Choosing a Spade

A spade is probably the most important tool in gardening so its worth getting a good one.

Few tools are more crucial to gardening than a durable, sturdy garden spade. You don’t want to get something that looks OK but breaks in half or bends the first time it is used, or is uncomfortable to use.

The business end of a spade is shaped like a rectangle, with a straight flat blade and a square shallow pan for lifting, rather than scooping dirt. Although it can be used to shovel materials its not its main purpose. If you are doing lots of shovelling it is worth buying a separate shovel.

Major DIY stores and garden centers sell a wide range of spades.

I’m not a big fan of buying a spade on line because you need to pick them up and check they feel comfortable.

Spade handles come in different lengths to fit different people. If the handle is too short, it will be hard for you to handle the spade without hurting your back so make sure the spade feels comfortable. Pick the spades up in the store, feel them, and handle as much as you need to be sure you get a good feel for it in your hands and with your body.

Spade hilt handles come in ‘D’ and ‘T’ shapes . The ‘D’ shape is more durable and easier to use than the ‘T’.

Look for a garden spade with 200mm x 300mm inch blade for. The top edge of the garden spade should have a thick top to set your foot on so you can push down. Without the thick top your foot quickly gets sore and you can’t get the push you need. A stainless steel blade is the best and longest lasting all-around spade.

A sharp flat spade edge can cut and lift turf, cut through tee roots when digging holes for planting, and create more defined shapes in turf or soil.

Once you have got your spade look after it and make sure you keep the blade clean and the handle smooth, it all makes digging much easier. I also run an angle grinder along the edge from time to time to keep it sharp.

The spade in the picture above is forged stainless steel with a GRP handle. I’ve had it for years and it will probably last me out.
 

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