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Downsizing to minimal garden tools

I would like to downsize my garden tools to have fewer, take up less space and work more effectively. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can change my tools to have a smaller, more multipurpose selection?

I only need them for my garden which is loam over clay. There has been a lot of removing stuff previously (lots of dead leylandii etc), planting more trees and larger shrubs and now I am moving into the stage planting smaller shrubs and perennials. I used to have an allotment so some of the tools (like soil rake) are left over from that.

This year would like to grow some veg and flowers from seed so will need to get some seed trays for windowsills for some of that but I will get one type so they stack when not in use.

I have:
Felco 6 secateurs (great!) KEEP
Niwaki Snips (great for houseplants, fiddly things) KEEP
Loppers (very useful when rarely needed but almost only for roots now) GO?
Silky saw (I love this and cuts beautifully when I rarely need it, keeping regardless!) KEEP
Cheap folding saw (use this for roots but it doesn't cut well) GO
Hand held pointy weeder thing (not much use as I keep missing the root) GO
Narrow trowel (used often for narrow digging but awkward) REPLACE
Normal trowel (all general digging) KEEP
Hand held fork (I don't normally use this) GO?
Deep trowel (my main way of moving soil) KEEP
Builders spade (good for digging big holes but hard work as soil always sticks, it is a bit rusty) REPLACE?
Border spade (good for cutting turf but no good for digging as it bends, or for moving soil as it is flat) GO
Border fork (not much use as it bends) GO
Wolf Garten Soil rake head (I don't use this) GO
Two Wolf Garten rake handles (don't use these) GO
Compact lawn mower (great for cutting grass and I use it instead of raking leaves) KEEP
Compact strimmer (useful for edging but not used very often) KEEP for now
I also often use the kitchen scissors for cutting string REPLACE
Watering can (great) KEEP

I need:
Something for narrow digging to replace narrow trowel
I really need a hand tool hoe for weeding in amongst plants as weeding everything by hand is slow and tiring.
It would be good to have a blade for cutting string.
One useful strong spade (or keep current one)
One useful strong fork (maybe? Or no fork, I haven't had a useful one for years)

Potential purchases:
Hori Hori knife - narrow digging, cutting string, possibly cutting roots
Japanese gama hoe/ single edge weeder - weeding. I have seen the Ho Mi as well but think the Japanese version will work better for what I need?
Possibly something with spade and fork, I don't know

Any further suggestions?



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Posts

  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,241
    The one omission from your question is where you're currently keeping what you already have.  We have a garage, along the interior edge of which is a wall top timber support.  All my larger hand tools hang from nails/hooks along its length and, on the side of a rack of shelves, I fixed a tall board with rows of cup hooks on which lesser items like trowels hang.  In terms of actual floor space my tools don't impede on it.  Your present selection will all have their uses at some time.  Could you not accommodate them as above?
  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,294
    Tools are very much a personal thing, but I wouldn’t be without my Hori hori.  It was the first tool I was introduced to when I started volunteering at a local (open to the public) garden, and I now use it all the time.

    For strong spades and forks we find Bulldog very good - even my tool mangling husband doesn’t seem to have broken them after about 10 years of use.

    I’m also with @nick615 - if there’s a way to keep what you’ve got then I would try.  Amazing how many times loppers come in useful.  Even some of my roses are beyond the capability of secateurs.
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,997
    I would definitely hang on to the loppers if you can. I find them extremely useful. 
    Of course, if you have friendly neighbours who would be willing to lend you theirs, then that might solve any future problems  :)
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,241
    Exactly.  Our ratchet lopper (Lidl) hangs on a nail on the aforesaid timber and came in very useful for harvesting our HUGE Brussels Sprouts stems which wouldn't succumb to anything else.
  • Hi, thank you for your replies!

    Tools are currently kept in a shed - hand tools in a plastic caddy thing, mower under the workbench and everything else hanging on the wall. However we are planning an extension which means removing the shed and later on rebuilding but it will be smaller in the future so we need to reduce what is in there.

    More than space though the priority is that I want a collection of tools I like (like the Felco secateurs or Silky saw), which are nice to use and I need to carry a minimum around with me while doing work in the garden. A recent hand injury has made me realise I need tools that work well for the job. There is no point keeping the border spade and fork just because I was given them as a present a decade ago when they are not much use and I have to use the deep trowel instead.
  • The loppers are good quality and really nice to use so I think I will keep them and as a couple of you said they can come in handy for all sorts of things. Not very often but really useful when needed.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,389
    I wouldn't get rid of my loppers either, have used them a lot over the years.
    I can't believe you want to get rid of your hand held fork. It is the tool I use most often. I do nearly all the flower bed weeding with it. I have a comfortable kneeler.
    I use a border spade, doesn't bend, for planting bigger plants with. It's stainless steel so soil doesn't stick so much.
    My scissors, not the kitchen ones, live in my trug for cutting twine and compost bags.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,670
    I find my border spade and fork invaluable - I use them for digging planting holes, turning compost, spreading mulch, fork for tickling over the soil surface, spade for occasional lawn edging (it's flat-bladed) etc. Much easier to use than the big ones when you're on the small-and-puny side. You might want to think about replacing your old wobbly ones with better ones. I've had mine for 30-odd years, still going strong.
  • I can't believe you want to get rid of your hand held fork. It is the tool I use most often. I do nearly all the flower bed weeding with it. I have a comfortable kneeler.
    I use a border spade, doesn't bend, for planting bigger plants with. It's stainless steel so soil doesn't stick so much.
    My scissors, not the kitchen ones, live in my trug for cutting twine and compost bags.
    I never find the fork useful! It is funny how we all do things differently. My soil is clay based so maybe that is why the border spade doesn't cope, or maybe it is a poor quality one? I can't remember brand and not going out to shed right now. It is stainless steel but flips 'inside out' when trying to dig with it. The border spade tines bend.
    I suppose I could just get another pair of scissors for the garden. I am going to get the hori hori and if that works for cutting then great, if not then I'll use scissors.

  • JennyJ said:
    I find my border spade and fork invaluable - I use them for digging planting holes, turning compost, spreading mulch, fork for tickling over the soil surface, spade for occasional lawn edging (it's flat-bladed) etc. Much easier to use than the big ones when you're on the small-and-puny side. You might want to think about replacing your old wobbly ones with better ones. I've had mine for 30-odd years, still going strong.
    Yes, I would rather have strong border size spade than the full size one and that is good to know they can be useful and reliable. The recent hand nerve injury was caused by digging out a tree with the full size spade, a month on I am only just starting to be able to use my hand for normal things (like dressing!) so I need to be more careful in the future. I will need to find out what is a good strong brand .
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