Toolbox for Urban Gardeners

Various garden tools laid out on a wooden table.

Urban gardening is no longer just a trend. This highly popular hobby is here to stay. People in all sorts of city environments are learning they can grow their own produce, flowers, and herbs. All it takes is a little bit of space, a lot of creativity, and, of course, a great set of tools.

The Toolbox

There's no law that says you're required to keep your tools in a big, heavy metal box that's hard to carry around. There are lots of different options for keeping your garden tools together. Consider a tool belt with pockets, a canvas bag, or even a backpack. A bag, pack, or tool belt is much easier to store than a large toolbox, an ideal quality when space is limited.

Even when you clean and dry your tools after every use, most will eventually wear out in one way or another. At the beginning of every growing season, inspect your tools for signs of damage and replace them as necessary. If you're working with sub-par tools, it's going to be much harder to help your garden flourish.

Assemble and maintain a good set of tools for your urban garden, and you'll be able to handle any task.

The Tools

Hand Trowel - Urban gardens are typically planted in small plots or containers, which makes hand tools a must. Hand trowels can be used to turn the top layer of soil, dig holes to plant seeds and seedlings, and remove weeds. Find a spade with a cutting edge (it will look like an arrowhead). The sharp edge is perfect for cutting through roots and debris in your containers and garden beds.

Hand garden tools by a flower bed on a small roof garden.

Pruner - A pruning tool is a necessity for most gardens, even the smallest ones. You don't need large shears to maintain most urban gardens. Often, hand pruners will do the job of trimming away dead foliage and small branches. Small hand pruners will also come in handy for cutting fresh flowers, veggies, and herbs.

Hand fork - A garden fork is a three-pronged tool with multiple uses. Aerate and turn the soil, dig up stubborn roots, and loosen up dirt to prepare it for planting with this ancient invention.

Gloves - Do your hands a favor and invest in a pair of sturdy gardening gloves. Keep them right inside the toolbox so you never have to look for them when you need them. Gloves will protect your fingernails and skin while you use tools, pull weeds, and work in the dirt.

Watering Spikes - You may not have space for a large watering can, or the ability to hook up a garden hose. But anyone can use watering spikes, and they work for gardens of any size. These handy plant accessories are hollow at one end and spiked at the other. Push the spiked end down into the soil and fill the hollow portion with water. Small holes in the sides allow water to seep out into the soil. This will provide long, slow watering for your plants so you don’t have to do it every day.

A garden planted in colorful pipes.


Since you may not have a ton of horizontal space, plan to get vertical with trellises and frames. Use the city elements around you to brace and support your plants, encouraging them to grow in harmony with their surroundings. A simple ball of gardening twine is a must-have for any urban toolbox.

Tool Tips

When shopping for tools, pick them up and get a feel for each one in your hand. You want to get tools you can easily hold in your hand. They shouldn't be too heavy or uncomfortable. Many tools, particularly hand tools, are made with either metal or plastic. Metal will rust and corrode over time, but plastic is less durable. When used properly and cleaned well, all your tools should last you through planting season and beyond.