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May 27, 2010 11:51 AM

Essential gardening tools $100 budget

If you could pick only 5 things to buy or you were on a $100 budget what would you buy for your garden. Assume a fresh start, you are moving to a new house and a family member thoughtfully gave away all your former tools.

The reason I'm asking is I've been double digging and my shovel finally gave way. I was thinking about a video I watched for double digging and the guy was using a spade not a shovel. I've been looking at the design of a spade vs a shovel and I think the spade is superior for digging.

My dad has always used a shovel for digging. I've always looked for advice from my dad, but I'm beginning to think I've learned most of what I can from my dad. Do I need to buy a shovel too? I already went out and bought a spade for approx $27.

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  1. 1. I use a square edged spading shovel. I don't like the way a shovel has a pointed edge and scooped blade. It's ok but not for digging a planting hole or edging the side of a bed. I do have an edger but if the budget was tight I would just get a spade.

    2. I love my Cape Cod style weeder. Unfortunately, Garden supply has them listed at $39.95. Yikes. I have not found a suitable, cheaper replacement locally so I would probably get it but that's almost half your budget. However, it's my absolute favorite for weeding.

    3. A good trowel. I have two but one is narrow for small plants/small holes. I use the standard size all the time.

    4. Spading fork. I use this for digging up perennials, etc.

    5. Hoe. I'm a vegetable gardener. You have to make rows. I do some simple, quick weeding with a hoe but mostly use the Cape Cod weeder.

    Check yard sales and craigs list for tools. You might get lucky. Other people are moving and getting rid of garden tools. that way you could get more for $100 because I think you really need a bamboo rake and a metal garden rake, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dfrostnh

      I have a Cape Code weeder and it is worth every penny! I have seen them on Ebay for $29 with free s/h.

    2. 1. Square edged spading shovel (see dfrost)

      2. Spading fork (also useful for loosening soil, prying up rocks, tossing around compost pile, spreading straw, fluffing compacted bags of peat moss)

      3. Garden rake (I'm a veg gardener too. I don't make rows. Pulls soil where you want it, smooths out beds while gathering up pebbles and bits of stuff, flip it tines up for finish work)

      4. Trowel (see dfrost)

      5. Wheelbarrow/garden cart (pricey, but worth it. Hauls all kinds of stuff, saves trips and back)

      Any change left over: A good pair of well fitting work gloves for use with all of the above, sturdy scissors, sturdy paring knife.

      Ditto dfrost on yard sales. Second hand and junk shops are good too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: morwen

        I love my garden cart plus now I have the luxury of a small lawn tractor and cart but I have a big yard. I was tempted to put a garden cart on the list but that would blow your budget. Thanks to my husband I have a quantity of used 5 gallon pails that drywall compound came in. They are great for hauling small tools, weeds, compost around. You should be able to get them free from someone.

        I should have included a good pair of work gloves. Mine are rubber coated and came from the feed store and weren't expensive.

        1. re: dfrostnh

          Tarps were my garden cart for a long time. Anything draggable in large quantities got dumped in the middle, the four corners were gathered up, and off it went. Not easy or enjoyable but it worked. Now I have a standard wheel barrow (definitely check yard sales for this item). Getting the lawn tractor and cart out from under my hubby's butt is a feat indeed! We have a big yard too (2 2/3 acres) but we're slowly getting it turned into veg, berries, herbs, orchard fruits, and chickens. The intent is to get rid of useless lawn except for paths and leave a small pasture for the small livestock (chickens, goats, possibly rabbits). I'm lusting after the neighbor's property (singlewide on 3 acres, as level as it gets around here). He keeps threatening to sell out.

          1. re: morwen

            morwen, I was lucky. DH got me my own ancient John Deere lawn tractor. Of course, he ended up spending mucho time and money fixing the starter problem. It is truly a luxury. Old tarps are still in use. Good point.
            Yesterday I dug planting holes for the tomatoes with a square edged spade. I bury them up to their leaves.

            Morwen, your yard sounds wonderful.