For me summer means long, warm days, the kids running around the yard and, of course, gardening. I have had a vegetable garden for quite a few years now and try to grow as much of the produce that my family is going to eat as I can. I’m not totally there, but each year I learn a bit more, gain a bit more experience and get closer to my goal!
Black and Decker offered to send me some new tools from their Garden IQ Series. Although I already have quite a few basic garden tools, I am always game to try things out and happily accepted. This line of tools is sold at Walmart and comes in some fun colors. I didn’t know what items I’d be sent. . . so I curiously checked out the display in store:
When my packaged arrived Buddy and I ripped it open with glee. (Buddy is my big garden helper–Princess likes the idea of the garden, but not the work!) Inside I found:
Now I’m not the kind of lady that is more likely to buy a tool because it’s a pretty color–I’m interested more in if it meets my needs and is of good quality–but hey, if you can mix good quality and pretty, why not? And the lavender will be easy to see against the green of the lawn if anyone (aka the kids) leaves one of these lying around.
So on to the tools!
One of the items that I initially had trouble with was the mini D handle shovel. I use a D handle shovel (and spade-which is the square tipped type) frequently in my yard. As a matter of fact both got a serious workout this spring while I was digging up the hostas out front and splitting them, digging holes to plant bushes and trees, and moving tons of wood chip mulch. . . I like using them because you can set the tip on the ground and then comfortably holding the handle at about waist height stomp on the top of the shovel head (or in the case of splitting the hostas actually JUMP on it to put my full weight into digging down). This mini shovel looks exactly like a normal D handle shovel but with a smaller shovel head and much shorter. I honestly couldn’t figure out what you would use it for at first–it was far too short for the hold and stomp method, and if I were to try to dig holes with it then I would only be able to use my shoulders and back for the work–which isn’t good for you.
So I did what I always do when I’m not sure about something. . . I Googled it. And when I started reading some of the favorable reviews on this item I finally figured it out. This shovel is perfect for mixing and filling–especially smaller items. Lets say you are mixing up your own gardening soil mix, or mixing compost into potting soil before filling planters. You wouldn’t want to just mix it in a big pile on the ground–you’d most likely use your wheelbarrow or a large bucket of some type to mix it in. Well–for that type of operation a regular shovel would be very awkward–but this mini shovel would work perfectly. And when it was time to transfer that soil into the planters, again this shovel is the perfect size and shape. And if you were down on your hands and knees planting in the garden (and really-is there any other way to plant?) this shovel is short enough to be used–although I wouldn’t do a lot of digging that way unless you have a very strong back.
If I could only buy one shovel to use would this one be it? No–it’s not multi purpose enough. But it works very well for specific tasks and I have found myself grabbing it for those types of things.
The spray wand is well constructed and has a nice foam grip–which is a nice addition that I’ve not had before (and I go through about 1 a season –I’m hard on spray wands for some reason–the little switch/lever that turns it on and off always breaks). I did notice that although the fitting where it attaches to the hose is a metallic brass color it is actually made from plastic. I’d have preferred metal because, as I said, I’m hard on these things. The spray choices are good and the dial worked smoothly.
The hose nozzle worked equally well, and it was nice to have a variety of spray choices instead of just “stream” and “spray”.
Bypass Pruners are actually one of the tools I use most in the garden-so I was very glad to have one included in my package. The blades were sharp and the handles were comfortable. I was impressed to see the diameter of wood that I could cut through with these clippers.
The last item I have not actually had an opportunity to use yet, the “Culti Hoe”–it has a pronged cultivator on one side and a narrow hoe on the other. It’s also expandable–so you start out with it being shorter and then by twisting the connection in the center you can extend it out to a longer size.
Do any of you have these tools? I’d love it if you would add your opinions and experiences in the comments!