If you ever see me gardening, you’ll notice I usually have two buckets. One is stuff destined for the compost bin – old plants and weeds. The other is a yellow bucket that holds the tools and equipment I use most often.

I’ve been using this bucket since I was at our rental in Waipu, so it’s been in use for years now. I quickly adopted/stole it because it was yellow. Soon enough, Richard noticed it was always with me in the garden and started calling it my ‘gardening bucket’.

I’m not the greatest at tool maintenance, and if I didn’t have this bucket I would inevitably just leave all my tools scattered around the garden. But it’s so easy to chuck everything in a bucket that it works for me. My inner-voice gives me some grief about it if I don’t.

Every so often (maybe once or twice a year), I clean it all up. While I was procrastinating an assignment this week, I found myself cleaning my bucket. So I thought maybe today I’d share what’s in it while it’s nice and clean.


Gosh I love my Niwashi. This thing rips through kikuyu, can cut out weeds by the roots, and is just generally one of my favourite workhorses.

Niwashi knife tool

In the last couple of weeks alone, I’ve used it to weed several garden beds; remove grass from choking out natives; cut out old lettuces that were going to seed; and do some edging around paths, beds, and buildings.


It took me a while to find a pair of secateurs I liked. And actually, this pair came as a freebie with another pair I purchased. But this Fiskars model has become my go-to.

Fiskars secateurs

They are lightweight, hard-wearing, and fit nicely in my hand. They don’t cause fatigue if I’m doing a lot of work with them, which was something I struggled to find.


Whenever I need to open a bag of compost, cut some string, or make a quick harvest, my knife comes in very handy.

Knife and sheath

I think it’s a fishing knife – I kind of inherited it along the way. The thing that makes my knife special is the solid plastic holster which I can clip to the side of the bucket – this makes it less likely to get lost in the clutter. The blue handle is also handy – it’s harder to lose in the garden!

Wonder weeder

Honestly the best piece of garden kit you’ll buy for $5. There’s actually 2 in my bucket. I’m ever-hopeful someone will want to come pull weeds with me.

Two Wonder Weeders

It’s a simple construction – NZ made and designed. The epitome of #8 wire thinking. It makes pulling up most weeds a breeze. Mine are a bit bent, but that’s after many years of use.

Hand tools

A bit of a range here. I’ve collected them throughout the years, and it’s just a general selection of tools that are used for a whole bunch of tasks. I use them as and when required.

A selection of hand tools

You might question the long-handled teaspoon, but sometimes it’s what you need to scoop out seedlings or make small holes.

Sometimes a couple of them live more in the garden than in the bucket – the small fork tends to live with the leeks at the moment to make harvesting easier.


After trialing many types of gardening glove, I pledge my undying allegiance to the Showa 305 Grip Xtra Latex glove.

Two pairs of Showa 305 gloves

I have half a dozen pairs and there’s usually a pair (or three) in the bucket. It’s always going to be a popular gift for me – size L if you’re ever feeling generous.


There are usually three types of stakes in my bucket – very small bamboo sticks, metal rebar stakes, and cheap tent pegs.

Garden stakes and tent pegs

The rebar stakes come from our cloche hoop system, but I find them helpful for marking out lines, and indicating where I’ve planted stuff. Some are spray painted to give a bit of extra visibility in blogs and assignments.

The bamboo sticks get less use, but sometimes I don’t have enough rebar. At the moment I have quite a few of them marking out the location of my tulips so I can lift them later.

And I use the tent pegs where a string line might be in use for a while. A couple of packs was a cheap way to go when I was planting garlic and a few have collected in the bucket over time.

Strings and ties

There’s always a ball of jute string in my bucket. I go through about a ball a year. I use it for marking lines and bunching herbs, mostly. I re-use it as much as I can, but it’s natural fibre so when it begins degrading it goes in the weed bucket and through the compost systems.

Strings and ties

As well as jute string, I also have a nylon string line. I use this for marking lines when I need a bit of extra visibility, or for lines that need to last longer than a couple months.

There’s some small zip ties which are occasionally called into use. There are larger ones in the shed, but if I can use a small one, it’s there.

Hanging off the side of the bucket handle is a chain of reusable plastic plant ties. Having them easily-to-hand means I can give plants extra support as they grow.

Measuring equipment

I ordered a truly amazing array of crap when I first discovered AliExpress, but this adjustable measuring spoon is super helpful for measuring out fertilisers and additives.

Measuring cup and spoon

When I’m adding fertiliser to an entire bed, I get out a digital scale to get an accurate measure. But if I’m scattering around plants, or mixing up a watering can, then I get out the spoon or a measuring cup set aside specifically for measuring fertilisers.

Snail bait

I generally try not to use pesticides, but if I don’t use snailbait when planting seedlings, nothing survives.

I’ve also found that if I don’t have it on hand, I forget to use it. So I empty my boxes of snail baits into a plastic container and keep the container in my bucket.

Tui Quash snail bait

I use Tui Quash snailbait as it’s less harmful to pets and children.

Duct tape

Particularly useful for patching holes in my garden paths, I keep a roll of duct tape in the bucket too.

A roll of black duct tape

How do you organise your gardening tools?

Loaded gardening bucket

I’ve been thinking of putting some kind of utility belt around the outside of the bucket to keep things more organised, but I haven’t got close to doing it yet.

So for now, this jumbled mess it is!