If you are new to polytunnel gardening, you may be wondering what garden tools you will require in order to tend your polytunnel garden over the coming years. Many new gardeners will simply rush out and buy a whole range of garden implements. But the truth of the matter is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to grow your own food in a polytunnel. Here are some tips to help you choose garden tools for use in your polytunnel:
What tools do you really need for polytunnel gardening?
One of the biggest mistakes that novice gardeners make is buying too many tools. In a small domestic polytunnel, you really only need a handful of gardening tools. You will need at very least a hand-held trowel and fork. Larger spades and forks will be invaluable in a larger tunnel, for turning compost heaps, spreading mulches etc… A rake can be useful in order to create a fine tilth on seed beds, while a hoe can be handy for weeding between your plants. Most gardeners will also choose a good pair of garden gloves, to protect the hands when dealing with plants and soil. Above and beyond these items, you will find that gardeners often recommend many other tools – but these are not strictly necessary and many languish unused, taking up valuable space in your polytunnel or tool shed.
Making sustainable, eco-friendly tool choices
When choosing which tools to buy, organic polytunnel gardeners should always try to make eco-friendly and sustainable choices. Many tools come with plastic handles, though those with wooden handles are better for the planet. They don’t use fossil fuels in their creation, as the plastic ones do, and won’t pose a disposal problem at the end of their useful lives. What is more, though they are usually slightly more expensive, wooden handled tools will generally be better quality, and will last longer, so offer better value for money in the long run.
Sourcing garden tools for use in a polytunnel
When sourcing garden tools, the sustainable choice is always to look first for second hand or reclaimed options rather than buying new. Many old garden tools that are still entirely serviceable make their way onto the second hand market and can be picked up for a song. Check out online sites such as Freecycle and Freegle and ask around friends and neighbours to see what you can source for free, or for low cost, before you make any purchasing decisions.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.