The Best Herb Garden Tools, According to a Horticulturist

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The Best Herb Garden Tools
Courtesy of Haws

When the founder of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, one of the many beautiful wineries along Virginia's Monticello Wine Trail, sought to ramp up the farm-to-table experience, he hired Diane Burns, a certified horticulturist. Her first order of business was tripling the size of the kitchen gardens — all the better for executive chef Ian Rynecki to whip up dishes using fresh-picked produce like lettuces, an array of herbs, and figs. But she didn't stop there.

Since then, besides adding chickens (which lay eggs for the kitchen) and an apiary, Burns has also converted a seven-acre hay field with native perennial flowers and grasses and oversaw the addition of a bespoke English greenhouse on the property.

"I see my job here as being a good steward of the land, always making smart decisions around rebuilding our ecosystem to just make it a more healthy environment," she says.

These verdant new additions are a boon for the land and also boost menu items like grilled asparagus with herb pesto and garden greens with local honey, strawberries, and feta. "Starting a home kitchen garden is straightforward, so your own recipes can reap the same rewards," Burns says. Read on for seven great gardening tools and a bounty of helpful tips to get you started.

Our Top Picks

Raised Beds

The Best Herb Garden Tools
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

Burns recommends starting with raised beds, which are lower maintenance, easy to weed, and support good drainage. She says to choose a spot that gets six to eight hours of sunlight and is not too far from your back door, "so you can run out from the kitchen and snip a few herbs or grab a couple of tomatoes and get back inside." If you're focused on growing herbs inside, start with four- to six-inch pots. Some good options to start your herb garden include rosemary, oregano, lavender, sage, thyme, basil, and French tarragon.

For both outdoor and indoor growing, the right soil is key. "Healthy soil will help you grow a healthier plant that will be able to fight off diseases and insects," Burns says. "Most herbs like good, dry sandy soil." To find the best options, try your local garden center for recommendations.

Price at time of publish: $95

Felco Snips

The Best Herb Garden Tools
Courtesy of Amazon

Burns doesn't use scissors to cut flowers or delicate plants because they can crush your stem. "Regular scissors don't always produce a clean, sharp cut, and that reduces the uptake of water into the stem," she says. The Felco model has long blades that can more easily navigate harder-to-reach plants and are sharp enough to make a clean cut through soft stems. Besides flowers, you can use them to snip fresh herbs for your favorite recipes.

Price at time of publish: $25

Haws Watering Can

The Best Herb Garden Tools
Courtesy of Haws

When it comes to keeping plants hydrated, a Haws watering can is the gold standard. The British brand dates back well over a century and specializes in products that are as nice to look at as they are functional. "It's a beautiful watering can," Burns says, also noting its perfect balance and excellent showerhead.

Try the one-gallon Bearwood Brook — made with specially-sealed and powder-coated galvanized steel to guard against corrosion — for watering outdoor plants. The big spout offers a faster flow to get the job done quickly. For smaller plants, opt for the Langley Sprinkler indoor watering can. Holding a pint of water, the small spout douses delicate plants and herbs with just enough of a spray.

Price at time of publish: $73

RELATED: The Best Compost Bins for Reducing Food Waste

Felco Pruners

The Best Herb Garden Tools
Courtesy of Amazon

For sturdier stems, like those in an orchard, or ivy, Burns likes Felco pruners. "They're great for woody plants," she says. And while they're an investment, the blades can be sharpened or replaced, so they last a long time. They not only get the job done with ultra-sharp, strong blades, but the cushioned handle makes it easy on the hands, too.

Price at time of publish: $74

Wonder Grip Gardening Gloves

The Best Herb Garden Tools
Courtesy of Amazon

For general weeding, Burns protects her skin with Wonder Grip gloves. "They just feel real good on my hand," says the horticulturist, who adds that they fit well around the wrist and, true to the name, offer a good grip. They're thin but sturdy, with a coating that allows for a good grasp of even the smallest weeds.

Price at time of publish: $13

A.M. Leonard Soil Knife

The Best Herb Garden Tools
Courtesy of Amazon

Another favorite gardening tool of Burns is her orange-handle A.M. Leonard soil knife. One side of the stainless steel blade is serrated and the other is a smooth sharp edge, making it a multitasking tool for sawing through plants or tough ivy, weeding, digging into the soil, and thanks to its one-inch measurement markers, planting bulbs. "I always have this handy on me," she says. The leather holster keeps it safely covered when it's not in use.

Price at time of publish: $52

OXO Ice Cube Tray

The Best Herb Garden Tools
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at OXO.

This must-have tool is for after successfully cultivating a leafy garden brimming with herbs. Specifically, basil. Whether it's Genovese or Thai basil (both varieties can be grown from seeds), you can whip up batches of pesto with the harvest and freeze the extra. Burns does this with ice cube trays. "Once they're frozen, you can put them in a baggie, so you have your individual frozen cubes ready to use all winter long."

Price at time of publish: $7

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Our Expertise

Regan Stephens is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor who has worked for nearly two decades in digital and print magazine production. She's worked on staff at People, Teen People, and Philadelphia magazines, and her writing has appeared in publications like Travel + Leisure, Fortune, and Condé Nast Traveler. She has contributed to Food & Wine for the last five years. For this piece, she spoke with a horticulturist with two decades of experience working in gardens.

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