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Kate Bradbury

I'm giving my shed a good clear out, keeping only the bare minimum of tools - one border spade and fork, trowel, hand fork, rake and secateurs. There are so many other tools which I find unnecessary in my tiny garden. Which tools could you not live without, and why?


Oh, secateurs, Kate.  There always seems to be something needing pruned back from the paths in my garden.  Otherwise i woud be getting scratched or poked in the eye frequently.  And an old dinner fork for weeding in my pots.  The broken end of an old spade handle I also find useful for holes for potatoes or leek planting or planting bulbs.  But when my small fork and trowel were lifted from the garden recently I could not wait to beg, borrow "not steal" them from friends and neighbours.  Luckily I was fortunate to replace them by winning a competition which had a bag of tools as part of the prize. I soon found out when they disappeared that "the workman is only as good as his tools"

A Dutch hoe is a great tool for the garden. I use it to cut down annual weeds between my plants. It's also good in small areas to even up the soil level. It saves on bending down!


Secateurs, loppers, pruning saw and Wolf tool system with handles in varying lengths and heads for hoeing, cultivating and raking that fit all. Easy to store on a board with suitable pegs and screws for hanging them.  Then I'd add a long handled spade and fork, preferably stainless steel, plus two trowels, an old dinner fork for pricking out and a set of watering cans, hose pipes and connectors plus assorted buckets for holding plants when I'm lifting and dividing and transplanting.   Add a plank for standing on to work in the raised veggie beds, a kneeling pad for close working, a supply of canes and hazel sticks for supports and an old bread knife for cutting up clumps of perennials plus a lawn mower and cloches.

Quite a lot really.


All of those mentioned plus I would add - a good man is a necessity on occasions, preferably one who does not have a bad back.  I couldn't do without him and fortunately he is not a tool.


Kate I throw nothing away so have tools that belonged to my father the best of which is a very long handled Dutch hoe. It reaches well into the beds and is lovely to lean on at times, my first job on going into the garden is get the hoe and wander round it also helps break up the soil. There are trowels for all seasons but they come in handy to lay hands on in a hurry. I usually look for my Secateurs in the compost having put them down after reducing sticks to sawdust. The best tool as I get older is the electric hedge cutter, having several free standing bushes that need to be kept in check, they also come in handy for running over bushy roses or climbers that attack me what ever protection I wear, I have found no difference in fresh growth whether I prune by the book or run the hedge trimmer over them. Finally a very good kneeling stool, at the end of the day I need prise myself up with the long handles, it comes to us all.


A petrol-engined leaf-blower is essential to me. At the other end of the scale I find a good quality small pointing trowel is great for intricate weeding.


Hand fork, trowel, secateurs, Japanese onion hoe, and a mini crowbar are the tools I use most. Have a border fork and spade too, but my soil is very light and free draining. The mini crowbar is great for levering clumps of crocosmia out of my dry stone walls, and weeding cobbles. But the most life- enhancing is a pair of Velcro strapped knee protectors. I always found kneeling pads a bit of a hassle. Mind you, the knee protectors are so comfy that it's easy to forget you're wearing them, and I have found myself downtown with them on. Whoops!
Paul N

My Spork, my two pairs of Felco secateurs and my stainless steel garden fork and spade. Mind you the shaft of the spade has broken twice in the last ten years which Spear & Jackson have replaced under it's lifetime guarantee (The latest replacement has only a ten year guarantee).

Gary Hobson

Well, as you can see, my avatar is a hand-mower.

The one shown is a Qualcast Panther. Towards the end of last year I decided to upgrade to a high-tech silent Brill. Which is, as it says on the box - absolutely brill. I love my Brill.

Next most useful tool for me is a lightweight battery-powered strimmer.

And I couldn't live without a camera.

Felco 2 secateurs, had them since 1974ish and they are still going strong. Next is the wife, she cuts all the grass.


Besides the usual, I have a 5 foot long heavy crowbar, a heavy duty mattock, and a Mantis cultivator, all of which are essential for my heavy clay soil with a hardpan 12" - 15" down. 


An onion hoe, wonderful for getting between plants too tightly planted as most of mine are, my trusty Felco secatuers (sp?), an old vegetable knife for opening sacks of compost etc, and for getting between cracks in the paths, my camera for recording the best - or the worst - of what happened as it did happen.   Soft trug buckets in various sizes for moving anything from water to weeds, in quantities that I can carry alone. 


1) kneepads

2) forks - hand and border

3) pink trug bucket - it's my " useful pot to put things in"


I have a 6 4' shed that the walls are covered in hanging things for different jobs. I wouldn't be without any of them. And then in a different workshop i have my mower, rotorvator and all my petrol machines. The one thing I don't need is my stihl lawn edging attachment. I can do the job just as well with my strimmer.

But someone in the garden who knows nothing about gardening or my way of gardening usually ends up with me thinking, "what a tool"   



An old serrated kitchen knife, great for getting the weeds out between paving stones and a chop-stick for lifting and dibbing seedlings.

My collection ranges from inherited tools to all the usual electrical suspects but the tools I tend to use the most are my grubby hands and revolting fingernails! Great for getting in between rows to find weeds and pests Prune....well a brutting here and there really Pinching out Dibbing Cross-pollinating etc One very little, very sharp penknife, as a concealed weapon is a favourite friend.

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