icture the scene: a lazy Sunday afternoon in the garden.
There you are, sitting outside, taking tea on the lawn or settling down with a nice glass of wine, enjoying the plants and thinking how lovely and peaceful it all is when suddenly the air is filled with ear-splitting mechanical shrieks from next door’s noisy hedge trimmer.
You know the racket will continue for a good hour or two so you retire indoors where you close all the windows and sit seething.
Sound familiar? Well, ask yourself how often you might have been to blame for such an episode of noise pollution.
OK, in the country you need power tools to cope with large gardens, but in towns and on housing estates there’s no need. In small spaces, hand tools do the job better, quicker, cheaper and quieter.
Granted, manual gardening might not look quite so macho as wielding a hefty bit of kit that makes you feel like a lumberjack, but for the truly green-fingered, hands-on gardening is the best sort.
Not only does it give you precision control, it also has that element of nurturing, love and care, and that’s surely what gardening is all about. It’s also very green, since you substitute elbow grease for axle grease.
But in the current climate, there’s another good reason for going manual – money. Even the best hand tools cost less than power tools and they’ll last a lot longer with no spare parts or costly repairs needed – just a bit of tightening up, sharpening, cleaning and oiling. What’s more, you can use hand tools as much as you like without relying on fossil fuels or running up electricity bills
And instead of ruining those few fine days with dreadful dins, all anyone will hear is the gentle snick of shears or clippers. I’m all for it.
The basic kit consists of a spade and fork, rake and hoe, shears and a hand fork and trowel. If you go in for kitchen gardening, an onion hoe is handy and you’ll need a pair of secateurs for fruit growing. Long-handled loppers are invaluable for trees that need major trimming and if you’ve a lot of lawn edges, invest in a pair of long-handled edging shears – you’ll do twice the work in half the time and you won’t strain your back.
A wheelbarrow is invaluable for carting manure and compost or shifting heavy bags.
If you have a small lawn, don’t waste money on a powerful petrol mower when a small push one does the job. There is nothing to go wrong, it has blades you can sharpen with a file or grinder and it will fit in the cupboard under the stairs. What’s more, pushing it helps you keep fit.
Of course, there’s no point in throwing away perfectly good power tools, but when they wear out take a look at the hand tools available. But be selective.
You’ll be amazed at the difference paying a few quid extra makes. You’ll still be massively below power-tool prices and you’ll stay on better terms with your neighbours.
Published at Sat, 28 Oct 2017 23:01:00 +0000