Garden tools and implements have been hit-or-miss for us. Lots of products didn’t do what was advertised, and many items didn’t last the test of time or weathering.
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I’ve personally used all of the items on this list, which have withstood the test of time and durability.
They’ve all received at least 4 out of 5 stars from customer reviews.
Wherever newer/ better/ cheaper models now exist (compared to when I acquired my products), I’ve noted that, too.
A pick mattock is required for any homestead project in which digging is involved. Every permaculture earthworks project I’ve ever done has benefited from the use of this tool - terrace building, swale digging, rain gardens and more.
Excavating earth for sheds, coops and other outbuildings will all be easier using this tool (if not using heavy machinery). The pick mattock will help dig up tree stumps, too.
Take note, the cutter mattock is a different tool, and in our opinion, not as useful as the pick mattock.
The right tool will save you time and sore backs!
A pitchfork has many uses on the homestead. We have an old antique pitchfork given to us by a family member, but at the community garden we use this model.
It’s worked great and even withstands occasional abuse by the college student volunteers.
The main use for a pitchfork at our home is with the compost piles. We use the pitchfork to turn compost piles and then pitch finished compost into wheelbarrows for distribution to the garden beds.
I also use the pitchfork to pitch wood chips into wheelbarrows for distribution.
And if you’re lucky enough to have livestock, the pitchfork is the appropriate tool for cleaning coops and stalls.
This is an important tool of the no-till garden. A spade fork loosens and aerates the soil without destroying soil structure, networks of beneficial fungi, or worms.
I prefer this model with the D-grip handle for better control.
Our go-to garden gloves around here. We usually go through 2 pairs per season.
Our go-to garden gloves around here. We usually go through 2 pairs per season.
You can’t go wrong with having a large ball of twine! This one might just last you a lifetime.
I use twine for all kinds of things - building trellises (see my post about which vegetables would enjoy climbing on twine!), tying up tomatoes, impromptu drying lines for herbs, tying back plants that are growing into pathways...all kinds of stuff.
It’s biodegradable, so it breaks down over time. At the end of the season I just compost it.
It’s also a natural material for earthy gift wrapping!
These birdfeeders are so beautiful and really add cheerful color to our edible landscape. They are not squirrel-proof by any stretch, but we still enjoy watching the collection of winter songbirds that they attract.
These dunks are a necessity in rain barrels and other sources of standing water. They WORK, and what's more, they're considered organic and non-toxic. Everybody wins, except the mosquitoes.
Two years ago we installed two of these rain barrels to collect water from our roof. They replaced three 55-gallon rain barrels. We were excited to find barrels that collect 75 gallons each.
Now we collect the same amount of water as our old rain catchment system in just two barrels rather than three, saving us space in our tiny yard.
Don't forget mosquito dunks!
We have some neighbors with a healthy dose of drama going on. When we first moved in, we wanted to try to create a little ambiance in our backyard with a privacy screen.
We used wire to attach the reed to the chain-link fence that divided our yards. The difference was amazing - the reed fencing added an aesthetic quality to an ordinary fence.
That was six years ago, and although we replaced part of the chain-link with a privacy fence, the reed fence still looks nice on the portion of chain-link that remains.
This soil mix is designed for the self-watering container. Regular potting soil would probably work just as well, but I've had a lot of success with this mix in my self-watering planters.
I bought these attractive planters to grow flowers on my front porch, and they work wonderfully. I used to keep flowers in regular pots, but they would always die because I would forget to water them.
The self-watering feature really saved me. My planters are several years old and still work like new. They would be great for herbs or small vegetables, too.
This model of pruners is especially made for smaller hands. I swear by them. The revolving handle keeps me from developing blisters during a long days’ work, which is a major, major feature that has saved my hands.
If you need “regular" sized pruners, be sure to check out the other Felco pruners - Felco is the only brand of pruners that I recommend.
These pruners will cut woody stems and are an essential garden tool for me.
Be sure to keep the blades clean.
This is the second essential garden tool my former garden boss recommended (behind the soil knife). And again, she didn’t let me down. These are totally worth it.
I’ve had them for 7 years and they still work like new. No thanks to me - I haven’t been very good to them. I’ve never cleaned or sharpened them.
