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The right shovel for working in the garden can make gardening chores much easier to accomplish, and so most gardeners use more than one.

  • Shovels should be chosen according to the height of the gardener and the type of the work to be done.
    • Large shovels with long handles and squared off blades are good for heavy digging, double digging, ground preparation, and harvesting.
    • Long handled shovels with rounded spade blades are used for digging in and around borders, transplanting, and mixing in soil amendments. There are shovels of this type with long, narrow blades that are useful for digging in crowded or confined areas. They are especially good for flower gardens, where they can dig down far enough to get the proper root structure without damaging surrounding plants.
    • Short handled shovels with small spade ends are good for precise digging where depth is not needed. Smaller gardeners find this type especially useful.
  • Look for shovels that are made from carbon steel or more durable, non rusting stainless steel.
  • Handles should be heavy duty plastic or kiln-dried hardwood. The best shovel handles can take up to 120 pounds of pressure without breaking.
  • Choose a shovel with rounded foot treads at the top of the blade that are easy on your foot arches and won’t damage your gardening shoes.

Sturdy forks with heavy duty tongs are also useful for digging in the garden.

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