12 Tools You Need For National Gardening Day

National Gardening Day is April 14, and it's the perfect day to start preparing or planting your own garden. These 12 tools will help you get started.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

Did you know April 14 is National Gardening Day? Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a newcomer just getting started, April 14 is the perfect day to celebrate the joy of planting your own garden.

Depending on where you live, April 14 might also be the perfect day for preparing or planting a garden. Of course, gardening is much easier when you’re equipped with proper tools. If you’re just getting started, we’ve compiled a list of 12 helpful tools to have.

You don’t necessarily need them all to begin with (especially if you’re starting small). But diving in with both feet isn’t a bad strategy either.

Let’s explore some tools for a great National Gardening Day!

Read more: Ready to get gardening? Early spring is the right time to plant these crops.


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  1. Digging Shovel or Spade

A digging shovel or spade is perfect for digging up the ground at the start of a project, whether you’re preparing your garden area or digging a large hole for a shrub or tree. They’ll slice through sod and remove loose rocks so you can prepare the perfect planting space.

  1. Garden Fork

Similar to a spade, but with tines instead of a solid blade, a garden fork (also known as a spading fork or digging fork) is another great tool for turning over the soil and removing rocks.

  1. Rake

There are many types of rakes you might need. A leaf rake is useful for cleaning up leaves and grass clippings. A bow rake is a tougher tool, though, perfect for removing rocks and smoothing soil.

  1. Draw Hoe & (or) Scuffle Hoe

As with rakes, hoes come in many styles. Draw hoes are suited for breaking up and working the soil. Scuffle hoes are geared more toward removing weeds.

Depending on the size of your garden and the extent of your ambitions, you might want to have multiple types of hoes on hand to cover all the bases.

  1. Trowel

Sometimes a shovel is bigger than you need. That’s what a trowel comes in handy.

It’s essentially a small handheld shovel perfect for digging small holes and weeding. Transplanting seedlings? A trowel might be just the tool you need.

  1. Hand Cultivators

Hand cultivators come in many different styles. They’re commonly shaped like miniature garden forks or rakes, with tines of varying numbers, shapes and sizes.

In any case, they’re suitable for one-handed soil cultivation (including weeding, mixing and more) on a small scale.

  1. Pruning Shears/Loppers

When pruning small plants, pruning shears (which fit in the palm of your hand) are a great tool. For pruning larger, woodier growth, pruning loppers (with two-handed operation) are the tool of choice.

Be sure to opt for bypass pruners (as opposed to anvil pruners) when trimming live growth. Bypass pruners leave a cleaner cut suitable for quick healing.

Read more: What are the differences between pruning shears and loppers?


  1. Watering Can, Garden Hose, Etc.

Plants won’t grow without water. So keep your garden happy with one or more convenient watering options.

For a small garden, a watering can might be all you need. For larger plantings, a garden hose (preferably with an adjustable wand on the end to control the intensity of the flow) can be a timesaver.

  1. Wheelbarrow, Gardening Gart, Etc.

For moving soil and compost into your garden (or weeds and rocks out of it), a wheelbarrow or gardening cart is a great option. Naturally, they come in many varieties.

Should a wheelbarrow have one or two wheels? Should a gardening cart be constructed from metal or polypropylene? Conduct a little research to choose the best option for your needs.

  1. Bamboo Pole Planter

You don’t have to purchase  every tool specifically from a store. A bamboo pole (or something similar) and a single clothespin can create a simple, adjustable tool for planting seeds to the correct depth.

Check out our explainer for more information on building a bamboo pole planter.

  1. Tape Measure

It’s important to provide each plant with enough room to grow. A tape measure is handy for spacing seeds and seedlings appropriately for their mature size.

  1. Gloves and Safety Glasses

Don’t forget about personal protection! Keep your hands safe with a pair of gloves. And wear safety glasses if there’s any risk of eye injury.

Have a happy National Gardening Day!

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