Basket full of Barebones garden tools: scoop, Hori Hori, Shears, pruner, leather gloves.

Garden Tools: Selecting the Right One

April 6
3 min read

When it comes to kitchen garden tools… there are a lot of options to consider.

For this article, we’ll focus on how to select the right kitchen garden tools from one of our favorite high-quality brands, Barebones – without breaking the bank. The Heirloom Potager team has tested a lot of garden tools from different companies offered at variety of price ranges.
For us, Barebones offers reliable tools that we use every day in the field and are a great all-around investment for gardeners just starting out or those with years of experience.

The Modern Potager Kitchen Garden

The joy of the modern potager is living in a more intentional and positive way where we recognize we are our environment and our environment is what we make of it. A healthy, sustainable environment starts at home with conscious decisions to live in a reflective way that prioritizes giving back to the ecosystem and our human community.

How to Select: Which Garden Tool is Right for You?

The key to selecting the right kitchen garden tools is understanding the role the tool has in your potager. Are you looking for tools to help you dig, plant, and mix? What tool is best for pruning, trimming, or harvesting? Do you prefer having a tool for each job or tools that can provide double or even triple duty? Let’s dive into these questions further to help you select the right tool for your garden.

Everyday Basics

When thinking of getting our hands into the soil and planting seeds or seedlings, images of a garden trowel, cultivator, and maybe even a small hand hoe might come to mind. The garden trowel is a trusted hand tool and a go-to for the HP maintenance team when working in the kitchen garden. A good garden trowel should have a sharpened edged that meets in a point to help cut easily into soil and a sturdy handle with a strong stem to avoid bending or breaking.

We use trowels for creating holes in our raised garden beds for transplanting seedlings, making lines in the soil for planting seeds, and as a garden scoop + spatula for mixing in garden amendments like coffee chaff, worms castings, and compost into pots or garden beds. In a pinch, a trowel can even be used to open soil bags by carefully using the sharp edge to score a line in the packaging. A good trowel is one of our essential garden tools.

And if you feel like indulging your garden-loving heart (and happen to mix a lot of soil like we do), we have fallen in love with a garden scoop. Similar to a kitchen scoop, the large scoop bowl can hold a lot of soil, compost, coffee chaff, or even water if needed, which makes potting up our terracotta pots or getting our garden beds ready each season a little easier (and less wasteful) than using our hands.

But a garden trowel needs to be paired with a few other soil-based tools to ensure you have all you need in your garden toolbox. A cultivator is a great tool in the kitchen garden. We use ours to turnover compost, mix soil between the seasons with fresh amendments, and to gently score soil for planting lots of root vegetable seeds. If you’re planting in-ground, a cultivator is a good hand tool to help break up and aerate compacted soil. You can also use it as a small hand rake to move mulch or large rocks into place.

The Ultimate Garden Tool:  Hori Hori

One tool we absolutely love – and wish was a little more commonly used in the United States – is a Hori Hori. The Hori Hori is known as the garden knife and originated in Japan. It’s the ultimate garden tool perfect for digging in tough soil, planting seedlings or seeds, cutting through roots or tough stems, digging out pesky weeds, and the Barebones version has a built in ruler and a metal capped end which we use to help tamp in garden stakes. What makes a Hori Hori such a great tool is that it has a sharpened edge like the garden trowel paired with a serrated edge to help when digging holes or cutting roots. And it’s great for opening soil and mulch bags. While a Hori Hori is often regarded as an advanced garden tool, we believe if you start with the right tool from the beginning, you’ll build your garden muscles and knowledge that much quicker.

After good planting tools, every gardener needs the right tools to harvest all the delicious produce from their kitchen garden. We recommend a pruner and a quality pair of garden scissors. While both cut, they have different jobs in the potager.

Pruners are a great multi-use tool that can be used to prune small branches from fruit bushes or trees, harvest crops, and even cut through tough roots and stems. We love these steel bypass pruners from Barebones because they are solid pieces versus other models that are blades attached to handles. The solid construction means these do not bend easily, can be sharpened with a knife steel (at home, if you wish/know how), and are easy to keep clean with baking soda and vinegar because they don’t have extra parts or nooks that store dirt or sap.

New Barebones Hori Hori and pruner in their safety cases.
New Barebones Garden Scissors

Selecting The Right Garden Cutters

Selecting the right pair of garden scissors is often based on personal preference. We love the ambidextrous options of the Barebones lines and use them the most often for harvesting. Ashley Irene even keeps the large garden scissors in her go-to harvest basket for everyday use since it’s a great tool for herbs, lettuce greens, and even fruit stems. Garden scissors with smaller blades are ideal for herbs or lettuce greens. The key to selecting the right pair of garden scissors is to know what you want to use it for and make sure there is simple construction to ensure easy cleaning and sharpening. Like a kitchen knife, sharp garden tools make work easier and are safer to use than dull, dirty and chipped blades.

While there is a multitude of options available in the marketplace when selecting the right kitchen garden tools, there is no need to feel overwhelmed. Knowing how you’ll use the tool and understanding it’s purpose can guide you toward selecting the best tool for your garden and budget. Our guide will help you select the best tools to help you dig, plant, mix, prune, trim, and harvest all the fresh produce from your garden. Browse our full collection of Garden Tools.


Quality garden products delivered to your home