Gardening tools come in a very wide range of qualities and prices. Although the less expensive tools may look good value for money, in the end they workout more expensive because better quality tools last a lifetime unlike most of their cheaper alternatives that must be frequently replaced. Always clean tools carefully after use and oil them during the winter; the oil inhibits rust formation.
These are ideal for weeding and aerating the soil, and some types may also be used to create seed drills.
The versatile Dutch Hoe is designed to be pushed back and forth through the soil surface, with the blade parallel to the ground; other types of hoe should be drawn through the soil. The handle should be long enough for you to work in a near-upright position without back strain. It is easy to use and very versatile. It cuts surface weeds off at ground level. It is particularly useful for weeding between the vegetables. It will destroy annual weeds, but deep-rooting ones need repeated hoeing.
The draw hoe can be used for chopping weeds, but is more useful for hilling up or creating channels, known as drills, for seed sowing.
The Onion Hoe
The onion hoe is a thin bladed hoe that is recommended when removing weeds near vegetable plants. It is easier to handle than larger, heavy hoes.
There are two main types of rake: general garden rakes and lawn rakes. Garden rakes are used for levelling and breaking up the soil surface before sowing and planting.
Forks and Spades
Forks and spades are both essential in general cultivation. Forks are better for lifting root crops and moving manure or compost; spades are necessary for digging areas of soil and making planting holes. Trowels and hand forks are ideal for use in confined areas.
Handles come in various shapes. Y-type hilts are weaker than D-type ones because they are formed by splitting the shaft wood, but may be more comfortable for large hands
The trowel is a very necessary garden tool; one, which just as the previous mentioned tools, should be of good quality if it is to give years of service.
Hand forks are ideal for lifting and separating young plants.
The dibber is a useful tool for planting bulbs and tubers. If you have a shaft from an old garden spade or fork, you can make your own dibber by simple cutting the handle and part of the shaft to a suitable length, tapering and rounding the end to form a blunt probe!
The wheelbarrow is the workhorse of the garden; there is a very wide range of wheelbarrow models to choose from. Some of the lightweight, polypropylene wheelbarrows are excellent, though they obviously will not have the same life expectancy as the more robust, steel or wooden models. They do have the advantage that they can be left outside to withstand all the weather conditions, so are ideal for those gardeners who have limited undercover space.
Miscellaneous Tools & Equipment
In addition to the cultivation tools, you will find it necessary to have access to a Watering can, a Measuring tape and Line or thick string, which is attached to some form of pin, useful for marking out straight drills, and of course a good pair of soft, pliable Gloves. The cowhide type is my own particular favourite.
Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. Find it at http://www.lawnsurgeon.com
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