Lay it on with a Trowel
Over the last couple of months I feel as if half my life has been spent digging lots of little holes in my borders for all the plants that I've ordered, grown, been given and split. This hard work has resulted in a sore palm, wrist and elbow, mainly from striking roots, stones and even some rocks with my garden trowel.
The trowel is one of those garden tools I carry with me at all times when in the garden. I use it for all those little planting and weeding jobs it was designed for; plus many other jobs like sowing seed, distributing slug pellets, scooping compost for which it wasn't!
The essential factors I look for in a hand trowel are weight and balance. As with so many other garden tools, if your trowel feels uncomfortable then you will not enjoy using it. Other factors to think about include the handle, the tang (the bit between the handle and the blade) and the trowel blade itself. The handle should be comfortable and made of either a 'soft feel' rubber grip or a suitable hardwood. I think wooden handles are hard to beat (particularly Ash), but to ensure they do not twist, split or come off it is advisable to check they have a quality ferrule fitted. The tang will determine the 'lift' of the trowel and should not only be very strong (where it joins the blade is the trowel's weak point), but also of sufficient angle to ensure your knuckles are clear of the soil when in use. Garden trowel blades are available in a myriad of different shapes and sizes, so I recommend you go for whichever shape suits you best. I have always preferred a traditionally shaped trowel with curved sides and gently rounded front that cuts through the soil easily.
My favourite trowels are:
- Bulldog Premier Tanged Hand Towel: The classic from Bulldog Tools. With an epoxy coated blade and tang and a very solid Ash handle, this trowel will last for years.
- Spear & Jackson Neverbend Stainless Steel Trowel: The trowel I use. A perfectly weighted stainless steel trowel with a stocky hardwood handle that has lasted me about 6 years.
- Bulldog Evergreen Transplanting Trowel: A very useful narrow tool. The rubber handle is solid yet comfortable and the narrow blade is perfect for transplanting, weeding and using in rockeries.
- Spear & Jackson Traditional Long Handle Stainless Steel Trowel: For a little extra reach. A 12" long hardwood handle and stainless steel blade that is perfect for reaching into all corners of the border.
- Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Steel Soil Scoop: A trowel that isn't really a trowel! A lovely scoop that is perfect for soil, bark chips, grit and compost and has a soft rubber handle.
As you use your new trowel, the blade will start to sharpen in the soil and the handle will subtly shape to fit your grip - a great gardening partnership is born!
All the trowels above and more can be seen at: www.qualitygardentools.com/hand-tools/hand-tools/hand-trowels-and-forks/hand-trowels/viewcategory
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