I’ve both tried and disposed of a lot of garden tools over the years, but I only use a handful of unusual-looking ones. These chosen few are so handy that I rarely use a shovel, cultivator or string trimmer anymore. I hope they’ll be just as useful for you.
DeWit serrated trowel
DeWit Garden Tools’ unique take on a common trowel is everything you could possibly want in a garden tool. Its comfortable handle is constructed of long-lasting ash wood, while the business end is nothing but solid hand-forged steel. The real beauty of this trowel is its sharp, serrated edge, which cleanly cuts through any roots or stems in its path.
Use it to rip out weeds, dig in congested soil, or even as a knife for dividing perennials. Of all my tools, this is the one that I carry everywhere.
I bought this arrow-shaped variant of the common garden hoe on a whim, simply because it looked like it had to work – and it does. The pointed tip neatly rips out weeds in my vegetable garden without damaging my plants, and it makes nice furrows whenever I’m planting seeds.
The long handle makes it easy to reach into beds from outside, preventing soil compaction, muddy feet and a sore back. Mine is made by Union Tools and retails for about $ 22.
Fiskars clearing hook and billhook saw
Fiskars’ new clearing hook and billhook saw have totally changed the way I do lawn work. Each resembles a serrated machete with a hooked end, and they’re unlike anything else on the market.
I use mine to clear out woody weeds with little more than a tug, to rip out weeds growing in the cracks of my driveway, to edge my lawn (it’s a workout, but so rewarding), and to quickly break ground on new garden beds.
Each tool comes with a scabbard that conveniently fits over your belt, and it’s a good thing. These things are hardcore, especially if you sharpen them first. The Fiskars clearing hook and billhook saw each retail for about $ 30.
Fiskars clearing machete
This machete has essentially replaced the weed-whacker in my lawn work routine since it makes short work of areas that my mower won’t reach. Between the billhooks and machete, I’ve found myself using the string trimmer less and less.
Like the other land-clearing tools from Fiskars, the machete comes with a durable scabbard for safekeeping. It’s also useful for cutting back and harvesting sugar canes, bamboo, lemongrass, bananas and the other big tropical plants in my garden. For even bigger jobs, spring for the machete axe (approx. $ 55).
I have a shovel, but haven’t used it much since I bought a mattock. If you have to deal with tree roots, rocky soil or tough sod and weeds, do yourself a favor and buy a mattock before you exhaust yourself with a shovel or spade.
A mattock looks like a pickaxe and is used like one, but it has a flattened end that works like a garden hoe on steroids. Heaving a mattock takes a bit of upper body strength, but the tool is quite versatile once you get the hang of it.
I even use the flat end to pull up weeds with long runners – both fragile ones like those of the dollarweed, or brutes like those of the torpedo grass that once filled my vegetable garden. The brand name of my mattock has long since faded from the hardwood handle, but if you’re purchasing your own, look for one made from forged steel and hardwood.
Flexzilla Water Colors hose
While hoses wouldn’t normally be considered garden tools, hear me out. Cheap, kinky and leaky hoses cost more in the long run, and make watering chores a major hassle. Take it from someone who accidentally leaves the water on and leaves his hoses outside all year.
At the time of writing, the only working hoses in my garden are Flexzilla hoses, because every other one has broken by now. The best ones are from the P. Allen Smith Water Colors Collection and cost about $ 75 (steep, but it’s money well-spent).
Ignore the pretty colors – they’ll fade in time. Get this premium rubber hose because its kink-free, drinking water safe and even has a rugged swiveling grip to make watering easier.
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