Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs

What’s the Best Shovel for Your Garden From Master Gardener David Wall

March 26, 2024 – For most of us, a shovel is a shovel is just a shovel, never mind that there are so many types; short-handled, long-handled, rounded, round-point, flat, ditching, long bladed, trenching, and serrated.  Additionally, there’s the digging spade, garden spade, perennial spade, and scoops. They’re made from steel, plastic, stainless steel, carbon fiber, and aluminum. And, there’s the price from under $10 to over $100.

So,how do we select?  Mainly we select the fewest possible to do the most!  I’ve got four based on the amount of soil they can hold, size of the garden hole, and length of handle.  Some of you probably have one, and many of you have more than four! Unless we’re professionals though, there’s probably a general-purpose shovel that will do whatever you need.

Alright, so what are your needs?  Need a garden near a large tree?  Well, this is one case where a serrated shovel is needed to cut those roots, although a round-pointed shovel will, after a few or many jabs will cut the root.  Otherwise, we’re mostly just trying to dig a hole and/or move some dirt. So, perhaps a list of shovels to purchase isn’t necessary!

Cost is always a factor due to materials used, price, and shovel weight. Length of handle is always important.  Long handles are much easier on your back, close quarters may necessitate a short handle. 

Then, there is the blade. Two types of blades are available: round or round with a point, and flat.  Round with point are for diffing and flat are for transferring soil from one point to another.  Material is nearly always steel.

Lastly, there is the handle.  I prefer wood.  I’ve bent fiberglass handles, and steel handles are too heavy.  Choose your shovel and take care of it.  It can last a lifetime.

Author: Matt Janson

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