Gathering all of your necessary gardening tools is an important first step when it’s time to tackle your planting project
By: Christine Lorraine
Rule number one of preparatory gardening is to be armed with energy and enthusiasm. More tangible must-haves on your short list of gardening tasks might include:
This is an important step as it can alleviate unnecessary footsteps to and from your house, yard or garage. Items to consider assembling are:
1. Gloves – To ensure the success of your gardening experience, you will need to handle dirt. After gardening, try to remove as much dirt as possible from your gloves, and don’t leave them laying around outside. Nothing is more creepy than putting a glove onto your unsuspecting hand, and wind up with a frightened spider or potato bug crawling up your arm to escape its five-fingered fate.
2. Hand tools – You’ll find that having both a hand shovel and hand-held hoe will make it easier for you to achieve gardening nirvana. When shopping for handy items such these, closely scrutinize the strength of the tool where the metal meets the handle. Many cheaply-made gardening hand tools fall apart within the first hour of serious gardening.
3. Gardening apron – Some specialty stores sell aprons specifically for gardeners, but if you choose, you can really use any full-fronted apron for gardening to protect your clothing.
4. Padded kneeler – This is another modern convenience that can be found at most garden centers and department stores. It is not an absolute necessity, but your knees will thank you if you choose to use one. Another option is make your own by stuffing a couple of old bed pillows into a discardable pillow slip.
5. Floppy hat – Wearing a comfortable hat with a broad brim serves two purposes. First, it protects your face from the sun’s harsh rays which can lead to sunburn or skin cancer. Second, you can adjust the brim to help keep the sun from shining into your eyes.
6. Watering can or hose – You’ll need to have water close at hand to wet the soil, both before and after planting.
7. Potting soil – It’s always good when you are planting seeds or flowers to fill in the hole or cover the seeds with potting soil. This extra effort ensures healthier, stronger seedlings and plants.
8. Seeds and plants – It might sound silly, but there have been individuals who have attempted to begin gardening without these essentials. Don’t be one of them.
9. Strong set of additional hands (optional) – An extra set of hands can always come in handy after you’re done gardening, especially if they’re willing to give your tired back a massage.
Select Your Garden’s Location
Take a brief inventory of the types of plants you are going to grow, then assess where they might do best, based on the sun’s shining rays. For example, daisies seem to bloom fine in bright sunlight, but impatiens are much better off in partial shade. Similar consideration should also be given for vegetables, shrubs and saplings. Most plants and seeds offer specific sun requirements on packaging.
Prepare the Soil
This is where hand tools and shovels are invaluable. Even if prior tilling has been performed on the land, you will still need to prepare the soil for planting each spring. If the land has not been tilled, use your shovel to overturn large chunks of earth until the entire garden has been turned. With your gloves on, lift each chunk, shake it to get as much loose dirt as possible back into your garden. Then toss the remaining pieces of weed- or grass-thickened sod into a pile to be removed later.
After all of the sod chunks are broken down, use your hand-held hoe to further break down chunks of dirt in the cultivation process.
Add Seeds and Plants
If you are working with seeds, pay heed to the planting dates and depths printed on the package. After the soil is prepared and turned, plant your seeds according to the instructions. Spread a large bag of fortified potting soil over the area where your seeds are planted, if possible, to enrich the dirt.
If you are purchasing small annual plants, dig a small hole for each about 3-6″ deep, then gently remove the container. Carefully place the entire root system into the hole until the plant base stem is even with the ground’s surface. Fill in the hole with potting soil and pat firmly to ensure it is securely planted into the ground.
Almost immediately after your seeds and plants are in the ground, make sure you saturate the ground around them. Forgetting this fact can cause freshly transplanted flora to shrivel quickly, or stunt seeds’ growth dramatically.
Be sure to water your garden every day that it doesn’t rain. Skipping a day or two during a period of intense heat and sun can wreak havoc with even the hardiest plants.
This is a crucial final step on your task list. After all the planting is done, spread an even layer of bark or mulch throughout your entire garden. Not only does it look fresh and appealing, it helps control weeds and strengthens the soil so that your garden will stay healthy.
Now that you have your short list of gardening preparation steps, it’s time to dig in and dig it!
Short List of Gardening Tasks
Gardening Plants Seeds Planting Tools
By: Christine Lorraine
Originally Published: July 4, 2008 at helium