Hand Tools

Hand fork:

This small but sturdy hand tool is not an essential tool,but it is a useful tool to have for the aftercare of your plants.

Its best attribute is: it can get into places where the garden and border forks can't.

It is ideal for thinning out and transplanting seedlings in both the ornamental and vegetable garden.

Basic advice would be; buy the best you can afford.

Things to look for:

The head and neck / tang should be forged in one piece for maximum strength.

The tang should be inserted into a solid handle.

The handles can be of wood or plastic,there is not much to choose between either type, so purchase one that feels most comfortable in your hand.

Hand trowel:

Unlike the flat bladed trowel used by builders, the garden trowel is scoop shaped.

Some would consider this digging tool to be as essential a tool as the spade, and like the spade, good quality should be your guide when buying one.

Like the hand fork the metal work should idealy be forged from one piece of steel, although many will have the tang welded on.

Never buy a trowel where the tang is rivetted on to the blade as this can often be an inherent weakness.

The hand trowel is generally used to excavate holes in well cultivated areas for planting out plants, bulbs and tubers etc.

The hole should always be deep enough, and wide enough, to take long roots without them being bunched up, or folded.

Sometimes, depending upon what is being planted, it may only be necessary to sink the trowel vertically into the soil, then ease it towards you then drop the seedling / bulb in the gap formed.

The the trowel is then carefully pulled out from the soil to allow the retained soil to trickle back around the root ball.

This works well in light soil, but it might be found necessary to adopt the scooping method, in ground that is heavy or sticky.

Quite often a hand fork and trowel are sold as a matching set which is a good thing in so far as, sometimes you may need a fork in a situation where the trowel is unsuitable.

Secateurs:

This is another one of these hand tools that although not essential is useful to have around.

There are three different blade designs: anvil, bypass and parrot-beak.

Anvil pruners: have only one blade, which closes onto a flat surface.

These are useful for cutting thickish branches.

Because they tend to crush the stem rather than slice it, this makes them quite reliable even when they are slightly blunt.

Bypass secateurs: work like a pair of scissors, where the two blades pass by each other to make the cut.

At least one of the blades will be curved, e.g. a convex upper blade with either a concave or straight lower one.

These are useful for cutting relatively soft stems.

Parrot-beak secateurs: are not quite as common as the previous two.

They consist of two concave passing blades, which trap the stem between them to make the cut.

These are suitable for cutting twiggy stems and deadheading.

Overview:

When buying secateurs the things to look for are; that they fit snugly into your hand, they are not too heavy, and the spring action is smooth when in use, and that they have an easy to use safety catch.

Another useful feature is they come in models to suit left or right handed users.

Daisy Grubber:

This another of those tools that although not essential, can be quite useful when you are weeding, as they are designed to get down to the bottom of the weeds root system.

This is particularly useful if the weeds being removed have a deep tap root.

Unlike the hand fork these are useful when removing pernicious weeds from a lawn,as they can do the necessary without much damage to the lawn.

They come in various shapes and sizes and are generally designed to lever weeds out, rather than dig them out, thus causing minimal disturbance to the area around the weed/s.





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