Hand tools

There is a wide range of hand tools available for specific gardening tasks. The two essential items are a small fork and a trowel. For general maintenance tasks, a hammer and mallet arc necessary; if you have a deck, you will need a wire brush and a scrubbing brush to remove deposits of algae. A dibble (a pointed tool for making holes), string, and knife are also needed. Less important, but useful, is a bulb planter, particularly if you arc planting bulbs in large numbers.


As with spades, these come in several sizes and shapes. The most commonly used is the short-handled trowel, but a long-handled version can be handy for awkward spaces, as is a trowel with a slender blade. Those with stainless steel blades are more expensive, but they are lightweight and easy to use.


The hand fork is another indispensable gardening tool with both short- and long-handled versions available. Again, those with stainless steel tines are the best choice. Make sure that the shank of the fork is firmly fixed to the tines, because in cheaper versions the shank rapidly separates from the tines.

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