Gardening Tool Week: Specialty Trowels

Gardening Tool Week continues! As noted yesterday, it is too hot to be outside and expect to find plants looking their best for pictures, so we are switching to tools for a while, since they look good at all times, even in the heat. Today's theme: Specialty Trowels.

So, as I went from garden center to garden center and browsed through catalogs, I was bound to find some specialty trowels and decide that somehow life in the garden just wouldn't be the same without them. After all, how can one trowel really take care of all my digging needs? Would a woodworker only have one saw? Does a mechanic only have one wrench?

Without further introduction, here are some specialty trowels I have hanging around for special occasions and special digging.

I found this trowel, which I think is actually called a Trake, at a local discount store. Does this not seem to be the answer? You can have a trowel for digging and a small rake to move mulch away from where you are digging, ALL in one tool. The problem I have with it is you can't really push down on the handle for digging, because there is a small rake in the way. I've used this some, and may still bring it out for use on occasion, but I generally now prefer a separate hand rake. (Tomorrow you will find out why!)

Then at yet another discount store, I found this trowel with a narrow blade and thought how there are times when I have to plant in some tight quarters, so wouldn't this be the way to do that? You can dig a nice, narrow little hole without disturbing other nearby plants. Well, good in theory, but I have actually not had occasion to use this much, but I'm sure it will be ready when I call upon it.

The fact that I already had one trowel with a narrow blade that wasn't seeing heavy use did not factor into my decision to get this trowel. I ordered this one in the mail, from this site, when I was ordering a hoe. I just thought this looked different, and the sides are fairly sharp, so it actually works better than that other narrow-bladed trowel. Yes, it is fairly new, so I haven't had occasion to use it much, and really form an opinion about it. But I expect this might be the perfect trowel to "bore out" a hole for a small crocus bulb (excuse me, crocus "corm"). Normally I use an electric drill with a one inch spade bit to plant crocuses, but that's another story for another time (like fall).

And here is the "sister" trowel to my all time favorite trowel, which I also purchased from Lee Valley Tool Supply. This is a potting trowel, and is made especially to allow for scooping soil into pots. Won't this be useful? It is hand-made stainless steel, just like it's sister trowel. I bought it last fall and seem to have forgotten to use it this spring when I was potting up all the containers. But I won't forget the next time! It will make life so much simpler. And it comes in both a left-handed and right-handed version.

So, between yesterday and today, I've told you about most of my trowels. Good tools help make good gardens, right? Or is it a fool with a tool, is still a fool?

I think I should consider having a garage sale, and selling some of my older trowels that I am clearly not going to use again. But what if a new gardener buys one of them and gets frustrated because it bends the first time they try to dig with it and as a result they give up on gardening because of a poorly made trowel that I unwittingly put in their hands for a few cents? I certainly can't have that on my conscience. So, I guess I'll just leave all my trowels hanging around the garage for awhile.

But my favorite trowel, pictured again below, isn't going to be hanging around too much, especially once things cool down outside. Since I have this trowel, I think I am really done buying trowels for a long time (at least for the time being) (unless I find a trowel like my aunt has which is different from any trowel I have seen or have). Really, I am done buying trowels, and if I can only have one, this is the one.

Tomorrow, Gardening Tool Week continues with Hand Rakes.


  1. You know that you aren't done buying trowels, just like Ed isn't done buying lathing tools. The long narrow one is good for getting Canadian thistle out of the raised beds. I am sure there is another one in your future.


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