“Choose good-quality tools for harvesting; they greatly influence how pleasurable your harvest experience is,” advises Tammi Hartung, author of Homegrown Herbs. She considers her equipment an investment. Here are a few of her favorites.
Needle-nose spade. Tammi finds this tool, which some garden stores call a nurseryman’s spade, indispensible for harvesting whole plants and roots.
Garden digging fork. If you buy one with prongs that won’t bend easily, it will be great for root digging — even for lifting out some of the longest tap roots. A digging fork is different than a pitchfork, whose prongs are designed for hay and are not strong enough to dig out roots without bending.
Hand snips. Harvesting or pruning snips are critical for every gardener. Choose a sturdy pair that will last a lifetime, replacing springs and blades as needed. Tammi replaces blades annually and springs every five years, but her snips get quite a workout. Buy a pair that is the right size for your hand, and be sure to determine whether they are right- or left-handed snips.
Scissors. A small pair of scissors will fit easily in a harvesting basket or utility belt, making them readily available for all types of plant work.
Flower harvesting rake. Sometimes called a chamomile rake, this helpful tool combs small, delicate flowers from plants without bruising them. You can use it for harvesting flowers and some types of seed, such as milky stage oatseed.
Homegrown Herbs by Tammi Hartung (Storey Publishing, 2011), storey.com