Two days ago, we talked books. Today, the gift guide is all about tools and other useful things that your garden-loving giftee will want to put to work in the garden.
Several of these items I’ve given as gifts, and others I’ve “gifted” to myself. All are well-built for a long life of usefulness, and make a worthy addition to any gardener’s tool or watering supply collection.
Did I skip a tool on your must-have list? Or maybe there’s some tool that you love to give to gardeners, or received yourself as a gift? If so, please share your recommendations in the comments section below.
Is your gardening-giftee a big reader? Check out the list of recommended books from earlier this week: Gardener Gift Guide: The Books Edition.
If you only get one gift for the gardener in your life, this should be it. It may not look like much, but this simple (and ancient) tool is a multi-functional dream tool for the gardener. It’s both knife and shovel. It’s a trowel and transplanter. It’s a weeder. It’s a sturdy pry bar for levering rocks and lumber. It’s so so useful.
Can you tell I’m a fan of the hori hori? Yep. It’s my favorite gardening tool. I’ve actually written about it before –> 10 Reasons to Love the Hori Hori.
There are several fancier versions of the hori hori — also called a soil knife — but I’m a fan of the simple wooden handle and solid stainless steel blade. It’s tough and crazy durable. Mine is several years old, and going strong.
Get it on Amazon >> Hori Hori
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DeWit Dutch Hand Hoe Weeder
It’s rare for a tool to be as beautiful as it is functional, but this hand-forged weeder from DeWit is a delightful exception. The tool has a high-carbon steel blade with a solid, FSC-certified ash handle, and is built to last. With its angled head and 18-inch-long handle, this tool makes careful weeding an easy chore.
If you’re looking for an heirloom-quality gift, this is it. The de Wit family has been hand-forging these tools in Kornhorn, Holland, for four generation. These tools combine the best of hand-made quality with modern functionality. It should be no surprise that these tools come with a lifetime guarantee.
One important note: This tool is designed for right-handed folks. If your gardener giftee is a leftie, you want to be sure you get them the left-handed version.
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Rogue Scuffle Hoe
Two hoes on one gift guide? Absolutely! While the DeWit Dutch hand hoe is meant to be used while kneeling or sitting in the garden, this scuffle hoe is designed for use while standing. It’s an excellent tool for weeding larger areas, yet still has a small enough head to allow for careful weeding in tight-planted areas. This is a fantastic gift for all gardeners, but especially those who may struggle to bend or kneel in the garden.
Unlike the classic peasant hoe, with its head at 90-degrees to its handle, this scuffle hoe is meant for sliding along just below the soil surface. You don’t use a chopping motion. You push and pull the tool back and forth, “scuffling” it through the tender stems and roots of bothersome weeds. It’s a low-impact tool with high-impact results.
Also, I love the name. All rule-breaking gardeners should own a “rogue” hoe, don’t you think?
Get it on Amazon >> Rogue Scuffle Hoe
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DeWit Wooden Dibber with Brass Tip
Dibbers are practical tools with a silly name. Their whole purpose in life is to make the planting and transplanting process easier and faster. They achieve this purpose well — simply push the dibber into your garden soil to the depth required (the tool is marked with inch increments), and swirl the pointed tip around to create a planting hole. These tools are especially wonderful for planting flower bulbs, garlic cloves, and onion and leek transplants, but they work well for all smaller-rooted transplants — lettuces and other greens, herbs, and more — and for creating uniform planting holes for peas, beans, corn, and more.
DeWit also offers a steel-headed dibber that might be a better choice for rockier gardens.
Get it on Amazon >> DeWit Wooden Dibber with Brass Tip
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Fiskars Uproot Weed and Root Remover
The technique is simple. While standing, jab the tool’s four teeth into the soil around the crown of a dandelion or other undesirable weed. Step on the foot platform to bury those teeth, and then lean the handle back toward your body. Using simple leverage, the tool pulls out the weed, root and all. Not surprisingly, this works best when the soil is moist.
