notches into the wood every 3 to 6-inches. Lay the rod onto the ground and use the marks to determine your spacing for your plants.

• To label plants or rows, use plastic or wooden plant markers to identify what you have planted. Plant markers can be purchased from garden centers or made from recycled materials like Popsicle sticks. Another way is to use old wooden blinds for plants stakes. Remove the ropes and hardware holding them together and cut each wooden slat into 6 to 8 inch pieces. Cut a point on one of the ends to make it easier to push it into the soil. Use a permanent marker to label each stake.

• To keep your rows straight, use a garden line made from two stakes and a piece of string or twine tied to each stake.

• After the seeds and seedlings are planted you will need a watering can to sprinkle water onto your plants. I find that a plastic can with a removable sprinkling head works best. It’s lightweight and durable.

• Support plants with stakes made of narrow scrap wood, wooden dowels or green plastic covered metal poles. Use plastic coated twist ties, twine or old knee high stockings to tie plants to stakes.

• A hammer comes in handy for pounding in wooden or metal stakes.

• Support plants such as tomatoes with vegetable cages. We use the heavier zinc plated square cage that folds flat for storage.

• For climbing plants such as pickles we use a metal garden trellis. Or a garden ladder trellis can be used for supporting squash vines.

• A stand up bulb planter is a great tool for digging holes for young plants.

• Kneeling pads either made of soft waterproof foam or even an old cushion can be used for saving your knees in the garden.

• For container gardening, you will need pots and planters.

• Garden seat/tool bucket (info coming soon) can be purchased at your local sporting goods store can be used in the garden for both sitting on and storing your hand tools.

Some Items to Wear While Working in the Garden

• A pair of cotton garden gloves for everyday tasks and a pair of cotton knit gloves with a double-dipped latex coating for working in wet soil or damp conditions.

• Gardening clogs or rubber boots with a nonskid sole.

• For hauling around smaller tools a garden tool apron comes in handy.

• A garden hat or cap with a brim and sunglasses.

• Sunscreen.

• Insect repellent.

• Long sleeved shirt, long pants, a pair of gloves, face mask and eye protection should be used whenever chemical, organic or air born products are dispersed in the garden.

• A back support may help for lifting. Back supports are available from your local pharmacy.

Basic Tools for Watering the Garden

• Fifty-foot multi ply reinforced hose wound on a hose reel.

• A watering wand that attaches to the hose.

• A water timer.

• Soaker hoses made from recycled tires.

• A plastic watering can with a removable sprinkling head. It’s lightweight and durable.

• A water collection barrel or metal drum are great for collecting rain water that comes from the gutters on your house.

Watering cones for hand watering and fertilizing individual plants in the garden

Additional tools will be needed if you use Our Veggie Garden method for watering your garden bed. Click here to find out more.

Tools for Garden Maintenance

• A plastic sprayer either a hand pump type or one that attaches to a hose can be used for spreading liquid chemicals.

• Plastic dust shakers (info coming soon) for dusting plants with powdered chemicals.

Row cover with supports can help keep insect pests off your plants or to protect plants from light frosts.

• Clips, clamps or clothespins to attach row cover onto supports.

Tee pee cloches made from plastic or even inverted plastic containers can be placed over individual plants to protect them from light frost. To cover larger areas, burlap or worn sheets and blankets can be used over seedlings.

Harvest Time and Tools for the End of the Growing Season

• Wooden baskets with handles, plastic pails or buckets, paper grocery bags and non-breakable bowls are just a few containers you can use for harvesting your crops.

Bean picking container can free your hands up for picking legumes.

• Hand saw.

• A spade fork with four-tines is a good all-purpose fork for digging.

• A heavy wooden hammer is helpful for smashing larger stalks and roots.

• A wheelbarrow (also used in Getting your Garden Bed Prepared For Planting section above).

• A sharp pruning shears that fits comfortably in your hand.

• A thick, sharp knife, preferable stainless steel with a serrated blade, is
useful for cutting stalks, vines, roots, etc.

• A flexible fan or leaf rake for collecting leaves and plant material from the garden bed. The rake can be either plastic or metal and should have a long handle.

Tools Needed for Composting

• A compost bin made of either plastic or constructed of metal chicken wire fencing.

• A spade fork with four-tines is a good all-purpose fork for composting (also used in Harvesting section above).

• A wheelbarrow (also used in Getting your Garden Bed Prepared For Planting and Harvesting section above).

Storing Tools and Work Surface

• Tool shed made of wood, metal or plastic. Hang tools from pegboards or storage hooks. Other supplies and materials can be placed on pretreated wooden shelves. Hoses can be hung on hose racks mounted onto one of the inside walls of the shed. Additional tool hangers and holders can be purchased at your local home improvement store.

• A potting bench made of plastic or wood.

"Watch Our Garden Grow"

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