Working your basil garden means having the right tools to do the job! And, of course, having the right tools in the kitchen will help maximize your enjoyment of basil in dishes you prepare. Here is a list of items to consider. If you don’t already have some of these items, please check our Resources section at the end of this Collection for recommended suppliers for acquiring the right tools and equipment. And remember, many of these items can be helpful to you for all of your gardening and cooking needs—not just for basil.
Glass herb keeper
This is one of those “nice to have” kitchen gadgets—keep your herbs fresh in a glass cylinder that fits right on the shelf of your refrigerator door. A reservoir at the base contains water to keep your herbs hydrated without soaking them directly with water—too much water directly on your herbs can cause them to get slimy or moldy. Don’t need the extra gadget? You can always wrap cut herbs in a paper towel, place in a plastic zipper bag, and store in your refrigerator to keep them cool, hydrated, but dry.
This kitchen gadget is great for basil—or any other herbs that need mincing. Quickly prepare any fresh herbs with a rolling mincer. Many brands of this kitchen tool include ergonomic handles and easy-to-clean functionality.
Basil will thrive when watered properly. While tedious and even sometimes difficult to do with a watering can, you might want to consider an irrigation method for keeping your plants slowly watered.
A standard sprinkler system is not the best solution—while easy to set up, the wide-ranging water coverage of a sprinkler can lead to wet basil-plant leaves that promote diseases.
A drip-watering irrigation system that operates on a timer is one of the best irrigation solutions for watering basil plants. This type of system better controls how much water you use, minimizes water lost to evaporation, and more exactly directs water to where you want to soak your soil. While more expensive than a simple watering can, an irrigation system’s investment can pay off—specially to ensure proper watering when you’re at work or on vacation!
If you want a large garden of basil, other herbs, and vegetables and fruits, a greenhouse will allow you to start a mass number of seedlings all at once. With a greenhouse, you’ll have plenty of semi-indoor space and a more controlled environment for getting a bigger and more diverse garden launched.
And a greenhouse would allow you to think about making extra income from your garden. You can sell excess garden seedlings from your home or from a table at the local farmer’s market, or even just gift them to gardening friends and family.
Greenhouse styles include pre-fabricated or handmade—or you can design one that includes both. A greenhouse is a big investment, but can provide you with more gardening options and allow you to expand your overall garden.
Containers and Pots
If you want to start plants indoors before the outdoor growing season commences, you can try several environmentally friendly and free ways to begin with materials you probably already have:
- Newspaper or brown-paper pots
- Egg cartons
- Toilet-paper rolls (yes, these work great!)
- Random containers, kitchen pans, or baking sheets (you might need holes drilled into the bottom for drainage)—if you have aging or rusting kitchen pans that you’re looking to replace, they make for great “starter pots” for getting your garden launched inside
- Starter trays and peat pots
Using a pair of garden gloves—and wearing long sleeves—when you’re tending to your plants is a good way to avoid skin irritation and to protect your fingers, hands, and arms. Get a comfortable pair of gloves that fit well, so you still have full dexterity in your garden.
A useful garden tool, the garden trowel is handy when filling your containers and when mixing compost and worm castings. Avoid cheap versions that can have flimsy handles that are prone to break. Even inferior metal trowels can bend in hard clay or rocky soil. Invest in a higher quality trowel, and you’ll have it for years!
Many plants thrive when watered slowly and deeply. While tedious and even sometimes difficult to do with a watering can, you might want to consider an irrigation method for keeping your plants slowly and deeply watered.
A standard sprinkler system is not the best solution—while easy to set up, the wide-ranging water coverage of a sprinkler can lead to wet plant leaves that promote diseases and can encourage weeds.
A drip-watering irrigation system that operates on a timer is one of the best irrigation solutions for watering plants. This type of system better controls how much water you use, minimizes water lost to evaporation, and more exactly directs water to where you want to soak your soil. While more expensive than a simple watering can, an investment in an irrigation system can pay off—specially to ensure proper watering when you’re at work or on vacation!
Pruners or Snippers
Wear your garden gloves while pruning, and be sure to get a set of pruners or snippers that are comfortable in your hand when cutting. Don’t skimp on this—you need something that cuts well and will endure through many seasons.
Some areas of the country experience drought conditions in the spring and summer, and some municipalities may impose watering bans; that means hand watering only. If you collect rainwater, you can put it to good use when it comes time to tend your plants. Some communities offer rain barrels at a special discount to encourage water conservation.
Every gardener—no matter what plants you’re tending—needs a spade, or even several of different sizes. Use your spade to move around compost, dig soil for your initial plant hole, and to keep your garden soil tidy.
Spray Pump or Bottle
To control the emergence or spread of plant diseases and pests, get a dedicated spray bottle for your potion to do the job. This is one thing you can go basic on—no need for anything fancy, as a simple plastic spray bottle is fine.
Watering cans allow you to better control exactly where the water is directed in your garden. Plant leaves and fruit don’t need water, the roots in the soil do. Get yourself a good-sized watering can, and have some fun finding a watering can with an interesting design that fits your personality. Also, you want one that has a comfortable grip.
A wheelbarrow makes it easy for you to move soil and mulch from plant to plant; and it works as an excellent mixing bowl when you’re combining the perfect soil blend. If you feel like a wheelbarrow is just a little over the top for your gardening needs, a 5-gallon bucket may suffice. Just make sure you have a good trowel to mix with.
Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Please tell us which items you absolutely need for your gardening.