Gardening tools make good Christmas presents for that gardener in your life. (File photo)

Gardening tools make good Christmas presents for that gardener in your life. (File photo)

Gardeners will appreciate quality tools

Wondering what to get the gardener in your life? Consider garden tools.

Experienced gardeners will have many tools and only use their favorites but these favorites do wear out or get misplaced. Buying them a duplicate or an improved model could be a good idea.

Novice gardeners will appreciate quality tools, ones that do not bend and break. Well designed tools make the chores easier causing less strain on the body.

Hand tools, trowels, forks, and cultivators that are made of stainless steel rarely bend or break. Look at the size and shape of the handle. It should be comfortable to grip. Wood that is shaped or a cushioned make holding a trowel for a long period of time easier.

Quality shovels should also be made of steel and not bend when pressed against hard ground. They should also be light enough to use without adding extra fatigue. If only one shovel is being purchased make it one with a long handle and a curved edge as it is more versatile than other designs.

Bypass pruners are a gardening must. They come in a large range of prices and it depends on how much they are being used as to the quality needed. For people doing an occasional trim, the less expensive pruners work well but they are not ideal for people who are constantly pruning. More expensive pruners hold a sharp edge longer and parts can be replaced.

Needle nosed shears are designed for the fruit industry as they are perfect for cutting clumps of grapes and pruning soft wood. They are small, light and work well for pruning small stems, cutting flowers, pruning tomatoes etc.

Watering cans are a must for indoor and outdoor gardeners. The cans come in many different shapes and sizes. With the exception of the traditional HAWs watering cans, the shapes change. Often what one buys one year will not be available in later years.

Plastic cans are good because they are light. They last inside but tend to break down outside in the sun and heat. Metal cans are heavier but will last for years if it is made of galvanized steel.

Shape and balance of a watering can is important for ease of carrying and pouring. They should be easy to carry without the danger of spilling water. One should also be able to control the water as it is poured out of the small opening or the rose, spray opening on the sprout.

Take the size of the can into consideration as each gallon of water weighs 8.4 lbs (3.8 kg). Larger watering cans are heavy when full.

Both fan rakes and garden rakes are popular tools. The size of a telescoping fan rake’s head can be changed easily allowing it to be used in large and small areas.

Garden rakes fail when the end falls off the handle. Purchase one with a light weight handle that is firmly attached to the rake head.

Good tools can make mundane garden tasks go quicker so be sure to look at the garden tools closely before making a purchase. They should not bend or break when being used correctly.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturist that has gardened in central Alberta for over 30 years.

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