It’s fun growing food in containers but I wanted to check what tools are out there that gardeners use to make their gardening life easier.
I asked several fellow gardeners what their favorite gardening tool was and how they used it for their container gardening.
I also asked a few gardening experts this question and they gave me a ton of valuable insight that I can share with you as well. Hope this helps you improve your gardening skills and make it easier.
Gardening gloves are one of the most common tools that gardeners told me they use. This is a must-have to protect your hands while gardening even in containers.
The gloves will protect your hands and nails from the dirt. This is especially useful if you have sensitive skin and are allergic to dirt or certain plants.
I got a good suggestion to use long-sleeved gloves to protect the entire arm rather than just the hands. Make sure to buy cut-proof gloves to protect your hands from the sharp parts and thorns on the plants.
It’s also a good option to buy more than one pair because they can get worn out pretty quick when you work with your container plants.
Here are some gloves recommended by the gardeners:
Hori Hori Knife
A tool that is quite popular with my fellow gardeners is the Hori Hori garden knife. They use it a lot for activities like digging holes, removing weeds and cutting through roots. You can even use it to cut bags of potting soil.
I would recommend buying a good quality one that comes with measurements marked on it. So you can use it to check the depth when planting seeds or seedlings. Or when pruning parts of a plant.
Some gardeners told me they used a bread knife to cut the roots but I don’t suggest you do that. Get yourself a good Hori Hori knife instead.
Here are some recommendations for you:
A watering wand is found to be useful especially by senior gardeners who can’t carry a heavy watering can or bend for a long time. The watering wand also helps to conserve water as you only pour water near the base of the plant as needed.
One of the problems in gardening is when you have to carry a heavy garden hose to water your plants. But instead gardeners have found a solution with the retractable hose that mounts on the side of the house when you need to water the container plants.
Another option is to group your container plants in different areas of your garden. Then use a multi-hose splitter and connect smaller hoses to it. Then use each hose to water each area of your container garden. This way you don’t need to carry around one single heavy hose to water all the plants.
Another tool that gardeners use often are knee pads. You rest your knees on the pads when tending to your container plants so you don’t hurt them. This is especially beneficial to senior gardeners.
The knee pads are a rubber cushion you can place your knees on or use as a seat when working with your container plants. Make sure the cushion is constructed of a flexible, sponge-like material that is both waterproof and comfortable to sit on.
I think a better option is to just place the container plants at a height. You could place them on a table or trolley that raises the plants and makes it easier to tend to them without getting down on your knees.
Gardeners are using the garden fork they bought at Home Depot to loosen up the potting soil if it gets compacted after a few months. This helps aerate the soil so the roots can get the required oxygen and moisture again.
It’s good to protect yourself when working in your container garden. People recommend using a wide-brimmed hat that will protect your from the sun.
I also suggest that you work in the morning or evening and avoid the afternoon sun that could be harsh enough to give you a sunstroke.
Many gardeners told me that the trowel was one of their favorite gardening tools and also useful in container gardening.
You can use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, and also dividing tubers. You can use it to scoop materials from a bag of soil, mulch, or fertilizer.
You can get a cheap plastic trowel from Walmart and it works just fine. But I suggest getting a good quality one made with steel. This will not bend easily like a plastic or aluminum one. But it will cost you a bit more.
Also make sure it has a comfortable grip if you are going to use it often for your container plants.
An alternative suggested is to use a metal spatula like the one you get from Pampered Chef. You can use it well for weeding between plants in containers.
You will be moving a lot of stuff when growing plants in containers. You’ll need bags of materials like potting soil, compost, mulch, and fertilizer.
It’s best to use a gorilla cart to move these bags around as it can get heavy. This will protect you from straining yourself and is especially useful for senior gardeners.
I agree with my fellow gardeners on having this tool as part of your collection of gardening tools. This is an essential when you want to prune parts of your container plants.
It’s useful to cut small branches and stems of your plants reducing injury and preventing diseases from attacking them. I recommend using a good quality one that is rust-resistant and has sharp blades.
A bypass pruner with ⅝-inch cutting diameter capacity is usually enough for your container garden.
This was a tool I had never heard about but was recommended by a gardener I contacted. It’s a tool that is used with square foot gardening. It has holes at marked areas to plant seeds at the right distances.
But the gardener mentioned he also uses it in container gardening in their 3, 5, and 10 gallon bags to maximize the space when growing plants.
This is an alternative to growing in containers. You can use grow bags that are cheaper, lightweight, and flexible than pots. They do have the problem that they lose their shape after you add potting soil.
