Our Top 10 Tools For Working The Soil

If you're going to be turning some earth, you might as well use the right tools for the job!

April 11, 2017
shovel in dirt
DonNichols/getty

Loosening your garden’s soil can be a tiresome chore. Like really, really tiresome. Depending on the size of your garden, and your general soil makeup, it can be down-right exhausting. Make it easier by using any one of these top-quality digging tools to help lighten the workload.

(Take the hard work out of gardening and let the garden do the work for you with the groundbreaking system in Lasagna Gardening—grab a copy today!)

broadfork
Photograph courtesy of amazon
Broadfork

Sometimes called a U-bar digger, this tool has anywhere from four to eight 10-inch-long tines attached to a U-shaped bar. The tines loosen the soil as you push the tool into the earth and pull it out.

We Like This: Dig It! Heavy Duty Steel Broadfork

diamond hoe
amazon
Hoes

Hoes come in dozens of shapes and sizes and serve many functions, from preparing and furrowing soil to weeding and cultivating it. Choose from the oscillating hoe, the warren hoe, or the collinear hoe, just to name a few.

We Like This: Corona Clipper Diamond Hoe

Related: Essential Tools For Beginner Gardeners

Advertisement
Advertisement
 
pickaxe
amazon
Pickaxe

This tool is a necessity when your soil is rocky or full of tree roots. Use the broad hoelike blade to pulverize small rocks and soil clods.

We Like This: 7lb. Faithful Pick Axe with Fiberglass Handle

garden rake
amazon
Rake

You’ll probably want one of each type—a steel garden rake (pictured) and a steel or bamboo leaf rake. Garden rakes make short work of leveling out ground and creating raised beds, and leaf rakes are good for spreading lightweight mulches and smoothing the finely prepared soil on top of a seedbed.

We Like This: Bully Tools 16-inch Bow Rake

Related: 8 Cool Uses For Old Garden Tools

shovel
amazon
Shovel

A must-have soil-care tool with a rounded edge. Handy for scooping compost, cutting into hard ground, and digging soil out of planting holes.

We Like This: Corona Clipper Hollow Back Round Point Shovel

 
 
spade
amazon
Spade

A squared-off blade makes cutting through sod a snap. Also useful for digging new beds or borders and for edging.

We Like This: Fiskars D-Handle Square Garden Spade

spading fork
amazon
Spading Fork

Though specifically designed to cut into the soil with its four flat or slightly rounded tines, the spading fork can mix materials into the soil and harvest root crops as well.

We Like This: Bully Tools D-Grip Spading Fork

roto tiller
amazon
Tiller

Rotary tillers are unsurpassed for breaking new ground, breaking up large soil clumps, digging furrows, and mixing in soil amendments, compost, and cover crops. (But be careful not to overtill because it destroys soil structure.)

We Like This: Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller Cultivator

Related: The Big Reason Why You Should Switch To No-Till Gardening

 
 
hand trowel
amazon
Trowel

This miniature shovel is perfect for digging holes for smaller plants and bulbs and for removing unwanted weeds.

We Like This: Corona ComfortGEL Trowel

dirty hands
Jamie Grill/getty
Hands

Undoubtedly the most important tools you’ll use when working the soil. Protect your hands when using many of the tools listed above by wearing gardening gloves.