Gardening Tools Through the Decades

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Gardening Tools Through the Decades

The majority of avid home gardeners will likely have a shed full of electrical gardening tools. However, when asked what their most frequently used and valued tools are, the answer will be similar to that of a small-scale farmer from the 1800s – ‘I can’t live without my spade, hoe and watering can’.  In this article, we will take a short journey through the history of old fashioned gardening tools to those used in the present day.

One of the great things about gardening is that you don’t need fancy, electrical tools and gadgets. Although these are great to have in your arsenal, the old-fashioned gardening tools are indispensable to any horticulturist.  

Gardening is often considered to be both an art and a science because it relies on arranging plants to beautify the landscape as well as encompassing the doctrines and methods of cultivation. Most gardeners use a similar set of tools regardless of what they are gardening. For example, the tools for planting and maintaining delicate roses are often the same tools used for growing hearty potatoes.

The style of tools associated with gardening has developed throughout history as the esthetic has changed, but the functionality has remained fairly consistent for spades, rakes, hoes, shears and forks. That being said, there are many tools that were once considered “essential” to a gardener that are now obsolete. These include but are not limited to:

  • Sickle – originally used for harvesting crops but is now only used as a recognizable symbol 
  • Scythe – has now been replaced by the modern-day tractor
  • Garden syringe – used to dispense liquid pest control but has now replaced by sprayers
  • Dusting bellow – similar to bellows used to stoke a fire, these were for manually applying powered pesticides 
  • Glass Cucumber straighteners – this 19th century glass invention was used to ensure that your cucumbers were straight as humidity could cause them to curl.  Today a plastic variety of cucumber growth molds are used.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, gardening tools were often custom-made by blacksmiths and were viewed as valuable family possessions.  Old fashioned gardening tools that could not be made locally were imported and valued alongside the world’s finest fabrics, spices and wines.  Because the majority of meals were locally grown, it was important that the farmers gardening tools were well maintained. A broken tool might have meant the difference between your family having a plentiful harvest or starving through the winter.

In the 20th century, gardening tools began to be machine-made and more affordable. As the industrial revolution progressed, people went back to a love for gardening as a meditative pastime.  Gardening tools were aimed towards hobbyists that wanted knee protectors and patterned gardening gloves for planting their beds of annual flowers.

Although little has transformed in regards to functionality of most everyday garden tools, how tools are produced and the strength and weight of the materials used continues to evolve. If you’re interested in purchasing the latest gardening tools that are high quality and durable, visit the Garden Your Senses online store today.