Garden Gear - Garden Tools

How to pick the right garden tools

Judith Adam, Carol-Ann Granatstein and Stephen Westcott-Gratton
Photography by
Roger Yip (inset photos)

Gardening experts reveal what they look for when it comes to the right gear

There are many styles, so get the right one for the task! Keep the blade sharp at all times.

Stephen: For eradicating young weeds in large vegetable gardens or perennial borders, it's hard to beat a freshly sharpened Dutch (or scuffle) hoe.

the-right-tools-cape-cod-weeder-.jpg"My Cape Cod Weeder (pictured at left) is sharp like a hoe, but it's a hand-held tool with a pointy end that can pick out a dandelion," says John Valleau, author and corporate horticulturist for Heritage Perennials in Jordan, Ont. "Its flat blade can scrape out chickweed seedlings from gravel. The welded points (the connection of the blade to the handle) give me a lot of weeding power."

It's entirely a “muscle” tool, and necessary in every garden. Be sure the length of the grip bars suit your arm length—the longer the bars, the harder it is to control a heavy load.

Stephen: A wheelbarrow is not really for me. I find it more cost-effective to arm myself with a bottle of wine and ask the neighbours if I can borrow theirs.

I'm fussy about gloves and require three kinds. My primary gloves are a synthetic material with rubberized palms and fingers—fine for planting and working with a shovel. I have a second pair with a warm lining that I use in cold weather, and a third pair made of cowhide for lifting stone.

Stephen: I only have one pair of gloves, which are made of thick leather. I wear these when pulling weeds with barbs (thistles, stinging nettles) or when I'm pruning roses.


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