Ok, I’ll admit, we just love our gardening tools. But not just any garden tools, high quality gardening tools made of things like quality hardwood and stainless steel. At Celtic, we use a wide variety of garden tools to work our farm and garden, and grow some amazing flowers. We put all of our gardening tools through some hard work, and have figured out over time what lasts, and what doesn’t. From Japanese Hori Hori Garden Tools for weeding, to dibbers that help us plant tubers and bulbs, we put any tool through a harsh treatment. See and read about garden tool sets.
Garden scissors or snips are commonly used in Japan, and are very popular now across the globe for their simplicity and for what they add to the standard garden tool set, or gardening kit. Read more about this relatively new addition to your garden tools.
Known as the Japanese Gardening Knife, this versatile tool pllays a solid role in any gardening set. Read more about this awesome garden tool, and why every gardener should have one in their tool shed or garage.
Ok, so you need a little tutorial on gardening tool names and their usage? This primer will review all the garden tool set names and what they do. From trowels, to Hori Horis, you can find all the names of your mystery garden tools here.
Planting bulbs is one of my favorite chores on the farm and in our flower gardens. But ask any gardener “What is the best tool for planting fall and spring bulbs?” and you will get a different answer from everyone you ask. Here are some quick questions to ask before we review each of the tool types:
What Type of Bulbs Are You Planting?
With a large variation of sizes and planting depths, the bulb planting tool you select will likely depend on what flower bulbs you are planting. For instance, a large DN2 18cm Daffodil bulb requires a much larger hole than a small Allium flower bulb. (Read our post on Flower Bulb Sizes). Also, not all tools can work in harder ground, or at deeper bulb planting depths.
What Type of Soil Do You Have?
Your soil type will also help you decide on your garden bulb weapon of choice. If you have prepared a nice raised bed garden with rich, loose soil, you may use a different tool than if you are “roughing” it an digging in native soil to get the naturalized look.
How Is Your Back? 😉
Alright, alright. Let’s get real. For the older ones in the crowd (I am one of them), your back may not be ready for hours of hunching, and you may want to use a tool that allows you to stand up for the digging part.
The Bulb Planter
Ok, so now that we have some of the bulb type, soil and the state of your back :), let’s move on to the different types and their pros and cons:
The Garden Hand Trowel
Back to basics. If you are planting a few flower bulbs, or just digging a trench in which to place your flower bulbs, the old standby trowel will work just fine. Also know as the small shovel, it is a bit old school, but when used correctly will do the job.
Pros of the Trowel for Bulb Planting
Everyone has one
Easy to use
Great for small volume planting
Good for most soil types
Cons of the Trowel for Planting Bulbs
Hard on the ol’ back
Not optimal for large quantities of bulbs
Can be difficult to use for deep planting
The Bulb Dibbler
The simplest tool a gardener can own has been used for millennia to plant seeds and plants of all types: The garden dibble/dibbler. Essentially a piece of wood to poke holes in the ground, the bulb planting dibbler is made for quick use. Seed dibbles are long and pointy, and bulb dibbles are fat and stout. The bulb dibbler is simple to use and effective.
Pros of the Dibbler for Bulb Planting
So simple, even a caveman can do it
Rapid bulb hole making
Usable for deep and shallow, big and small
Conveniently marked for easy depth gauging
Made of all-natural hardwood
Cons of The Dibbler for Bulbs
Most effective in softer soils
Metal Scoop Planter for Bulbs
These are your typical twist and scoop planter for bulbs. Usually made of metal with a plastic or wood handle, the scoop is angled to try and keep the dirt in and create your hole. I personally don’t like these bulb planters, but many people use them, and its a preference.
Pros of the Metal Bulb Planting Scoop
Do well in varied soils
Good for shallow bulb planting
Make uniform holes
Cons for the Metal Bulb Planter
Contant twisting to remove dirt
Dirt gets stuck in clay type soil
Hard to get deep bulb holes made
Made of metal and plastic 🙁
The Bulb Auger
The bulb auger planting tool is essentially a drill bit for the garden. Attach the metal or plastic end to a power drill, or if using a manual auger, twist the handle to dig your bulb hole.
Pros of the Bulb Auger Planting Tool
Stand up version is easy on the back
Works well in loose soil
Allows for any depth
Cons of the Bulb Auger
Hard to gauge depth
A little messy
Impossible to dig holes close to each other (Soil fills in bulb holes)
So, that’s a quick view of the bulb planting tool world. You can use them all for any bulb type, and there are enough for any preference in the garden. Go plant some bulbs! You can read our tips for planting bulbs here:
What makes the best hand pruners, and how to buy ones that are right for you.
We have been through a lot of different pruner shears in our time gardening and on the farm here at Celtic. And I can tell you, there is nothing worse than using a bad set of hand pruners all day. What are some of the key problems with pruners? How can you avoid them and. find the best pruners for you? Well, here is a quick list of things we have experienced over the years:
Cheap Metal Pruner Blade – any pruner that is black metal is typically made of cheap steel and will rust, pit and get dents in the pruner cutting blade. We like stainless, shiny blades for all our garden pruners, and premium pruners will have them.
No leverage – Sometimes we have to cut thick stalks and branches with our pruning tools. Many pruners have straight handles with no offset, and this means no leverage in the blade, and pain in the hands.
Not Wide Enough – to cut those big dahlia stalks, or the sunflower broom handle shoots, we need an opening that can handle a decent diameter.
Heavy – low quality hand pruners weigh a ton (cheap steel).
Poor Spring – low quality pruners are not snappy when you open and close them due to a cheap metal spring.
Ok, enough of the bad stuff, the question is, how can I tell a high quality set of pruning shears? Here you go:
Ergonomic pruner handle angles to easy pressure on the wrist
Wide opening blade mouth for easy big cutting.
