A trowel, a fork, a bottle and a cork…

So you’ve found your plot, windowsill, balcony or an old lady’s back garden and you’re ready to start, so you’ll be requiring some tools.

What you’ll need can range from anything as simple as an old spoon for the plants on the windowsill and a hand trowel and fork for the balcony.

For the full blown garden or plot (depending on how much preparation of the ground you have to do beforehand) you’ll ideally need most of the following but use what you can get your hands on first and work up from there.

  • Fork
  • Spade
  • Hand fork
  • Hand trowel
  • Secateurs
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Hosepipe, bucket or watering can
  • Old clothes
  • A kneeling pad (You’ll need one of them if you’ve got clicky knees like mine!)

If you really want to go the whole hog, get yourself some steel-capped boots and a donkey jacket with plastic patches on the arm and the name of a building firm in big letters on the back. Nice!

You can buy tools as cheap or expensively as you like, depending on your budget. DIY or gardening stores do quite decent ones at good prices. If you are doing it on the cheap, check places like the local flea market (like Brick Lane or Deptford), Amazon, eBay, Loot, Freecycle, skips, yard/garage sales or you could always put a card in your local supermarket/post office requesting old tools or even ask at a local allotment who might be able to point you in the direction of someone who’s getting rid of some gear.

My original set of tools came from the council when they were getting rid of some old stock. I transported a spade, fork, rake and an edging iron from the Harrow Road to Camberwell on a 36 Routemaster bus stuck in the hidey hole under the stairs where the conductor used to stand. The week before, using the same method, it was two 70’s council deckchairs which were pulled out of the skip at the yard.

Most of my present tools were a gift from our local “Portugese man with a van” in exchange for a couple of months of free rental of our garage. I recently got a fine pair of secateurs as a birthday present, and they are one of the things which are worth shelling out for, as a good pair will last you ages.

To get the best of your tools whatever they cost you, give them a good clean after use with a wet cloth or put under a tap and dried off with an old towel and also before putting in the shed/garage for winter, wipe the metallic parts over with some WD40 or oil for protection.

Now you’ve got the garden, you’ve obtained some tools, now what the hell do you put in it?


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