Opinions about trowels wanted

tropical_thought(San Francisco)May 20, 2011

I have seen some nice looking handmade dutch trowels on Brent and Becky's, but they cost a lot. I would like the small truffle spade for transplanting. Can anyone tell me if this is a useful tool? I used to have a small camping shovel I used when a full size one was too much, but it was square and so did more damage to the plants. I left it out in the rain for a few years and it rotted out. If I get the expensive one I would have make sure I bring it inside the basement, since I don't have a garden shed.

I have a skinny short hand trowel and a wider short hand trowel that I like a lot. I can't remember where I got them it was years ago. What trowels are most useful? I think pointed ones are better. I move things around often because I have limited space, and each time I can improve the soil a little bit more.

Here is a link that might be useful: small truffle spade

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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

So, what I am looking at is the handmade one better then the non handmade one? This is half the price. Will the handmade one last longer?

Here is a link that might be useful: A cheaper version of the same tool

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 12:04PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

It's a nice looking tool but I'm not sure where a truffle shovel would fit in to my little collection. For ground level work where you need to make a small hole and firm in by hand trowels do the job - broad for plants, narrow for bulbs. For big plants and shrubs I use a spade (not a shovel) which means I can stand upright and exert some force on the blade with my foot. The length of the truffle shovel handle looks as if it would lead to an uncomfortable stance for digging. The blade also appears to be flat so it maybe wouldn't scoop very well. I have a border fork and border spade which are narrower than the usual tools and are easier to manoeuvre in a flower bed. If I were to recommend something other than a trowel it would definitely be a border spade.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 1:13PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I was aware of the flatness, it might be a problem. Maybe more then I think in terms of just digging small holes for bulbs.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 5:24PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

The flatness could be so as to avoid injuring the delicate bulbs when you dig them up. I am just guessing. If one was digging for truffles one would not want to injury them.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 7:52PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I have a stainless steel transplant spade I paid $27.50 twenty years ago from Lee Valley Tools. I was so pleased with it I bought another one for my daughter in law. The handle is fiberglass and is guaranteed forever. Don't worry about leaving it out year around, I have for years. The other shovel I have is what I call "grannies model" about four feet overall the blade just the right size for digging a hole for a one gallon transplant. I have several trowels, one stainless, the others commercial from AM Leonard. My favorite, lost in the garden for years, rotted out the wooden handle but I was able to make a new one out of Lucite plastic, which I like even better. Al

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 8:18AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

The Lee Valley ones are way up in price, making them on par with the handmade dutch truffle fork, but there is a good set of both a fork and a small shovel that would make a nice pair. I could use the fork to harvest my potatoes.

Here is a link that might be useful: lee valley set

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 2:42PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I looked at the link, and those look more like trophies than working tools. I do as much of my garden work from a standing position as I can. I could never justify paying those prices either. Al

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 8:56AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

So, what you suggest in terms of small items at a reasonable price? I have a small scale garden, and I am small.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 3:36PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I bought a Japanese weeder a couple of years ago, I love. For years I had been looking for Japanese weeder that could be used from a standing position. At a garden show there was a company from Berkley or Oakland selling garden tools straight from Japan. The company though their employees were Japanese did not have a Japanese name, I am sorry I don't remember the name. Their tools, all made for the Japanese market, were just right for smaller people. My long handled weeder is actually about a foot shorter than I would like and I will modify it when I get the time. My small shovel is available from Orchard Supply Hardware. I bought mine from a mostly salvage company in Santa Rosa, across the street from Friedman's for $5. They told me they sold a quantity of them to the vineyard growers. As far as harvesting your potatoes goes, I would think you would want a long handled spading fork for the leverage. Al

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 9:06AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I have had a set of two Corona garden trowels for fifteen years. One is a narrow blade that is great for bulbs and transplanting. The other is wider that is great for digging holes on my knees. They have bright orange handles to keep them from getting lost and aluminum blades that stay sharp and don't rust. They are designed to be easy on the hands and wrists. I believe Lowe's still carries them. The set is less than $20. My middle-aged arthritic hands give them a top endorsement.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:14PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Sorry to horn in, what is a border fork? Is it different from a regular fork? I find my pitchforks very useful but they are too wide for the tight spaces in my stuffed gardens. I have been longing for something narrower but have never seen one in the store.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 4:05PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

A border fork is a fork which is narrower and lighter weight than a normal garden fork, which I think might be what is known as a spading fork in the US. It is for dogging, not moving stuff about, like a pitchfork.

Here is a link that might be useful: border forks

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:22AM
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I believe a border fork is also known as a "lady's fork" because it is narrower and lighter. Similar to a "lady's spade."
I have a border fork, stainless with narrow tines, which also makes it great for piercing packed soil and moving smaller hard lumps - yes, I'm still turning my packed down builders' playground into soil that will encourage plant life! I've also found that, as my muscles build up, it's just as easy to wield a full size narrow tine fork for same purpose.
As for trowels, I agree with previous posters - narrow for small bulbs and wider for bigger bulbs and plants. Stainless steel is wonderful for gardens as it does not rust and cleans very easily, but don't be fooled by those that are cheap and thin - look for a really substantial tool and it will last for many years. The extra cost up front may be painful, but so is replacing cheap stuff.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 1:17AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Tropical Thought ~~ I have a small spade from the army surplus store. It has a pointed 'blade' and wooden straight "stem". I love it for tight jobs. Think it was about $15. Could only find online pictures of regular type handle and serrated 'blade'.

Trowels ~~ perfect gift for the gardener, right? I have trowels from expensive to cheap. It's the trowel that fits my hand and is the right weight that works for me.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 7:57PM
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