You don’t need a lot of gear to garden, but here are my favorites when it comes to the essentials. These are items I’ve bought for myself (or a close approximation since some of my tools are from ACE Hardware or are no longer sold).


OR+ +


OR + ++

Raking/Moving Stuff:


+ a tarp – anything 8 x 10 ft or larger works well for moving limbs, trimmings, & fall leaves

+ a wheelbarrow or tippable garden cart (we got ours at Home Depot and it’s just meh)

+ any leaf rake you like (plastic or metal tines are both fine)

+These claws for picking up leaves are THE BEST (no kickback if you buy these, but you should still get them because they’re awesome!)



+ any large bucket or old pot to collect your weeds in


+ +

+ a garden hose (I don’t have any I recommend… still searching for a good one)!

Organic Pest Control:

+/Or +/Or

+/Or Neem oil

Homemade Seed Starting Mix: 




+ I’ve heard great things about fish emulsions, blood meal, etc. Espoma products are legit and are slow-release and gentle so they won’t burn your plants. 



+ some chicken wire and T-posts from Home Depot or Lowes to make your own compost pile outdoors. OR just dump it in a large pile… SERIOUSLY!

What to Wear: 

  ++/Or+ + +/Or

+/Or any UPF 50+ shirt for sun protection

Things I’ve bought and regretted:

  • Hedge Shears (completely unnecessary if you have hand pruners)
  • Potting mixes at home stores (especially Miracle Grow & Sta Green – the quality is just awful)
  • Seed starting mixes at home stores (they’re a rip off)
  • Non-organic fertilizers (they promote rapid growth that weakens the plant, making it more susceptible to disease and pest damage)
  • Weed killers (yes, I’ve bought Round Up in the past. Using it around plants you’re going to eat is really sketchy and disposing of the leftover chemical you don’t use is a headache and not so great for the environment)

I have a Love/Hate Relationship with:

  • Electric hedge trimmers – I’ve accidentally cut the cord at least 3 times + it’s really not the right way to prune your bushes… hand pruning is best
  • Leaf blowers – just raking or cutting up leaves with a lawn mower seems like way less hassle
  • Edgers/string trimmers (I leave this job to Jonah because I can never get a clean edge)
  • Pole saws/pole loppers – if a limb is that high up, maybe you should just hire an arborist who can do it right and do it safely
  • Japanese beetle traps – I hate Japanese Beetles, but I’d rather find a better way of dealing with them (i.e. planting sacrificial plants I don’t care about, inviting more natural predators – birds- to the yard)
  • Garden hoses & hose reels – so many bad ones out there and I feel like we’ve bought them all. But at least a reel keeps things semi-tidy, even though it’s a pain to manually roll up. I’m not willing to shell out for automatic reels or fancy reel carts.
  • Heavy duty rawhide gloves – I see how you might need them if you do a lot of work with thorny plants, but I just never use mine.