At this time of year many of us will begin spending time tidying and preparing our garden for the growing season next spring. Regardless of what we like to grow in our gardens this work will probably involve digging. A spade that suits you and your workload can make working in the garden safer and more enjoyable.
Here are a few things to consider before making a spade purchase:
Height: A standard digging spade is designed for gardeners of between 5′ 6″ and 5′ 11″. If you are between 5′ 2″ and 5′ 6″ try a border spade and if you are shorter than 5′ 2″ then a shrubbery spade will likely be more comfortable. Taller gardeners will want a long handled spade – either a longer version of a D handle, or a long straight handle.
Work Load: A spade full of soil is heavy! The smaller the spade, the lighter it will be. So if you are looking for a lighter tool, you will want to consider a border or shrubbery spade. If you are looking to move lots of dirt quickly and don’t mind a heavier load, then look for a tool with a larger head.
Terrain: If you have hard or clay soil, then treads (or boot savers) on the spade can really help, as these allow you to use your body weight to dig. Additionally, a strapped handle (where the steel comes up from the tool head to support the wooden handle) will provide extra strength. A steel spade can be sharpened with a file to give a cutting edge to your tool that allows the blade to easily slice through tough soil.
Materials and Workmanship: Stainless steel tools have become popular in recent years, and while these tools may be a good choice for gardeners looking for a light weight tool, a steel spade will be much stronger and last longer. For best quality, look for tools that are forged out of a solid piece of steel, without welded joints that can fail over time.
By Clarington Garden Tools, from Terri