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  • New tools for a first time gardener

    Our daughter has just moved into a new house, her first with a garden.

    She obviously has no tools, so I want to buy a few for her, which will last and meant she leaves my tools in MY shed.

    As well as a lawn, she has a hedge on all three sides of the garden

    What tools would you recommend please ?

    Where's a decent place to buy such tools ? I always believe it's better to buy decent tools once, than poor tools again and again

    thank you

  • #2
    Trowel and secateurs are a must. If she has hedges, shears could be useful, too (unless she'd rather use a hedgetrimmer).
    If she has any sort of beds (flower or vegetable), then she'll probably want a spade, fork and hoe, too.

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    • #3
      When we took on our allotment about 15 years ago I insisted we got stainless steel tools as I know my husband all too well and I didn't want them to rust or die of neglect.
      We bought a stainless steel spade, fork, hoe and rake in Wilkinsons. They were a lot cheaper than anywhere else for stainless tools but obviously dearer than ordinary tools. They are just as good now despite being used constantly and on occasion being left out in the rain.

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      • #4
        I have hedges but prefer to use shears and cutters than a trimmer. Wolf-Garten multi-change tools are good, I have a push-pull weeder and it is brilliant. Secateurs are essential, I got a pair from Asda 20+ years ago and they are still going strong. I have a narrow hand trowel which I favour over the full width ones.
        So lovely and exciting to get your first garden.
        Always aim for the best result possible not the best possible result

        Forever indebted to Potstubsdustbins

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        • #5
          If she needs to do some digging, I would recommend the Burgon and Ball Ladies Groundbreaker Spade. It's a bit smaller, has a point, and really makes digging easier.
          Location: London

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          • #6
            OP here .. thank you for all your great advice.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by greenishfing View Post
              When we took on our allotment about 15 years ago I insisted we got stainless steel tools as I know my husband all too well and I didn't want them to rust or die of neglect.
              We bought a stainless steel spade, fork, hoe and rake in Wilkinsons. They were a lot cheaper than anywhere else for stainless tools but obviously dearer than ordinary tools. They are just as good now despite being used constantly and on occasion being left out in the rain.
              I've had bad experiences with stainless steel. Stainless steel is inherently more brittle than normal steel (the cheap ones even more so), and I have had several trowels and one spade shear on me.
              I find it's best to get just normal steel tools. My spade and fork are some 25 years old, both were originally coated steel (some sort of plastic film, I guess), but most of the coating has long since rubbed off. They don't rust, though, as any light coating of rust they may develop gets immediately rubbed off when I use them next. And most importantly, they are strong. Both have put up with a real beating over the years, levering up stumps, chopping through roots, digging huge clods of compacted clay, and never so much as bent.

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              • #8
                Depending on your daughter’s build/height/strength, consider getting ‘border’ spade and fork, rather than full sized ones.
                As a very average woman, I find I can go for hours with my border spade but my back starts protesting in about one hour with full sized spade!

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                • #9
                  Bulldog seem pretty good, if a bit unaesthetic.
                  Burgon and Ball are nice, and look nice - from good garden centres.
                  For tough (albeit un-pretty) tools, try a builders merchant

                  In terms of tools,
                  Hedge - I'd get an electric trimmer - maybe a smaller one if your daughter will be doing the work herself
                  Spade, trowel, lawnmower, hand fork, fork, rake, secateurs. You can do pretty much everything with those tools. Wheelbarrow?

                  How about a compost dalek - if she doesn't get interested, you can steal her compost ;-)

                  If they are regularly used, I don't think stainless is needed, a quick wipe over with WD40 after cleaning and drying them and they will last if kept in a dry shed.
                  Be careful with things like "stainless", there is good stainless and poor stainless, it's not an absolute panacea.
                  If you get things with wooden handles, a rub-down with Danish oil (made of freshly-pressed danishes…?) will preserve them. NOTE - Danish oil rags have been known to catch fire, so let them dry outside for a day or two before they go away.

                  Also, get sharpening steel/stone for edged tools - it's a lot easier to work with sharp tools.

                  I have a little opinel (#6?) that just goes in my pocket whenever I go to the plot for odds and sods, I've had it for 20+ years, and it has a real patina to it. There are better folding knives, but as a pleasing thing to own, it's the best I've found (but not their modern ones, as they are quite different).

                  I think my big recommendation is tools for tools - oil/WD40 to wipe down the steel and Danish oil for the wood, a sharpening steel, a source of rags, and a dry shed to keep them in.

                  To be slightly controversial, maybe budget tools first, then see what is liked/disliked?

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                  • #10
                    For the care of a hedge, I recommend purchasing a manual hedge trimmer. With such a thing, it is much faster and more convenient to trim the bushes than with an ordinary pruner.
                    Last edited by burnie; 30-09-2020, 08:36 PM. Reason: removed advertising

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