When asked to describe my three favorite tools I initially thought about which tools couldn’t I do without, but that would depend on what I am doing. I have a favorite tool for each task (watering, making compost, weeding, digging) and each task is an essential step in growing vegetables. So instead I thought about the tools I most enjoy using and consider to be best suited to their purpose. This was an easy choice as I have several tools that I wouldn’t want to be without. Even after many years of using them, I am still impressed by how well they work.

Hand Hoe

This hand held little hoe is the ultimate tool for close up weeding. It can scrape over the soil surface and chop down small weeds without disturbing the soil surface (which would bring up more weed seeds to germinate). It is small and maneuverable enough to get between closely spaced plants without damaging them, but much quicker than hand weeding. It makes weeding into a pleasurable and brief activity. gardentoolcompany.com-Hand-Hoe

Haws Watering Can

With its long spout and brace that doubles as a carrying handle, this symbol of gardening tradition is the ultimate watering can. It’s unique design was first patented in 1886 and has been made for well over 100 years without significant changes because it is perfect. It has an interchangeable rose that puts out a perfect upturned spray, it is durable (I’ve had mine for almost 20 years), comfortable, and so well balanced I can use it with one hand. Perfection doesn’t come cheap, with the 2 gallon can costing around $144. However if you amortize that over 25 years it works out to less than $6.00 a year, which makes it sound like a bargain. There is also a cheaper plastic version that works pretty well, but it just doesn’t feel the same. hawswholesale.com-watering-can

T Handle Compost Fork

I bought this Bulldog (now Clarington Forge) tool at Smith and Hawken when it was still primarily a tool company, rather than a brand. It is designed specifically for turning compost and manure and with its wide head and five solid forged tines it works better than anything else I have ever tried (I imagine someone must have done extensive research to find the best way to shovel shit). Even the T handle is perfect, providing a better grip and more maneuverability than a straight handle. claringtonforge.com-compost-fork