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  • Tools?

    I don't have any tools at the moment for the allotment (and I don't know anyone I could borrow some off ) and was wondering what you would recommend as essentials and also what to look for when buying tools.

    I'm assuming a spade and hoe but which type, and what else would you recommend as essentials?


  • #2
    Unless I am digging a hole I prefer to use a fork to dig my plot a rake is also very handy for leveling and breaking down the soil to a crumb as well as raking up the rubbish, car boots are said to be a good place to pick up cheap tools.


    • #3
      I agree with PaulW on this - I hardly ever use a spade - but my fork gets heavy useage on the plot. And last year, once it was clear - the best way for keeping on top of it all, I found, was to use my golf club ended hoe! Kept most of the nasties chopped down to size, dry soil between the plants that the old slugs didn't bother to cross, and even now the plot is still lookin' pretty organised - unlike last year!
      Whooops - now what are the dogs getting up to?


      • #4
        Thank you. I completely forgot about a fork!

        Is there anything i should be looking for when buying one? Is it worth getting a "women's" fork (I'm only 5'5)? Although I'm assuming (hoping!) my oh will be doing some of the digging too!


        • #5
          At 5' 1" I have a lightweight fork. Worth it to protect your back. You can do a lot of damage messing about with heavy forks laden with earth
          WPC F Hobbit, Shire police


          • #6
            With tools the most important things are fit, comfort,suitability and strength.
            We spent quite some time finding just the right fork/spade for each of us.
            My good lady is slightly shorter than youself and even though there is a Ladies/boder fork/spade in the shed does not use them but I am sure that mainy ladies do and even the guys have been known to use them. I guess I am saying go for what is comfortable for you.
            The hoe that gets used most with us is the golf club headed type.


            • #7
              I'm fairly tall but I like to use a smallish border fork for most of my digging. It's not the length of the handle that's small, it's the head, so you aren't lifting too much claggy dirt at a go. Rake is also essential. Added to that, a small hand trowel for planting out, and Bob's your uncle.
              Whoever plants a garden believes in the future.

     Updated March 9th - Spring


              • #8
                I started with a border fork, a spade and some hand tools. If you ask on your local freecycle i am sure you will soon have more than you need. Once things get going a hoe is a very useful addition to keep on top of fresh weed seedlings.
                Last edited by Wren; 31-01-2010, 06:34 PM.


                • #9
                  Garden Centres, magazines and gardening programmes will give you a list if 'essentials' and 'must haves', most of which you'll use once and then forget about, because something you got free or made yourself will be better and easier to use. Before you buy anything, ask yourself how much use it will have, then get it second hand from a car boot sale or freecycle.
                  My top used items are a garden fork and spade, hand fork and trowel, hoe, rake and a wheelbarrow, all of which have cost me no more than £20 (that's for all of them, not each)

                  If it ain't broke, don't fix it and if you ain't going to eat it, don't kill it


                  • #10
                    I rarely use a spade either, but use a fork all the time. I'm only 5' 2" and although I have got a border fork at home, at the lottie I use a lightweight fork (full size). You soon get used to how much soil you can lift in one go.

                    Apart from the fork, I use the hoe a lot (because the weeds keep coming back), and a rake to prepare the beds for sowing/planting.

                    I bought my spade, fork and hoe from B & Q and they only cost buttons. And even though they get a lot of use they suit me and do what they're supposed to. I'm sure that stainless steel tools are probably the very best, but I can't afford that, would rather spend my money on seeds etc.
                    Forbidden Fruits make many Jams.


                    • #11
                      Ask around friends, neighbours, relations, colleagues at work, and so on; generally put the word out that you have an allotment and are looking for tools, and anything else for that matter. Most people have all sorts of stuff lurking in their sheds and garages and would be glad to give it a good home

                      When people give up an allotment they also tend to give up gardening altogether, so allotment sites tend to accumulate old tools; ask some of The Wise Old Men that most sites seem to have, and they will also have spare tools stashed away

                      I was gven two forks, a spade, a rake, two hoes, a wheelbarrow, and various minor odds & ends like plant pots, labels, way out of date seeds. You will probably have to do a bit of cleaning and repairs

                      Then there are secondhand shops, car boot sales and charity shops. Charity shops tend not to have tools at their High Street shops, but they may have another store where they sell larger items and tools, or just in a back room so ask

                      Have a look around Garden Centres for offers; supermarkets, but garden tools will be seasonal - the trick is to buy in the end of season offers, but that's months away; and discount stores. Visit your local agricultural suppliers or dealers; they're not usually as smart as a shop, but are good value for money. And not just tools, check on clothes, boots, seed potatoes etc.

                      Most tools will be needed sooner or later, but you will find you use a fork and a hoe more than anything


                      • #12
                        Last year I mainly used a fork. But this year I took the plunge and bought an azada, or spanish hoe. I foung that its much easier on my back, as my backs pretty knackered, plus Im 5 foot 3 (and one eigth!). Lots of people onmy new plot use them. Be careful if you google spanish hoe though, you get all sorts come up!
                        Will try and find the site I got mine from. It has a digging/chopping blade on one side and a fork thing on the other which has been great for teasing out couch grass weeds

                        Thats wher I gotmy azada from. I love it! I tink I read that someone else here used one too? Can't remember who tho, was it heywayne?

                        Last edited by jackyspratty; 01-02-2010, 12:38 PM.



                        • #13
                          T'is indeed me with the other azada - I use mine for quite a lot of the groundwork.

                          One man's essential is another man's luxury. Or woman's's of course!

                          There are as many tools out there as there are jobs, and there are tools for jobs you didn't even know existed. I'd suggest give some things a go and you'll soon work out what suits you best.

                          I've seen/heard quite a few people obtaining tools from Freecycle, and has been mentioned - carboots are probably a good place to start.
                          A simple dude trying to grow veg.

                          BLOG UPDATED! 30/01/2012

                          Practise makes us a little better, it doesn't make us perfect.

                          What would Vedder do?


                          • #14
                            Wilkinson sword do good spades, forks and cutting tools.

                            Azadas/mattocks are good for light digging.

                            Any old barrow.

                            And the golf club hoe is the swoe (B&Q sell them).

                            Don't forget standard secateurs for cutting old plants etc. Hammer, string, both good for making frames. Consider looking out for a water butt too.


                            • #15
                              Thanks everyone!

                              I must be the only one with a rubbish Freecycle - my local list is always full of "wanted" ads!

                              I'll ask around next time I'm at the allotment, and I've just had a thought - I'm sure my dad must have some old gardening tools under his shed!

                              Failing that, I'm off to B&Q to look at their forks and hoes!


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