Not to toot our own horn, but we’re pretty proud of the fact that when you order a Plantables box, you don’t need anything more than a spade, a garden plot and some spare time to grow brag-worthy fruits, veggies and herbs.
In fact, all you’ve got to do when your Plantables delivery arrives is open the box, smell the plants inside (of course, taking a moment to smell that awesome new plant smell isn’t obligatory, but wholeheartedly recommended), dig a hole and put them in the ground.
To give your plants the very best chance of growing brag-worthy produce, we recommend adding compost – either bought from the store or from your own composter – to the bottom of the hole and mixed in with the soil used to fill the hole.
Then, once your plant is all tucked up in its new home, adding some mulch (either leaves or wood chips) can help keep the moisture in and the weeds at bay.
Then all that’s left to do is to give them some water and love.
After that, all you need is a soupçon of patience and you’ll have brag-worthy fruits and veggies in no time.
But if you’re looking to take this gardening business seriously – or just want to invest in some tools to make your job a little easier – we’ve put together a list of four (well, five) things you can pick up from your local hardware store that’ll help you on your journey to green-thumbed glory.
1. A trusty shovel
Pretty much the only tool you’ll ever need to grow an entire patch of ready-to-eat fruits, herbs and veggies, the trusty spade will help you dig the perfect holes for your garden-ready plants.
We’re sure you’ve already got a spade lurking around somewhere in the tool shed, but if you haven’t, head to your local hardware store and look for one with a sturdy handle and a decent-sized bowl (that’s the metal bit that digs).
Once you’ve seen one that catches your eye, pick it up and check that it doesn’t feel too heavy. Spades come in all sizes and weights, so it’s a good idea to pick one that feels just right for you. (The Goldilocks Spade, if you will.)
You can get a reliable spade for about $20 from your nearest Home Depot or big box store, but if you’re after a spade that’ll have you sorted for life, we recommend the Fiskars 1003684 Xact Extra spade.
With a name straight from a sci-fi film, you can tell that this spade means business. Featuring a durable boron bowl welded to a steel shaft for lightweight durability this spade is just right for digging into harder soils (or just making your planting process a whole lot easier).
And that’s quite enough getting excited about spades, we think…
Sometimes, your plants can get a little unruly. As they grow from a seedling into a fully-formed plant, they act a little like teenagers. They start to test boundaries and try to do things they shouldn’t. And, importantly, they’ll try and take up the space that’s reserved for their next-door neighbour, who needs it to grow properly.
That’s when the pruners come in handy.
Not only do pruners help keep the plants in check, but they improve the light and air flow around the plant, reducing the threat of disease and pests and help improve the size and quality of your fruits and veggies by letting the plant focus more of its energy on growing plants, rather than keeping that fly-away growth healthy.
Like the spade, you can get a decent set of pruners from Home Depot for between $15 and $20.
Again, pick them up and feel them in your hand. Are they comfortable? Give them a dry-run, too. Are they easy to squeeze? Do they feel sturdy or a little flimsy?
Like a spade, a pair of pruners that’s right for one person can be completely wrong for another – it’s all about personal preference.
Looking to get the best of the best?
You can’t go wrong with the Niwaki Secateurs. These beauties are hand-forged in Hyogo by Japanese craftsmen. One squeeze of the handle and you can hear the precision and power of the blades.
(They belong in a gallery. They’re pretty much a work of art.)
But, if you’re not quite at the ‘spending $100 on a pair of pruners’ stage yet (and we can’t say we blame you) the Felco brand pruners from Lee Valley are among the best and are a solid favourite of gardeners everywhere and come in at under $50.
(They’ll last you for years, too.)
3. A Hori Hori knife
Hands down our favourite (and most-used) tool in the garden, a Hori Hori knife is a cross between a knife and a trowel, that you can use for all manner of things, from planting to dividing up your plants.
Traditionally, they were used in Japan to collect specimens of bonsai trees (in Japanese, ‘hori’ means digging), but we use them to seed and plant your garden-ready fruits and veggies!
4. A watering can (or hose)
Ok, you’ve now got the tools to dig the hole, bury your plant and keep them in shape. But what about keeping them alive?
The obvious choice is a watering can. It’s got that ‘I’m an old school gardener’ vibe going on and they’re dirt cheap. If you’re gardening on a budget, you can get one for less than $10 and be set for years to come.
Plus, they give you more control over the amount of water you give your plants than the hose usually does.
However, a watering can does mean lots of trips to and from the tap to fill up and water, which isn’t ideal if you’re in a hurry.
A hose, while far more convenient, can be a little unruly – and make it very hard to manage how much you’re watering your fruits and veggies.
Unless ou buy a nozzle or spray gun for the end of your hose.
This gives you ultimate control over the amount of water (with an on-off trigger) and the type of watering you give your plants. (Many spray guns and nozzles feature up to 10 settings, including mist, spray and jet, to give you complete control.)
We’d have to say a hose. If you’re in an apartment or growing on a balcony, a small watering can is ideal, but for larger gardens, you really can’t beat a hose.
Bonus round: a gardening tool belt
Now, unless you’re kitted out with lots of gardening equipment, you’re unlikely to really need a tool belt.
But does that mean you shouldn’t get one?
Let’s look past the fact that you’ll have a safer space to store your pruners (and their razor-sharp blades) and look at the real reason anybody ever buys a tool belt:
You can do the cowboy, quick-draw thing every time you prune a plant.
(You can even whistle the Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme while you’re doing it.)
And if you’re gardening with a partner, you can have quick-draw races to prune your side of the vegetable patches.
If you wear a floppy hat to garden, even better. Be sure to pull it down just over your eyes as you prepare to draw.
So there you have it, the three items you’ll need to grow brag-worthy fruits and vegetables in your back garden. (And an extra one to make the gardening extra-fun.)
Did we miss any? Have you got a trusty garden gadget or gizmo that you couldn’t be without? Let us know in the comments or on social media!
Until next time, happy planting!