A standard hoe is perfect for small weeds.
For mulched beds (where soil is covered with a layer of wood chips or straw), use a weeding knife that you push into the ground close to the weed's stem. This will loosen the soil so you can pull out the weed—roots and all. I swear by the Japanese Farmer's Knife from Lee Valley Tools.
For moving stuff around: A wheelbarrow or garden cart will spare your back when hauling soil, pots and plants.
For creature comfort:
A gardener's kneeling pad is more comfortable than strap-on kneepads.
Lightweight, good-quality gardening gloves.
A gardener's tool belt to hold hand tools and seed packets.
Sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.
Books for beginners
- The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch, Workman Publishing Company, 688 pages, softcover, $26.95.
- What Grows Here by Jim Hole, Hole's, 256 pages, softcover, $19.95.
- Clueless in the Garden: A Guide for the Horticulturally Helpless by Yvonne Cunnington, Key Porter, 200 pages, softcover, $21.95.
- Gardening for Canadians for Dummies by Liz Primeau, Mike MacCaskey, Bill Marken, John Wiley & Sons, 456 pages, softcover, $29.99.