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Essential Gardening Tools: Conquer Weeds and Boost Efficiency

In my last blog post, we talked about design and durability when it comes to shopping for high-quality tools.

So now let’s talk about some of the tools that I would count as essential for my gardening tool kit.

Here at Turra Lodge Farm one of the things we really struggle with in the gardens is the weeds. As I have steered clear of weed control membrane to reduce the plastic use in the gardens it has meant we now face the yearly battle of Gardeners vs Weeds… one weed in particular we struggle to control is the creeping buttercup.

Creeping buttercup is a perennial weed which means it will return year after year if not removed correctly. That means removing the root system of the buttercup rather than just the foliage. If it was a different weed we were dealing with, a garden hoe would do the job perfectly but for these kinds of weeds, you will require a tool that can penetrate the soil and lift the root from beneath.

For this task, my go-to is a handheld daisy grubber. This tool allows you to be exact in your extractions so you can get in close to your flowers and cause as little harm as possible to the surrounding plants.

You can get this tool in both a short and long handle variation. My favourite is the short-handle one as I am a gardener that will spend her time getting as close s possible to the soil and benefitting from the grounding effects nature has to offer.

A garden hoe is another essential in my opinion. These are great for non-perennial weeds or eradicating young seedings where required. You may be familiar with the flat-edged traditional Dutch hoe but last year I was introduced to an oscillating hoe. This tool changed the game for me when it comes to weeding.

This tool can also be called a stirrup hoe due to the resemblance in design to a horse-riding stirrup. As this tool is dual-bladed and sharpened on both sides it means as you move the blade across the soil you are doing twice the work with half the effort as a traditional Dutch hoe. As I discussed handle styles in my last blog post, I think it is relevant to note that the one I have is a wooden handled tool which makes it quite light and easy to use, but I do notice deterioration in the strength of the handle already.

Again, with proper storage and tool care, I do imagine this would not be the case but as a chaotic gardener, I tend to constantly have scattered tools throughout the gardens rather than an organised tool shed.

This leads me to my next piece of gardening equipment…

Waterproof kneepads!

We have all seen these foam kneeling pads, that just like the garden trowels we talked about previously are available almost everywhere. They are a small rectangle of foam with an oval cut-out to create a handle for easy carrying. In theory, this is a brilliant product that has been around for centuries. It provides the user with a comfortable and dry surface to kneel or sit on while carrying out their gardening tasks.

So although it is an age-old garden supply, the issue arises when you need to move around the garden. You end up having to pick it up and reposition it each time you move further into your project. Not only that but as it is quite a clunky piece of equipment you can not always fit it in between plants as you dive deeper into the garden.

However, if you do have a shallow garden border where you can easily access all points from the edge, this product may be the perfect fit for you. But if you are more like me and have deeper borders and like to get up close and personal with your plants, the kneepads may be the way to go.

Kneepads give you the freedom to not have to worry about moving another piece of equipment as you go. They also provide one less piece of equipment that has the potential to get lost in the garden… and let’s be honest, we all misplace our equipment from time to time!

Gardeners’ kneepads come in many forms. You can get beautifully soft gel kneepads or memory foam variations from well-known garden supply brands. You can also get the foam inserts for your work trousers if that’s the way you want to roll.

But for me, nothing compares to the waterproof kneepads.

And let me tell you why.

Gardening brands have been manufacturing equipment to relieve our pain points for years. They have developed amazing items that provide the user with comfort and take into consideration our price points, design preferences, etc. There are some absolutely amazing products out there which I myself have tried and tested.

But the reason I say waterproof kneepads is because of Irish weather!

Yes, we may be gardening on a dry day, but that does not mean our soil is dry. So when we spend any longer than a few minutes kneeling on the soil, the water-resistant alternatives become pointless in protecting our clothes and skin and we may as well be kneeling in a cushioned puddle.

The particular ones I use are a set I picked up in the tool section in Aldi. They have a lovely, padded interior with a plastic dome to keep my knees nice and dry. I have seen similar ones for sale in garden centres but a little hack to know is that the ones you’ll find in the tool section of the hardware shops are generally a bit cheaper than what I have seen in the gardening sections.

I will be continuing this series as I talk about secateurs and other garden equipment next week so make sure to subscribe and follow along to learn more.

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