Barebones Garden Tool Buying Guide

 BBrianne Dela Cruz; Gather & Grow




Building out a well-balanced garden tool kit is a great benefit to gardeners of all levels of experience. The more often you garden the quicker you learn that having a variety of multi-purpose tools helps you accomplish tasks efficiently and with greater ease.


Knowing which tools are right for the job and the different tasks that a single tool can accomplish can be challenging. Below we have shared the many ways to use each garden implement and why you need each in your tool kit.




These tools are made with heat-tempered stainless steel. They are rust-resistant and can be resharpened. The walnut wooden handles offer heavy duty strength, a timeless aesthetic, and ergonomic support. The wood can easily be cleaned, treated, and waxed to ensure a lifetime of use.


→ Learn three simple steps to care for your Barebones tools.




Hand Trowel

How to use a hand trowel

Trowels are incredibly handy for digging in small spaces. The narrow, slightly scooped blade is perfect for installing bedding plants, moving soil, and digging holes for seedlings. A trowel is an essential tool in every gardener's arsenal. 

Square Hoe 

How to use a square hoe

The square hoe will quickly become one of the most used tools in your kit. It’s a wonderful trencher, hiller, and soil-patter. Use the square hoe to dig a long trench where seeds or transplants will be planted in a row like fashion. Hill up the soil over the seeds or around the seedlings roots. Then use the flat side of the hoe to gently pat the soil down around the plant so the seeds and roots are stabilized. Potato plants need to be continuously covered by a hill of soil throughout the season. When tending to potato crops, use the edge of the hoe to scoop and hill soil in a mound over the plant.  The square hoe is a wonderful tool for moving soil in order to maintain garden bed borders and rows.

Triangle Hoe

How to use a triangle hoe

Just like a square hoe, the triangle hoe has a variety of uses for all types of gardeners. This is a great tool to turn to when you need to do precision planting and weeding. The sharp points make it ideal for sowing seeds in small narrow trenches close to each other. They are also excellent at uprooting stubborn weeds and patches of grass growing in beds. The triangle shape is ideal when working in tight spaces where you don’t want to disturb the soil or roots of nearby plants.


How to use a cultivator

Think of a cultivator as a stronger alternative to using fingers when you get the urge to rake, stir, and mix the soil with your hands. The prongs are ideal for stirring in fertilizer and compost, raking rocky soil to remove weeds, or raking soil and mulch smooth over the surface. In parts of the garden where soil is dense and clay-like, use the cultivator to aerate the soil by pushing the points of the prongs as deep as you can before adding compost to amend the soil.

Japanese Weeding Hoe

How to use a Japanese weeding hoe

A weeding hoe is a less known gardening implement, but after a few uses it quickly holds a special place in one’s garden tool kit. Multiple times throughout the year, garden beds can get covered in a layer of wind-blown seeds that sprout up all at once and form a green carpet of tiny weed seedlings. This can be incredibly tedious and discouraging if each weed must be picked by hand.

Enter the Japanese weeding hoe. The razor sharp edge slides under the first inch of the soil and slices small weeds at root level with ease. A single pass with the blade uproots and severs instantly. Additionally, the blade can be sharpened. This enables it to also be used as a scythe when cutting handfuls of lavender stems and tall grasses.

Dandelion Weeding Fork

How to use a dandelion weeding fork

The strong taproots of dandelions and similarly growing plants are famously stubborn. The notched blade of the weeding fork is made to penetrate the soil and leverage up tap roots with ease. This tool is a life saver when dealing with strong plants whether you’re removing them from unwanted places in lawns or foraging in the wild for the medicinal roots.

Garden Scoop

How to use a garden scoop

Every gardener needs a lovely little scoop shovel like this. It’s perfect for scooping soil into potted plants and moving fertilizer from the bag into the soil. A nice deep scoop delivers the right amount of material (and keeps soil and fertilizer from spilling everywhere). 


How to use a pruner

Pruners provide scissor-like cutting for tender green-tissued stems such as flower stalks. These also perform well on denser woody-tissued stems such as rosemary, lavender, and sage. They cut clean and close without crushing plant tissue, which helps prevent disease from infesting damaged areas after a fresh pruning. 

Hori Hori

How to use a hori hori

Japanese for “dig dig”, the Hori Hori Ultimate and our Hori Hori Classic should be at-the-ready every day in the garden because of the many uses it offers. From a serrated blade that cuts open bags, to a hook that cuts twine and opens bottles, and finally, to a blade point that effortlessly digs in the soil, it's a tool that is in near constant use. Use the hori hori to excavate plants without damaging roots when transplanting. Use the measurement markings to dig a hole at the right depth for planting, and uproot weeds in extremely tight spaces without damaging surrounding roots. You’ll never run out of uses for this priceless tool. 


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Brianne Dela Cruz is a master gardener, wild forager, campfire foodie, and acclaimed writer and photographer. From her home in Salt Lake City, she teaches online gardening and foraging courses for modern folks and budding naturalists as well as hosts seasonal community gatherings. Brianne's blog and online school, Gather & Grow, is a community of folks exploring the intersection between nature and personal growth by discovering ways to slow down and nourish themselves with nature.  


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