Gardening is one of the oldest activities in human history – and a hot new trend.

According to the National Gardening Association, more than one in three households in America now grow some of their own groceries, either in the backyard or in a community garden, and the percentage of younger households gardening is at an all-time high. As the wellness movement has made more Americans aware of the importance of eating organic foods and knowing where your food is coming from, more Americans are growing their own fruits and vegetables.

When it comes to starting planting, there are a few pieces of advice to keep in mind. It’s best to start slowly with just one or two plants and find an area with lots of sunlight. Look for thick, black soil and buy fertilizer if your dirt is lacking. (More on this below.)

Keep your plants a few inches apart and watch out for weeds. Above all: water, water and water! If you don’t have a garden, try the American Community Gardening Association and Local Harvest to find a community garden with a lot to use.

But whether you were born with a green thumb or are new to digging your hands in dirt, you are going to need some tools to help you grow your own tomatoes and carrots. Here are a few gardening tools that professional gardeners and other experts recommend you keep handy.

Best garden tools for weeding and digging: Updated September 2020

CobraHead Original Weeder Hand Tool: $ 29.95

When gardening, knowing what to grow and what to get rid of is equally important. Left unattended, weeds will stifle the life of your plants.

Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardener in Washington, DC and columnist for Mid-Atlantic Grower, recommends the CobraHead for all of your weeding needs.

“The CobraHead is a great tool for weeding, digging and cultivating in my vegetable garden. I can hold it to the side and scrape the ground between rows to cut out tiny seedlings, or I can hold it with the sharp end down to really dig up deeply rooted weeds, ”she says. “I also like that it is extremely durable as I leave my tools outside in all weathers and all year round.”

Nisaku Hori-Hori weeding and grave knife: $ 24.90

Sometimes you need a sturdy knife for digging, cutting off diseased branches and other intensive work. Lara Hermanson is the co-owner of California-based Farmscape, America’s largest urban farming company. She knows her blades and recommends “A Hori-Hori or Japanese Earth Knife”, which “is a great multi-tool for the vegetable and ornamental garden. The jagged edge cuts through roots and string, the sharp edge cuts through the soil to help you dig the perfect hole for transplanting small starting plants, ”she says. “There’s even a ruler on the blade to help you dig to the right depth. A good Japanese Hori-Hori made of steel will last for years. It’s worth spending a few dollars more to get such a beautiful copy. “

Pacifist 4 ″ Wire Hoe: $ 18.89

Courtesy Neversink Farm

Aaron Keefer is Vice President of Cultivation and Production at Sonoma Hills Farm and has worked as a kitchen gardener at the renowned restaurant The French Laundry for more than a decade. He still likes to go out into the garden, and the pacifist wire hoe is his “secret weapon,” he says. “This long handle wire weeder helps with efficient and clean weeding and saves me hours working in the garden.”

Mac Knife Kitchen Herb Snips: $ 29.95

Like a surgeon, a gardener prunes to heal, or at least encourage new growth, on a plant. “Every gardener needs good quality scissors for everyday use,” says Keefer, and he likes the Mac Knife Snips “for delicate items like herbs and flowers, both in the garden and in the kitchen.”

Best gardening gloves

KIM YUAN Leather Work Gloves: Starts at $ 22.99

Having a green thumb is great and everything, but remember that this is just a metaphor. Gardens are full of things that could sting or bite your fingers, so you need to protect yourself. Peter Miller is a gardening professional from Fort Worth, Texas who has been a professional landscaper for 15 years and is also the founder of GardeningStuffs.

He likes to protect his hands when he gets dirty, so he recommends the KIM YUAN leather work gloves for gardening. “The material is made of cowhide, so it’s a bit expensive, but it’s guaranteed to be extremely hard-wearing and yet comfortable to wear, and it’s excellent for protecting my hands from injuries such as cuts, blisters and splinters, so you can be sure that you get your money’s worth . “

Best gardening tool for watering

Dramm plastic water breaker nozzle: $ 12.69

Just like humans, plants need to stay hydrated. Keefer likes the Dramm Nozzle because it “has 1000 holes that break up the water into a softer and finer pattern so you don’t disturb the soil as you water it.”

Best plant nutrition and care tools

Liquid organic algae extract from kelp: $ 25.49

If you want healthy plants, you need healthy soil and the best way to ensure it is by investing in fertilizers. Kelly McGlinchey, founder of New York consulting firm Table & Tilth, which specializes in urban gardening and green design, says the best fertilizer comes from the ocean.

“In the high season, a weekly dose of liquid algae fertilizer will be transformative for your vegetable garden,” she says. “This organic fertilization method for your garden ensures healthy growth of your plants and is particularly beneficial for plants that are grown in containers or raised beds.”

Gardener’s Supply Company Tomato Towers: $ 56.95

Courtesy Gardener’s Supply Company

Posture is important to both people and plants. Summer Rayne Oakes is the author of How to Make a Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space in Your Home and Heart, the producer and presenter of the YouTube garden channel Plant One On Me, and the founder of Homestead Brooklyn. She recommends Gardener’s Supply Tomato Towers to make sure your tomato plants are growing nice and straight. They keep a raised bed neat and organized when gardening and can also be used for flowers.

Ohuhu Seedling Warming Mat: $ 12.49

GE Lighting LED Indoor Plant Grow Light: $ 9.89

Bootstrap Farmer Moisture Domes, Set of 5: $ 49.95

Courtesy Bootstrap Farmer

If you are really serious about gardening, you have to get really serious about seeds. Oakes likes to combine this trio of products to care for seeds and plants indoors.

A moisture dome helps retain moisture for the seeds and can be paired with a seedling warming mat, according to Oakes. As soon as the seedlings emerge, they need bright light, for which she recommends a full-spectrum LED light specially designed for growing seeds and greens.

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