If you are an amateur hobbyist or just starting off on gardening, consider buying a garden tool set. They tend to be cheap but of lower quality. The advantage is that you will have almost the full range of garden tools needed to start a garden. Once you have gained more experience working on your garden, you can better assess your tool requirement and preference. There may be problems, which you can foresee the tools required until you actually work on the affected areas. Also, every gardener will have a collection of tools in which some tools are constantly used, while other tools neglected and forgotten. You can spend more money on better quality tools once you have a grip on your garden and your gardening requirement.
Maintenance of Garden Tools
When you are buying new gardening tools, you are likely to be faced with a choice between low price and low quality or higher priced and better quality tools. Good quality garden tools are designed to last, but they must be also be properly maintained. If you opt for cheap garden tools, maintaining them is less of an issue. When they break or wear out, you simply throw them away and buy a replacement.
A basic maintenance regiment for garden tools involves cleaning and oiling. Always remove all traces of soil and plants remain from your garden tools after usage. If necessary, dismantle your tool to get at the dirt. Hose down with water to remove mud and scrape off any stubborn dirt with a brush or a screwdriver. Cleanse and rinse thoroughly any tools, which have been used for application of chemicals such as fertilizer. Fertilizer is corrosive to metal. After cleaning, do not store away tools when they are wet. Allow them to air dry completely to prevent rust and wood rot. At least once a year, rub linseed oil into the wooden part of your tools to make them last longer. Before storing, wipe the metal parts of your tools with an oily rag after each use. Or use a spray to apply the oil and wipe with a clean cloth.
If you use your tools often, you can make a convenient shovel cleaner cum oiler by filling a small bucket with sand and a quantity of new engine oil. Push your metal tool into the oily sand several times to clean and oil at the same time. This neat DIY clean/oiler can also be used as a shovel stand.
You may be tempted to buy stainless steel tools, as they are more rust resistant. However, you should know that they are less robust than traditional steel garden tools. For certain functions such as garden fork and rakes, they are not a good buy unless the price is cheap. Be warn though, you may end up buying a replacement more often than you think.