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Handy tools for your garden

Handy tools for your garden

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When it comes to small hand tools, such as trowels, Penny Woodward says look for comfort and durability to last you a gardening lifetime.

Small hand tools, such as trowels, forks and weeders, are an essential part of a gardener’s arsenal, and if you garden mainly using pots, they may be the only gardening tools you need. For tools you may use for a lifetime, why not find yourself beautiful, well-made, well-balanced ones that give you pleasure each time you use them?

Always buy the best tool you can afford. Those that are sharp, tough and function really well will save on time and effort. There is nothing more frustrating when you’re trying to dig out a recalcitrant weed and the trowel snaps at the point where the handle attaches to the blade of the tool (and you usually can’t fix it). 

These tools come in stainless steel, heavy gauge aluminium and fibreglass/nylon forms with a variety of handles, including padded rubber, fibreglass/nylon mixes, and a choice of lovely timbers. Some come with lifetime guarantees. If you can, try the tool in your hand before buying. If you have smaller, more slender hands, you may well prefer a more slender handle. With a larger hand, or if you struggle to close your fist tightly because of arthritis, you may need a thicker handle to get a proper grip.

You also want them to be long lasting (not prone to rusting, or the handles perishing) and ideally, completely or at least partially recyclable. Luckily, most of the environmentally-friendly tools are so well made you’ll never have to replace them. 

Finally, a colour that stands out is good, because I’m prone to leaving my tools ‘somewhere’ and struggling to find them again.

So what tools do you need? The four I use the most are my trowel, pronged weeder, hoe mi and dibber.

Handy to have

There are other tools useful for specific or seasonal jobs: 

  •  Hand forks for turning and opening up the surface soil. 
  •  Special bulb planters for digging the hole and depositing the bulb. 
  •   Scoops for lifting potting mix out of bags and into pots (I also use mine for chook food).  
  •  Hand shears/shears for trimming lawn edges and plants.
  •  Weeding knives and other sharpened tools for cutting off plants just below the surface of the soil. 
  •  Snips (a bit like sturdy scissors) are terrific for trimming indoor plants, harvesting a handful of herbs, microgreens, and certain vegies.

The main article about tools first appeared in the Autumn issue (OG 132).There’s a selection of back issues available here — you can also subscribe and get the most recent issues delivered to your door!

OG 132