Stainless secateur spring.
Lightweight aluminum shear handles.
Sharp, tough cutting edge.
Smooth, quiet cutting action.
This is just a quick article on how to spot the best pruning shears when you are shopping. They will put a happy smile on any gardener’s face at first use. If you want to see our recommended shear for pruning, you can find it here in our store:
Q&A about the best bulb planting tool for your garden.
Planting bulbs can be a laborious task at best, and having the right bulb planting tool can help in the process. But with a handful of different tools on the market, how do you pick the right tool for you? Well, it depends. Bulb planting can consists of different seasons, different bulbs and different soil types. Whether you are a spring bulb planter, or a fall bulb planter, whether you are a tulip bulb planter, or planting any broad variety of bulbs, one size may not fit all. Here is a quick overview of all the bulb planters, strengths and weaknesses, and when to use them.
Ah, the good ol’ dibbler. If you are interested in the history of the dibbler as a bulb planting tool, you can read an article here: Dibbler Bulb Planting Tool. Essentially this tool has been used for planting bulbs and seeds for centuries. The modern day dibble for bulbs is hand turned of a hardwood (maple is the best), and has a thick lower body for a larger hole for the bulb to drop. It has a handle, and measurement marcks so you can plant your bulbs at the right depth. The flat tips helps for soil contact for the bulb. Our handheld bulb planting tool, Dibbler, is made for loose soil, and provides a great way to plant both fall and spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus and much more.
I guess I am a traditionalist in the garden, but taking a drill with this on the end of it…well, seems a bit excessive. Some folks swear by this tool for planting bulbs in the garden. I have never used one, but I would think it would get heavy during planting more than a handful of bulbs, especially in harder soil.
This metal bulb digging tool essentially takes a quick twist, and extracts a soil plug and leaves a hole for planting your bulb. It works well, but you have to shake out the soil typically, and it is hard to get into packed soil. It can be useful, as you can usually put the hative soil right back into the hole once the bulb is planted. Beware of these, they are usually made of cheap metal and bend easily. If you can find a good solid one, it will last you.
When you buy gardening tools, there are soooo many different choices online, and the Hori Hori Garden Knife is no exception. With everything from the basic Japanese inspired version, to the futuristic Hori Hori that looks like a battle weapon, its difficult to figure out how to pick the best garden knife for your needs. Here is a Hori Hori breakdown to help you buy a quality tool that will help you in the garden for years.
The Hori Hori Blade – did you know Hori Horis became popular in Japan as Samurai sword makers transitioned to peaceful times? There are a few things you should look for in a blade. First off, it should be made of stainless steel, you don’t want a rusty hori hori. If its black, or edged in black, it will rust. Secondly, it should be concave (curved). I use my Japanese tool to scoop constantly, and if its not curved, you can’t scoop. It should have a serrated edge for cutting/sawing, and a smooth edge. Your Hori Hori should have measurement marks on the blade to help in planting and digging. Lastly, it needs to have a full tang. What’s a tang? The part that goes into the handle of the blade.
The Handle – Plastic has no place in the garden. It’s an environmental no no, and its just ugly, am I right? A Hori Hori is a traditional tool, and there are some that are nice to look at, and just feel right in your hand. A wooden handle keeps tradition, wont melt or warp in the sun, and just looks damn good 🙂 We prefer rosewood, for its durability, aesthetics and how it sheds water. Also, the handle should have a hole. Why? I use my Hori Hori constantly as a row marking helper. With a hole you can run marking string through the hole and make accurate lines. Lastly, there are several Hori Hori’s with round handles as compared to a flat handle. The flat Japanese blade handle is the traditional handle for a reason: it provides strength and stability when digging.
Buy From A Reputable Source with Experience – Would you have a painter do your plumbing? Buy your Hori Hori from a source with experience, and that actually uses what they sell, and that has reviews from gardeners/farmers on their site. How can you tell? Inquire and ask a question.
Read the Reviews – There is a ton of misinformation out there, and the best source of real, usable info? Other gardeners that have purchased the same tool. Review will give you insight into wether the product is really good, or just bleh. Look for passion and ooomph to make sure the purchasers really mean what they say about their Hori Hori Tool.
So, short and sweet. We have quite a bit more information on Hori Horis on our site, as it is our favorite tool on the farm for just about everything in the garden and landscaping.
A Guide on What to Use to Sharpen Garden Shears, Pruners, Scissors, Shovels and More
Ok, we’ve all experienced it. Excited to clip those new flowers or that just ripened vegetable, you anticipate the clip, excited and ready to go for it, and with a squeeze of the hand, bleh. The stem mushes in your blades or fails to cleanly cut. Our tools enhance the pleasure of gardening, and having sharpened, clean blades can enhance the gardening experience and speed with which we glide through our rows or throughout our landscape.
So what is the best tool to sharpen a gardening tool? There are a number of garden tool sharpening tools and techniques, and below is a list:
The old standby: the rusty file. You can use any fine file to sharpen large blade tools like shovels, hoes, weeders, lawnmower blades and more. Note: this is will not produce the sharpest edge, but will remove rust and get rid of the dull edge on large tools.
The Rotary Tool
Rotary tools are a great power tool for general garden sharpening and maintenance. They are relatively inexpensive and can do rough sharpening, and fine blade sharpening as well.
The Diamond Stone
Diamond stones are a great multi-purpose sharpener for a variety of garden tools. You can use them once you have a dull blade, and have removed any rust. They have a fine and coarse side typically, and can help you hone a nice edge on any tool.
These paddles arelight and portable. They usually come in a set, and are portable. They are typically used for touchup after initial tool sharpening and maintenance, and are quite handy. See our Garden Tool Sharpening Kit