You also need to be careful if you need to move the grow bags around as they may tear from the bottom. You can place them on a trolley when you want to do this.
Gardener’s who spend a lot of time with their container plants find the gardener’s belt useful. This is a cool belt you can fit all your gardening tools, seed packets, cellphone, and booklets in as you move around tending to your plants.
This is something that had skipped my mind but was a good suggestion by the gardening folk. Plant labels are a great way to keep track of the seeds or seedlings you are growing.
This is very useful when you have multiple plants and different varieties of a plant. The labels will help you remember each variety especially if you keep a journal of all your plants.
The good thing is you can get these labels for cheap your you can even make some of your own using something like ice-cream sticks.
This is not a must have tool for container gardening but useful for gardeners who are starting seeds indoors or growing plants indoors but lack good sunlight.
You can use LED lights or grow lights in such situations to germinate the seeds or grow plants even in poor light conditions at home. Might be useful if you have a short growing season and want to start the plants indoors.
This one was an interesting tool that a gardener friend mentioned about. She uses a bucket seat that is a soft padded cushion you can place on top of a bucket. Makes for a useful seat when you’re working with your container plants.
Another similar tool that some gardeners recommended was a lighteweight sit-upon seat you can keep near your container plants. It’s helpful to give yourself some rest after you’ve worked for a while with the plants.
Drip Irrigation System
Gardeners who have many container plants found it easy to set up and use a drip irrigation system. It saves you time as you don’t need to monitor and water your plants every day.
You just need to set it up once with an automated timer and could even go on a vacation without worrying about watering your plants. My gardener friend recommended using a drip irrigation system from Drip Depot.
One of the required tools when you start container gardening would be a watering can. This can help you water the base of the plants and avoid splashing it on the foliage. It also helps you conserve water as you only use as much as required.
It was a good suggestion given by gardeners that I contacted to use a watering can with a long and narrow spout as it helps water the shorter plants without exerting yourself.
You could get a shower head that attaches to such a watering can. This will help you water several seedlings and small plants at once. Pick one with a capacity of 1 to 3 gallons which is a decent size so it’s lightweight but still holds enough water.
If you have large containers in the garden like some of the gardeners do, you need to have a container trolley. This will help you push them around with ease if you need to.
This could be when you want to move them to another location due to sunlight or shade requirements. Or just to move them to another location of your garden.
You could even place the containers on such trolleys before you grow plants in them. Then you don’t need to lift the containers and can move them around as you need.
The trolley also helps to raise the container above the ground to prevent it from staining and makes it easier to drain the water from the drainage holes under the container.
I learned a new technique of using ollas in a container thanks to my gardener friends. This is a narray clay pot that you bury in your larger container with the mouth sticking out.
The idea is that you fill this clay pot with water and the roots/soil will extract the required moisture from the pores. This is supposed to be an efficient method of watering your container plants. You don’t need to monitor your plants every day for the watering.
Restaurant Utility Scoops
I like how my fellow gardeners come up with unique tools to help with their gardening. One suggestion was to use restaurant metal utility scoops to transfer soil into the containers.
They are supposed to work great and last you a long time because of the high-quality metal used. You also get them in various shapes and sizes that you could choose one that fits your needs.
Another tool that was a game-changer was many gardeners was self-watering pots. They were able to grow tomatoes and peppers as well using such containers.
It helped them as beginners as they did not have to worry about constantly keeping an eye on their plants for watering needs. It became easy for them to gain the skills of growing the plant.
These self-watering pots come with a reservoir at the bottom of the pot that you fill with water. The potting soil absorbs the required water from this reservoir using a wick. So you only need to fill the reservoir every few days and the plant keeps getting water.
If you start seeds indoors, you need to use seed-starting trays to germinate the seeds. But an alternative people used were paper cups.
These are inexpensive and the best thing is they are biodegradable. Once the seedling has grown in such a cup, you don’t need to take them out and risk damaging the roots.
You can plant the paper cup itself in a larger container and the paper cup will decompose into the soil after some time. The roots will spread out from the paper cup allowing them to grow deep into the container.
I like the idea of keeping a large bucket near your container garden. You can use it to prepare your own potting mix by adding perlite, vermiculite, compost, and peat moss.
You could use it as a reservoir to store water for your plants. You could use it to store compost or mulch that you later use for your container plants.
You could even use it to collect precious rainwater for your plants. But make sure it has a lid to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.
Craft And Party Fabric
This was probably the wackiest thing I heard a gardener use. They got a Craft And Party Fabric that is used for wedding decorations. And claimed it works really well to cover up your container plants to protect them from birds and animals like rabbits, squirrels.