Garden tools are an integral part of growing plants, even for us who love to immerse our bare fingers in rich worm-infested soil. As a child’s interest in gardening grows, he or she will benefit from having reliable garden tools at hand.
Garden tools are practical implements meant to work efficiently in the home garden. They can range from a heavy-duty long-handled lopper that can cut a tree branch to an unconventional old purple plastic pot re-purposed to scoop soil out of a bag.
A useful garden tool for child-gardeners has just as serious a purpose. But, any tool for kids will be more efficient if it fits their height and age and fits with their abilities and the type of gardening.
Multi-purpose Garden Trowels
The multi-purpose garden trowel makes a wise first choice for a new kid-gardener. It often is the one cherished tool handed down from generation to generation in a family of gardeners.
Gardeners use trowels for digging small holes, weeding, scooping small amounts of soil and for loosening plants in the ground or from pots. The blades of trowels have sharp-pointed ends or rounded edges and they are usually forged from steel. Noticing the joint that secures the blade to the handle of a tool gives a reliable indication of solid craftsmanship because it is at that point that the tool will endure the most pressure.
Trowels can come with a variety of extra features. A serrated edge on one side helps when digging through roots in the garden. Trowels made with an ergonomically designed handle and covered with a shock absorbing material benefit those who spend long hours, or a lifetime, gardening.
Trowels imprinted with numbered lines on the interior of the blade are specifically made for bulb and seed planting. A gardener may hold the handle of this type of trowel in his fist with the concave side facing toward him and downward. This is a faster technique for planting many bulbs in one sitting and the numbers help to gauge the widely varying planting depths required for differing bulb sizes.
Plant Loppers, Pruners, and Scissors
Garden shears include large loppers, hand pruners and tiny scissors, but no matter the size or purpose, a shears must always be very sharp. A clean cut of a stem or branch often impacts the success in growing a healthy plant.
Kid-gardeners who grow houseplants may use small scissors or clippers designed for indoor gardening. They will discover that small indoor-plant shears work for annuals outside too.
Hand pruners are more sophisticated and used for increasingly more complicated pruning. There are pruners made for left and right-handed people and with several types of blade designs. Hand pruners have a spring mechanism and a locking clip to secure the blades when not in use.
The design of long loppers make those ideal for pruning shrubs and small trees; the size of the blade determines the branch thickness each kind of lopper will efficiently handle.
Garden Cultivators, Weeders, and Rakes
The design of cultivators, weeders and rakes were each designed for specific garden chores; though in a pinch gardeners may use them interchangeably. For instance, gardeners may use a rake for gathering leaves or to dislodge small weeds if the fan is small. A single-tine cultivator performs the same purpose but its design with its very sharp point allows for breaking up clumps of soil and will make a well-defined trench in a planting bed for dropping seeds into.
Cultivators, rakes and forks come in hand-sized and long-handled versions. Children or inexperienced gardeners may find adult-sized implements unwieldy. A down-sized long-handled garden tool is lighter and easier to maneuver. Although not specifically made for enabling gardening, these sizes are appropriate for gardeners who have limited mobility.
Gloves for Planting a Garden
Gardeners benefit from experiencing the feel of soil and plants with their bare hands. A first-time gardener should learn these textures, at least a few times, because simply reading descriptions will always lack real context.
But after that, a pair of garden gloves is a smart addition to any gardener’s tool box. Gardeners wear gloves to keep hands and fingers clean from soil, protect them from sharp objects while gardening and to keep protected in cold weather.
Traditional garden gloves use light canvas materials, breathable stretchy materials, have a rubberized coating or feature a suede covering and longer cuffs to cover the lower arms from the long wayward branches.
In cold climates, where outdoor gardeners begin their growing season when temperatures are still hovering around freezing, garden gloves may need a thicker fleece lining. Gloves with padding also come in handy for carrying rough garden materials like lumber, brick or rocks.
Unconventional Garden Tools
A kitchen is a handy place to find unconventional garden tools. Wooden, soup, or iced-tea spoons requisitioned from the kitchen can easily find a second life in the hands of a gardener; with the cook’s permission, of course.
Gardeners may find that a large animal-feed scooper or a big plastic pot unearthed from a purchased plant work as soil and mulch scoopers. Each make excellent repurposed tools for ladling potting soil or mulch out of a bag.
A long narrow wooden dowel, or a set of chop sticks are part of garden tools for building an indoor terrarium. You may also use a long narrow tool for stirring in fertilizer to help it dissolve in a watering can.
Garden Tools for the Life of a Hobby
A child who grows plants in a terrarium will need a different set of tools than a child who grows a kitchen garden in the backyard. He or she will try some tools and eventually discard them because they did not “feel” right and discover other tools by happenstance, perhaps not originally intended for garden work.
One thing is for certain, a good garden tool will stand the test of time, just like the lessons taught a child on how to grow plants.
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