ektrules
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Where to get good gardening tools?

Hello, I grew my first vegetable garden last year, and this year I decided to work the soil with hand tools only for exercise. But I keep breaking them! I've already broke a "cultivator" (I guess that's what they're called), and a hoe today. And I tried using a pitchfork to work the soil, but one of the tines bent, so I just bent it back, and set it back in the shed :) All the tools seem to be made of some kind of cheap light wood. It's a shame. That cultivator worked very well... before it broke.

So where can I find some good gardening tools?

I don't have a lot of money though. So I can't pay $100 for a hoe or whatever :)

The Helpful Gardener
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Yeah paying for better tools just makes sense in the long run. I'd rather have a few good ones a long time than break cheap ones a lot. My gandfather used to tell me "Buy the best and you will laways be happy with your purchase" I still use several of his tools and keep the ones he wore out, so it's a truism...

Buy commercial grade tools; the stuff that landscapers use. Polycarbonate handles are more, but last longer in my experience, and I payed eighty, ninety dollars for my King of Spades spade, stell from top to bottom. I've chopped roots, pried boulders out and it still works great. Sounds like you might even be harder than I am on tools, so get good ones and be happy gardening...

[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/tips/03/[/url]

HG
Scott Reil

ektrules
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Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:44 pm

The Helpful Gardener wrote:Yeah paying for better tools just makes sense in the long run. I'd rather have a few good ones a long time than break cheap ones a lot. My gandfather used to tell me "Buy the best and you will laways be happy with your purchase" I still use several of his tools and keep the ones he wore out, so it's a truism...

Buy commercial grade tools; the stuff that landscapers use. Polycarbonate handles are more, but last longer in my experience, and I payed eighty, ninety dollars for my King of Spades spade, stell from top to bottom. I've chopped roots, pried boulders out and it still works great. Sounds like you might even be harder than I am on tools, so get good ones and be happy gardening...

[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/tips/03/[/url]

HG
Thanks for the quick reply. Where can you buy the commercial grade tools though?

I've got very heavy clay soil, so I'm guess that's why it's so hard on the tools :)

The Helpful Gardener
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Places like Tractor Supply are good, Big Orange Box has some better stuff, but most pros use folks like

[url]https://www.gemplers.com/index.aspx?src=25GMGGL&s_kwcid=gemplers|2667006025[/url]

[url]https://amleo.com/[/url]

Some of their knockoff stuff is almost as good as the brandname stuff, and lots cheaper...

HG
Scott Reil

cynthia_h
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

I have Felco pruning shears and have purchased, over time, high-grade digging and weeding tools.

Just to get used to the kinds of specifications and prices such tools can command (but you might get better prices closer to home), please see Walt Nicke's website at

https://www.gardentalk.com/

I have no commercial connection with this site.

Smith & Hawken *used* to have good-quality stuff, but even Paul Hawken these days doesn't like what the company has been selling ever since he sold it to an outside purchaser some six or so years ago. You might read their site, though, to compare it to Walt Nicke.

Another place for long-lasting tools is Lehman's of Ohio, Mennonite-owned. The Mennonites often grow *all their own produce* for their large families, so their horticultural tools need to be sturdy as well! Please see www.lehmans.com or call them at (877) 438-5346 Monday through Saturday, 8:00 to 5:00 Eastern time.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Gary350
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You get what you pay for. Some tools are way over priced too. I grew up on a farm we always had wooden handle tools so that is what I buy. Each tool has its own use. A pitch fork is not good for digging in the dirt. Use a potato fork instead of a pitch fork if the job requires a fork. The only garden tools I have are a round end shovel, flat end shovel, leaf rake, garden rake, garden hoe, potato fork and a 5 HP garden tiller. Tractor Supply, Farmers Co-op, Farm supply, Hardward stores, Home Depot, Lowe's all have pretty good tools. They have some worthless cheap stuff and some good stuff too. Ace hardware had a sale on tools a few weeks ago, shovel, rake, hoe $4 each. I took a look at the $4 stuff I wouldn't take it home if it was free. You can got a good shovel, rake and hoe for $10 to $15 each I think, I have not seriously looked at prices in a while I know prices have gone up so maybe tools have too. My Grandfather use to say, if you take care of it, it will take care of you. I paint my wood handles about once a year with Linseed Oil and I keep them inside out of the weather. I sharpen the edges and keep them clean.

chefshelle
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A friend of mine buys tools from Sears. Apparently, if it breaks, you can take it back in and exchange it! I think you do have to keep your receipt in order to make the exchange.
Michele

Check out our wonderful gardening supplies in the Home & Garden section of...
CheapWholesaleTools.com

TZ -OH6
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Clay soil can be tough on garden tools especially if you use the wrong tool. I have actually snapped a shovel blade in half because I used it to pry too many rocks out of my clay when I should have used the pick/mattock. But that shovel served me well digging rock and clay garden bed down to 2-3 ft.

Make sure the handles are strait grained with the grain running against the line of flexure (the lines of the grain should be seen on the front and back of the shovel handle = running parallel to the line of the pick head)

I think you want a spading fork, rather than a pitch fork for work in the soil. Those tines should only bend with stupidhuman effort.

I have not found a hoe that will stand up to anything heavier than potting mix with parsley growing in it so you might want to look for something with a nontraditional head-handle attachment.

I prefer to use a short D-handled spade-shovel for better control.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by a cultivator. I have broken or thrown out several different things by that name within minutes of use, but if it is sold on TV (like the garden weasel) or comes in any sort of package it is probably shoddy material and not very useful in real world situations.


My rocky clay soil tool kit.

-Short D-handled spade
-Pick/mattock
-Spading fork (also short D-handled)


-Pitchfork (for compost and picking up old mulch, garden debris etc)
-Soil rake -but I can smooth out soil just as well with the side of the shovel blade if I have too)
-Leaf rake

I have several broken hoes, and as a result I find that I do most of their job with a the combination of short handled shovel and soil rake.


You do not have to buy heavy duty tools (Lowes has a heavy metal handled shovel for $25 vs. $10 for its normal version). Most standard tools sold by hardware stores are built for the job, but you have to be able to recognize the flashy junk versions sold next to them designed for old ladies and city slickers working in flower beds that their landscapers prepped for them.

The Helpful Gardener
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I live right where the glaciers stopped, so rock is a BIG issue. My favorite digging tool when I hit rock is a pry bar; I have a four footer and a six footer. THAT'S the right tool for prying out rocks and I have NEVER made a garden bed in Connecticut without having to use one... :cry:

HG
Scott Reil

TZ -OH6
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I don't know if big rocks would be less or more of a hastle. My soil type says 5-20% sandstone fragments. 5% still gets a rock hit with a shovel shove about half the time. Fragments range in size from 50 cent peices to 10 inches, most big ones are about the size of a paperback book and pry loose with the shovel, but you never know the size and so I tend to put alot of pressure on them with the shovel before giving up and grabbing the pick. The one the size and shape of a tombstone was an interesting diversion. I use it as a sacrificial alter for squashing tomato hornworms.

The Helpful Gardener
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Location: Colchester, CT

My monster from the vegetable garden is aprt of it now; a corner of my retaining wall. The others are edging beds throughout the yard...

HG
Scott Reil

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