The standard Uproot Weed and Root Remover has a 39-inch handle. For taller gardeners, Fiskars makes a deluxe model with a 39-to-47-inch extendable handle.
Get it on Amazon >> Fiskars Uproot Weed and Root Remover
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Ratcheting Pruners and Lopers
Give your hands a break with these well-made snips. The ratcheting mechanism allows gardeners to near-effortlessly cut through branches and stems that might otherwise prove too much for simple hand strength. An essential tool for gardeners with arthritis or other hand or wrist ailments, and a delight for all gardeners. The tool does the hard work for you.
I can’t choose between the pruning shears (above) and the long-handled lopper (left), so I am including both here in this gift guide. Between the two, you or your garden-loving giftee will be able to easily tame sticks, branches, and other unwanted stems without raising a sweat or hurting the hand.
Both shears and lopper are constructed from aluminum, making them lightweight and easy to carry around the garden. The ratcheting mechanism works well, and does all the hard work for you.
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Corona AC 8300 Sharpening Tool
All these shiny new tools will eventually need sharpening. That’s where the Corona sharpening tool comes in. This tiny file — it only measures 5 inches — makes a great stocking stuffer and will keep your garden-loving giftee’s tool blades sharp and effective for years to come.
Bonus: That bright red handle will make this tool easy to spot when it’s inevitably dropped somewhere in the garden or garage.
The tool works on all straight edges, from pruning shears to shovel heads. It is not recommended for serrated blades. For that task, you will want a diamond-bladed sharpener that’s specifically designed for serrated blades.
Get it on Amazon >> Corona AC 8300 Sharpening Tool
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Dramm Heavy-Duty Brass Shut-Off Valve
I love shut-off valves. I use them for a quick on-and-off-with-the-water at the end of all my hoses. They help save wasted water and prevent overly drenched plants. They even help extend the lives of my hoses, because the shut-off valve means I don’t need to intentionally kink the hose to temporarily halt the flow of water.
But, oh, how they break. The cheap versions available at most big-box stores just aren’t built to last. I break one or two a year, and always in the same way — the plastic handle snaps off right at the bolt, making it impossible to turn the valve. This heavy-duty shut-off valve solves that problem. It’s solid brass, with no plastic parts to break. The extra-long handle is a nice bonus feature, making it easier to adjust the water flow without hand strain.
Get it on Amazon >> Dramm Heavy-Duty Brass Shut-Off Valve
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Nelson Cast Iron Circular Spray Pattern Stationary Sprinkler
Forget all those swirling heads, rotating arms, and breakage-prone moving parts. This is about as simple as a sprinkler can get, and it’s nearly indestructible. Known as the “pound of rain” sprinkler (it weighs a pound), this is the sprinkler of choice for my outlaw garden. It’s made of cast iron, with no plastic parts to break or springs to bend. Just hook it up to the hose, and set that water free.
The one disadvantage of this sprinkler — its relatively small 30-foot-diameter spray range — is also an advantage. With this sprinkler you can easily target your watering, giving more water to moisture-demanding plants without wasting water on less needy plants, lawns, patios, or driveways.
Because this sprinkler puts out an incredible amount of water, it doesn’t take long to water a section of the garden to a one-inch depth. I just set out a flat-bottomed coffee mug within the range of the spray, and move the sprinkler when I’ve collected an inch of water in the mug. Works great!
Rust is a threat — these are cast iron after all — but the rate of rusting seems to be minimal. My sprinklers are several years old. And, while they do show evidence of some rusting, they still work perfectly. My guess is that it would take many many years for the rust to reduce the sprinkler’s effectiveness.
Get it on Amazon >> Nelson Cast Iron Circular Spray Pattern Stationary Sprinkler
What’s Your Favorite Tool to Gift?
Do you have a go-to tool for gifting? (For me, it’s the hori hori.) If so, and especially if it’s not on this list of 10 terrific tools for gardeners, please share your suggestions in the comments below.