Today, I treated myself to something I’ve been coveting for a long while: a diamond-headed hoe. This beauty is not meant for hacking and chopping at the soil. This is not the tool of a “tough row to hoe” fame. This hoe is meant for sliding and gliding just beneath the soil’s surface, neatly separating young weeds from their roots without bringing more weed seeds up in the process.

Diamond-headed hoes are great for sneaking into tight spaces, and can be a back-saver for those of us with sprawling gardens.

I ordered mine from Amazon. It arrives Tuesday, just in time for another cold front. So I won’t be able to use it right away. But I’ll have it on hand for whenever the spring thaw arrives, and for any surprise warm spells before then too.

For many of us, February is an excellent time to take stock of our garden tools, clean and sharpen those we still use, replace those that have lived their lives, and perhaps treat ourselves to something new.

Must-Have Garden Tools

You’re definition of must-have may be different than mine. The tools here are those I use often — sometimes every single day — in my garden. Do you have a favorite that’s not listed here? Let us know about it in the comments section below.

Hori Hori

If I had to pick just one tool for my daily garden use, it would be my hori hori. Also know as a soil knife, this utilitarian beast of a tool looks like a cross between a knife and a trowel, and it’s capable of doing the deeds of both of them and much more: 10 Reasons to Love the Hori Hori

There are many models available. This option from DeWit looks pretty great: DeWit Farmer’s Dagger

DeWit Hand Hoe

DeWit has been making amazing hand-forged garden tools for generations now (four, I believe), and I’ve long wanted to add some of their tools to my collection. They run a bit more expensive than many of their competitors, but they are built — and guaranteed — to last a lifetime. I received one of these hand hoes as a gift last year, and oh wow does it work well. It’s meant to be used as a weeder while kneeling, and does an amazing job of slicing through thin-stemmed weeds with hardly any effort.

Available in right-handed and left-handed models.

Garden Marker

It may seem silly to include a pen here, but this is no ordinary pen. Through some magic that I don’t fully understand, this pen actually resists fading (a feat that even Sharpies cannot manage). Oh, not forever. (I’m not sure that’s even possible.) But definitely through the entire gardening season, even in full sun. I use this pen to label EVERYTHING in the garden. And, when it’s finally time to harvest my peppers at the end of the season, I no longer need to guess at their variety name — I know it because I can still clearly read the label beside the plant. Yay!

Get it on Amazon: Garden Marker Pen

Many Many More

Back in December, I devoted an entire gift guide to tools. Check it out: Gardener Gift Guide 2014 — The Tools Edition

Must-Do Tool Maintenance

Quality tools deserve quality care. Otherwise, those weed-slicing blades may quickly turn to rust-coasted memories of a once-upon-a-time amazing tool. Tomorrow, when we celebrate 40 days to spring, I’ll be back with a few tips for keeping your gardening tools in fine working shape, with sharp blades and strong handles. Stay tuned!

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10 Rules for Breaking the Rules in Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

FREE GUIDE!

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