Top Gardening Tools

Learn about the Better Homes and Gardens garden editors’ favorite tools.

Here in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden we use a lot of tools. Here are 5 we think every gardener should have. This type of hoe, often known as a hula-hoe but sometimes by other names, is been around for decades and is still the best general weeding hoe. In back and forth action, lets you cut weeds in both direction and it's designed not to dig in deeply so it glides back and forth with less effort than a tropic action of a typical hoe. When it comes to digging holes, a planting spade beats a regular shovel every time. Its long narrow blade penetrates the ground more easily and the handle is straight rather than angled which makes it easy to dig a straight side of planting hole. Here's another substitute for shovel. Spading forks make soil much better than shovels so they're better for chilling flower beds and vegetable gardens. They also help you [unk] a perennials for dividing without cutting all the roots like the shovel will. Once you use the fork, you'll see how much better it is for turning soil or dividing perennials. For planting bulbs an auger is a good substitute for [unk] especially for hard soil or tight spaces between plants. Most gardeners are familiar with augers like this 2-inch model. But for small bulbs, this narrower version is far superior. It digs into lawns without making too large of a whole and requires a lot less power to use than a larger Augers so it works even with smaller cordless drills. The smaller size is just right for planting crops and great vines and bulbs. And here's another trick. Use it to dig holes around trees and pour in your own fertilizer instead of using tree spikes or deep root feeders. Every gardener needs a good pair of shears that scissor-type snips like this one from OXO are easier to use for like trimming like [unk], cutting flowers or harvesting vegetables. The long straight blades have good reach and light beauty snips way less than regular shears. So they are less tiring to use.