True gardening hoe: Use the hoe to weed and to create depressed rows for planting seeds. Get one four or five inches wide and about two inches deep.

Spading fork: Use it to turn the soil, loosening it in the spring and turning in compost you’ve added. Since we got rid of our rototiller, we rely on it ever more.

Hand trowel: Pick one of many styles that suits you. I use a 10-inch, one-piece stainless steel, U.S.-made Wilcox trowel that has both metric and standard measurements. The measurements are useful when I’m spacing out transplants or digging holes for bulbs.

Hand pruners: Use them to cut everything from twigs to peppers to flowers. Get one that suits your hand and gardening style. I like by-pass pruners better than anvil style.

Good shovel: Use it to dig holes for planting and to harvest some crops. I use a long handled shovel but my wife Nancy prefers a short handled shovel. Use a shovel that fits your height.

—TOM ATWELL

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