Step #1: Gather Your Gear

You should gather several gardening tools before you even think about getting dirty. I cannot stress enough the importance of quality tools. Speaking from experience, it is worth the investment to buy high-quality items, as broken or insufficient tools are not only frustrating but cost you more money and time in the long run. Proper tools provide more comfort and efficiency, which means less work for you! You can find most of these items in home improvement stores, gardening supply stores (or nurseries) and online stores.

With that being said, if you are strapped for cash like many of us are in this economy, stores like Harbor Freight and Big Lots are a great place to get starter supplies from. They may not be as durable but they will be much more economical for the gardener on a budget. You can replace them at your convenience with higher quality ones.

This will help you decide which tools work best for you and after all, any tool is better than no tool at all. Here’s what you’ll need to get started (if you are going to do a square foot garden or a container garden, some of these will not apply to you):

• Trowel – Used for weeding and digging small holes
• Gardening gloves – As much as we like getting our hands dirty, we don’t like getting them that dirty. A good pair of gloves can also protect your hands from bugs (if you’re squeamish), prickly plants and weeds.
Sun hat – For UV protection, make sure this is wide-brimmed and cinches
• Watering can and/or hose – What you need will vary depending on your garden’s water needs and proximity to your water source
• Wheelbarrow – (only for larger gardens) You’ll need one to transport mulch, dirt, and compost
• Roundhead shovel – For digging larger holes
• Rake – Ideal for spreading mulch, and gathering or transporting debris that has collected around your garden and between plants
• Shears – Use to prune away browning leaves or snipping herbs
• Pitchfork – This is an essential tool if you are creating a compost heap or pile
• Don’t forget your seeds! I would hate for you to do all of this work and end up with nothing to show for it