In most cultures, gardening is considered a high art form, and if you have looked at professional landscape designs, then you know why. Of course, it isn't all about appearance: professional horticulturists study the scientific aspects behind cultivation, and dedicate their whole lives to understanding plant growth. It is amazing what people can do with practice, education, and the right garden tools. Whether you are an aspiring plant engineer or just someone who wants to plant some flowers, we have the right tools for you.
- Weight: Check for a comfortable, balanced weight. Too heavy a tool will wear you out quickly, as will a poorly balanced tool. Too light, and you will have to compensate with your own energy.
- Handles: Feel the handle. High-quality wood, usually ash, should be smooth, with an even, straight grain. Longer handles provide more leverage.
- Material: Make sure the head is on straight. Carbon steel is the highest quality. Consider stainless steel tools if you're willing to pay the price--they're durable, rust-resistant and easy to clean. Look closely where the head joins the handle:t he strongest connections are forged sockets or steel strapped, riveted with several rivets. Less-expensive tools often employ a metal sleeve that extends from the head and wraps around the handle.
- Sharpness: Test for sharpness. A tool's edge will hold up better if the steel is tempered, heat-treated or solid-forged.
- Buy your tools from hardware stores and nurseries--they are the most reliable sources.
There are hundreds of specialized gardening tools, but only a few that a gardener cannot live without.