How to Use Gardening Equipment

Gardening is an activity and a skill that has numerous applications. Knowing how to garden will allow you to grow some of your own food in a backyard vegetable patch or herb garden, which will offset your grocery costs. Gardening can also be applied towards creating lush, inviting landscapes around homes and businesses. There are many facets to gardening knowledge, and one of the most fundamental is knowing how to use gardening equipment. A working knowledge of how gardening tools are used will give you an adequate foundation to begin pursuing gardening as a hobby or a livelihood.


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    Learn how to use gardening tools designed for moving and preparing the soil. The garden tools that you will likely use most often are the ones designed to help you work your garden's soil. There are several essential tools of this type.
    • Spades and shovels are long-handled tools designed for digging and moving soil. Spades have narrower, sharper blades that are designed for digging through tough, compacted soil, while the broad, curved blade of the shovel makes it ideal for scooping and moving loose soil.
    • A hand trowel performs tasks similar to a long-handled spade, but it is designed for close-up, one-handed use. Use a hand trowel to dig individual furrows for planting seeds as well as digging up unwanted weeds.
    • A hoe is a long-handled tool with a square blade positioned at a right angle to the handle. Hoes are primarily used for breaking up the surface of soil, which kills weeds and prevents the soil from getting too compacted.
    • A garden fork is a long-handled tool that looks like a pitchfork with short, thick tines. This tool can be used to aerate soil. It can also be used in conjunction with spades and shovels for digging into and working with dense, compacted soil.
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    Familiarize yourself with the garden tools necessary for watering your plants. Watering plants is an essential gardening task, and there are 2 primary tools used for this purpose.
    • The most basic and economical tool for watering plants is a watering can. Watering cans have the advantage of being portable and providing minute control over the amount of water poured. This tool is excellent for watering indoor plants, plants grown in containers, or small patches of flowers or vegetables.
    • A larger, more powerful tool for watering plants is a garden hose. These long, flexible hoses allow you to direct a large amount of water to a specific area. A hose can also be attached to a sprinkler for watering a large area such as a grassy lawn. Using a garden hose will require access to a spigot.
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    Learn about the use of gardening tools designed to help you maintain plants as they grow. In addition to watering plants and controlling weed growth, you will often need to trim or otherwise maintain plants for aesthetic or health reasons.
    • Pruners are an essential tool for cutting plant stems. Plants can be pruned for several reasons, including removing dead or diseased portions of the plant and shaping the plant by controlling its growth direction. Pruners are available in various sizes, from small one-handed models to large pruners often called "loppers."
    • Shears are similar to pruners, but have much longer blades. This tool is used primarily for shaping plants like bushes in a hedgerow.
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    Expand your knowledge and collection of garden tools as your needs dictate. There are many additional pieces of gardening equipment not mentioned above, including wheelbarrows, rakes, string trimmers (also called weed eaters), and lawnmowers. Many of these larger tools will be unnecessary for small applications like indoor container gardening, and therefore you should introduce them into your gardening work only as your needs require.


  • The wooden handles of many garden tools can be kept from cracking and drying by the application of linseed oil.
  • A stiff steel-bristled brush can be used to clean the blades of garden tools.
  • Careful consideration must be taken when pruning plants to avoid exposing the cut portions to pathogens that can infect the plant. In general, strive to make the surface area of the cut as small as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Hand trowel
  • Hoe
  • Garden fork
  • Watering can
  • Garden hose
  • Pruners
  • Shears
  • Linseed oil
  • Steel-bristled brush

Article Info

Categories: Gardening