Garden scissors are best for shearing green plant matter with a clean cut - herbs, vegetables, flowers, or even garden twine.
Tip: Are you acquiring a lot of garden hand tools? Simply grab a bucket to hold your tools, garden gloves, tape measure, and any other small items. I keep mine in the garage - never expose your tools to weather!
Also, wipe off your knife, scissors, or pruners after each use. Store scissors and pruners in an open position if the blades are wet.
Loppers are an essential tool for pruning fruit trees and other woody plants. This model is basic, but durable, and has done everything I need it to.
I use my hand pruners for a lot of pruning, but sometimes branches are too thick, and loppers make small tree and shrub maintenance so much easier than using a saw.
Increase the life of the tool by keeping the blades clean.
Don’t forget your pruners!
I have to thank my former boss and garden teacher for introducing me to the soil knife. I can’t believe I ever tried to garden without it! It will replace your trowel.
The sturdy stainless steel blade and design will last forever - mine is 7 years old and looks like new.
The soil knife makes weeding a cinch. Deep taproots are no match for it. Digging holes to plant seedlings is easy, too. One side of the knife has a serrated edge for cutting plant stems.
You really can’t go wrong with any stainless steel model, so this model is a good one. Blade length is 7 inches.
However, for comparison, I recommend checking out the Classic stainless steel soil knife at A.M. Leonard. It’s a little cheaper than the model on Amazon (although shipping may make the total price higher). But the A.M. Leonard knife is much longer at 11.75-inches in length.
Hint: My former boss was able to procure me a left-handed knife from A.M. Leonard. They don’t list this item on their website or in their catalog, but give them a call if you need a left-hander’s knife!
I got these several years ago because I wanted tomato cages that folded up in the off season. We don’t have much space around here so storage efficiency is a high priority!
They’re great for storage, and they’re really sturdy as tomato cages. Nice and airy, no need to tie up plants. Although they’re called “extra tall", they’re best for determinate varieties at around 4.5 feet tall.
My only complaint is about the hinge joints, where the heavy gauge steel wire pieces are welded together. They’re really sharp and pointy. Perhaps not the best tomato implement for keeping around kids.
These were a great addition to my collection of garden accessories because they fold up in the off season for efficient storage. Great for Tenth Acre Farm where storage space is at a premium.
At less than 3 feet tall, these are best for determinate tomatoes. No tying necessary.
My only complaint is about the hinge joints, where the heavy gauge steel wire is welded together. They’re really sharp and pointy, so I wouldn’t use them around kids.
However, the cages are sturdy and have withstood the test of time.
These ladders are as useful as they are attractive. The powder-coated steel supports come in green or red. They’re very sturdy and have withstood the test of time.
Be sure to keep them out of the elements in the off season.
They nest together nicely for storage.
These are the sturdiest tomato supports I could find. They're stackable, so you can use one 32-inch ladder for peppers and eggplants, or try three stacked together for taller indeterminate tomatoes.
We bought ours in 2011 and they're still going strong.
There was a little rust visible in their 4th season, but they continue to provide sturdy support. They nest together for storing, too.
This was a Christmas present we received from my parents. We didn’t ask for it, but it’s so nice to have! We’ve had it for 3-4 years now and it still works great.
Vince got rid of his regular blower when we got this one. We like to use this tool for vacuuming up the leaves and mulching them into the collector bag.
The bag easily empties the mulched leaves over the gardens.
Electric appliances for lawn care make less noise and create far less air pollution. We have an electric lawn mower, too. I feel like I’m vacuuming the grass!
If you go with an electric model, don’t forget your extension cord!
Row cover is an essential tool for extending the season. This model provides 4 degrees of frost protection, which is just enough to keep many overwintering crops alive.
It will warm up the soil faster in the spring to speed up germination, and protect against wind.
It has kept me growing veggies every winter, and folds and stores nicely in the off season so I can use it year after year.
Use it in a cold frame or polytunnel for even more protection and season extension.
Keeping my hands warm and dry is a top priority in winter. After a bunch of research and some glove purchases that were sub-par, I’ve settled on Gold Leaf gloves.
The Gold Leaf company is out of Great Britain, and it’s difficult to find their gloves in North America.
These are the women’s winter gloves. They’re insulated and waterproof, but retain enough dexterity that detailed work can still be done with the gloves on.