Orangeville, ON (James Doan) The right tool can help make any job easier and the garden is no exception. Gardening is an enjoyable activity. If you don’t want to end up sore, blistered or itching, it’s important to prepare before you begin.

Here are some essential items that I keep in my garden shed:

Gardener’s First-Aid Kit
The most important thing in my shed is my first-aid kit for common garden emergencies. These include sunburn, bug bites, cuts, and poison ivy, oak or sumac. Every gardener I know dreads poison ivy because the itch can last for weeks. A tiny brush against one of these plants can cause a whole lot of itch. It doesn’t have to with the help of one of my favorite products, Cortaid® Poison Ivy Care Treatment Kit. Use it to defend against an outbreak, help to prevent spreading and treat an itchy reaction.

Gardening Gloves
There is nothing wrong in getting my hands dirty, but nothing beats a great pair of high-quality leather gardening gloves. The right gloves can protect hands from thorns, an unexpected bee or spider, sharp twigs or sticks and blistering.

Shovels/Spade & Trowel
A good shovel is the difference between making your garden work easier and giving you a backache. Look for one with a long handle (to take pressure off of your back) and flat ledge, which creates a surface for your foot. A trowel is a must. Find one with a wide, curved blade that fits in your hand.

Pruners
Pruning, deadheading and trimming plants goes on all year long. Look for “bypass” pruners that make a clean cut on the plant without crushing or tearing it.

Wheelbarrows and Carts
Toting things around the garden can become a chore. Save yourself a backache and find a lightweight yet sturdy and steady cart to help with heavy work.

Watering Essentials
A good hose has a 5/8-inch opening, reinforced with a mesh layer and is kink resistant. It should handle 50 pounds per square inch of water pressure. Cost usually reflects quality, so spend the extra. For areas your hose can’t reach, invest in a sturdy watering can.