What are Some Different Types of Garden Hand Tools?

Margo Upson
Margo Upson
Garden hand tools.
Garden hand tools.

Browsing the hand tool section of a garden center can be intimidating for a new gardener. Trying to pick out what you need, without buying a lot of stuff you’ll never use, can be a bit of a challenge, even for more seasoned gardeners. There are a lot of options for garden hand tools, and it’s difficult to pick out what you need when you don’t really know what you’re looking for.

Garden hand tools include a hand rank to rake leaves.
Garden hand tools include a hand rank to rake leaves.

A trowel is one of the most common garden hand tools. Trowels resemble little shovels, and are used to turn the earth and dig small holes. They come in various widths and lengths. For gardens with tight spaces, like in a rock garden, a trowel with a long, narrow blade will be best. A transplanting trowel is specially designed to assist in digging up and moving already established plants.

Trowels are some of the most commonly used garden tools.
Trowels are some of the most commonly used garden tools.

Hand hoes are another common tool. Hoes come in a few different shapes, but they all do approximately the same thing. They can be used to make trenches for planting, dig weeds out between plants, and break up soil. Cultivators do a similar job. They have three prongs, and can pull weeds out of the soil, along with any large rocks or clumps of soil. These garden hand tools are essential for a well-maintained garden.

Gardening forks can be used to work the soil in preparation for planting in small gardens.
Gardening forks can be used to work the soil in preparation for planting in small gardens.

It is sometimes difficult to easily clean between plants without damaging them. A hand rake, a smaller version of what is commonly used to rake leaves, can be very helpful for this. Because the tongs are flexible, they are able to work around plant stalks, pulling out debris without harming the stalks of the plants.

There are many garden hand tools meant to assist with planting. A bulb planter makes a hole and then places the bulb into it in one movement. A dibber pokes holes into the soil for planting seeds or small seedlings. A widger digs a hole, and then seeds can be slid down the widger and deep into the soil. A widger can also help with transplanting seedlings.

A gardening knife can be used for digging up aggressive weeds, like crabgrass.
A gardening knife can be used for digging up aggressive weeds, like crabgrass.

There are a few different types of weeding garden hand tools. A Cape Cod weeder has one single prong, and is meant to weed between cracks and other tight areas. A fishtail weeder has a small V at the end, which can pry out weeds and stones. A taproot weeder has two sharp prongs at the end, and works well for removing dandelions and other stubborn weeds.

There are a lot of options when buying garden hand tools. Knowing what each tool is capable of doing is essential to choosing which tools will be best for your garden.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

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Discussion Comments

Raynbow

@heavanet- I don't have a hand hoe, but I frequently use a small trowel in my garden. I think that these small garden hand tools give the gardener much more control than they have with regular-sized gardening tools. It helps to get close to the plants to work around them in comparison to standing at a distance.

Heavanet

One of the most useful hand gardening tools that I have ever used is a hand hoe. Though I originally bought this little tool to remove the weeds in my flower boxes, I have found many other uses for it.

Not only do I use my hand hoe in small areas, but I have also found that it comes in handy when removing weeds and excess grass around the walkway to my house. It is also perfect for removing weeds in tedious areas in my garden, such as areas close to the stalks of plants. In addition, when it comes to digging holes to plant seeds and small plants, the hand hoe is irreplaceable.

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    • Garden hand tools.
      By: Michael Flippo
      Garden hand tools.
    • Garden hand tools include a hand rank to rake leaves.
      By: faludi
      Garden hand tools include a hand rank to rake leaves.
    • Trowels are some of the most commonly used garden tools.
      By: kornienko
      Trowels are some of the most commonly used garden tools.
    • Gardening forks can be used to work the soil in preparation for planting in small gardens.
      By: johnbraid
      Gardening forks can be used to work the soil in preparation for planting in small gardens.
    • A gardening knife can be used for digging up aggressive weeds, like crabgrass.
      By: Dennis Oblander
      A gardening knife can be used for digging up aggressive weeds, like crabgrass.
    • Garden hoes are used to turn soil and eliminate weeds.
      By: xalanx
      Garden hoes are used to turn soil and eliminate weeds.