Tools for Newbies

Editor-recommended tools for new gardeners.

November 12, 2012

Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime” is an adage that applies to gardening, too. To introduce a friend to the joy of “grow your own,” offer a useful tool along with the promise of your support and advice. With all there is to learn, gardening can sometimes seem overwhelming. But guidance from a seasoned veteran can set the spark for a lifetime of gardening joy. Organic Gardening’s editors were once beginners, as well. We present their favorite tools—and suggest currently available equivalents—for you to share with the newbie gardeners in your life.

Soil Fork

Editor-recommended tools for new gardeners.

Eric Hurlock, Online Editor:

As a young gardener, I was given this soil fork by an old-time organic gardener with the words “This is really all you need.” Over the years, I’ve come to value this fork more and more—it’s perfect for prepping new beds, turning the soil in old beds, and cultivating between rows during the growing season. Sometimes I even use it to turn my compost. Spear & Jackson’s Digging Fork will allow you to do the same. $60 from Peaceful Valley

Read Eric's Blog, This Imperfect Plot


Garden Seat/Kneeler

Editor-recommended tools for new gardeners.

Ethne Clarke, Editor in Chief:
This allows me to relax and enjoy even the most mundane gardening chores, like weeding. I’ve had mine (shown below) since my gardening days in England, but Step 2’s Garden Kneeler & Seat is a great lightweight substitute. $30 from Step 2

Read Ethne's Blog, Ethne Clarke's Garden Pages


Pruning Shears

Editor-recommended tools for new gardeners.

Doug Hall, Deputy Editor:
When I made the step from using Mom’s kitchen scissors in the garden to my first pruning shears, I knew I had become a real gardener. You can get the same feeling with the Corona Classic Cut 3/4 inch Bypass Pruner, a solidly built all-purpose tool. $28 from Corona

Read Doug's Blog, Doug's Organic Solutions



Editor-recommended tools for new gardeners.

Therese Ciesinski, Managing Editor:
Tubtrugs garden buckets are light and flexible, yet strong, and don’t blow away like bags can. I use them to blend potting soil, hold plant trimmings, collect weeds, and even mix concrete. I carry mulch, soil, leaves, and gravel in them. They are made of food-grade plastic that’s frostproof, and the colors are cheerful. Starting at $10 from Tubtrugs


Read Therese's Blog, A Piece of Ground


Hand Weeder

Editor-recommended tools for new gardeners.

Nancy Rutman, Copy Editor:
I find I can weed more effectively on my knees than standing (and spare my back!), so my long-to-short-handle cultivator is indispensable. The CoronaExtendable Handle 3-Tine Hoe allows me to customize my handle length. $12 from Corona

Read Nancy's Blog, The Garden Ephemerist