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Garden Gadgets:  A Shovel/Spade for Every Purpose

by Sara Pitzer

A spade used to hang over the front door of a newspaper in Pennsylvania with the sign: ``This is a spade. Call it that.'' Which turns out not to be so simple in journalism. Not simple in gardening either.

The reasonable answer to, ``Bring me a shovel, would ya'?'' must be, ``What do you want to do with it?''

Once you've tried fitting the shovel to the task at hand, you'll find your digging goes easier. Your Growise Center carries a variety of different tools for digging.

To break into heavy ground, such as clay, you need a spade with a curved tip. The narrow point enters the ground first and eases the way for the rest of the spade. Some gardeners like a short handle for applying pressure from above; others prefer a long handle for leverage.

Border spades come in smaller widths than standard spades for working in small areas. The tip is straight for making clean lines as you delineate border edges.

For scooping large quantities of light, fluffy materials such as composted leaves, you need a broader shovel with a long handle so you can scoop and toss the materials in relatively large amounts for each movement.

At the other end of the scale, digging around plants in established beds where the soil has already been worked calls for a sturdy trowel that looks like a miniature shovel but is larger than the standard garden digging trowel. A steel-bladed nursery trowel about 14 inches long will handle fairly heavy close-up jobs such as transplanting established perennials. For putting in small plants and seedling, you may prefer a transplanting trowel with a shorter handle and narrow blade.

Ask at your Growise Center to handle the digging tool so you can learn which ones feel best in your hands. A high quality, well-balanced tool will give you pleasure every time you use it.



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