How to Use a Trowel Correctly: A Guide to Effective Gardening

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Gardening can be a calming, rewarding hobby, given of course, that you’ve planned properly, you have the right tools, and you know how to use a trowel without putting your hand out of commission for a few days.

Arguably, the fun part about gardening is planning things out. Even if all you want to do is groom your front yard, or set up a cute little box garden on a windowsill, there are many things to plan out, and, often, most people find a lot of pleasure in doing that.

What kind of flowers to plant, how to landscape, what tools you need and where to get them–these are among the vital questions to answer in the planning stage and something you can use as a creative outlet even if you’ve never gardened before. After all, conceptualizing and planning a garden is easy enough even for the beginners that the abundance of information available may just serve as inspiration rather than cause the “information overload” dilemma.

However, when it comes to the actual gardening, beginners quickly realize why they thought gardening was a chore in the first place. There’s just no getting around tiring yourself when you’re out in the sun gardening away. But fret not for there are better and more effective ways to get things done!

A good way to ensure you’re doing things most safely and effectively is to have and use the right tools for specific jobs. And that’s what this article is for!

We will provide you with a guide on how to use one of the most common garden essentials so that you too can have your dream garden without all the tears and blisters you can get by poorly handling a trowel!

What Is a Trowel?

If you were to ask a seasoned gardener what tools are essential for this activity, then the trowel would hardly be missed or forgotten. It’s just really challenging to get much done–much less start on–in a garden without one of these!

Most gardeners–professionals and beginners alike, consider this multi-use tool a godsend for many different gardening activities. It can be used for so many tasks such as digging holes for planting and weeding, breaking up the soil, transferring plants to pots, and mixing fertilizers. But did you know that trowels are not just for gardening?

Yes, there are many different kinds of trowels, and among the most common ones are used for construction, but the one most likely to be relevant to you given that you’re reading this article is the garden trowel, so we’ll focus more on that type.

Simply put, a garden trowel is a small handheld tool that features a pointed blade made out of metal or sometimes plastic that is shaped like a scoop–think of a shovel, but sized just right for your hands. The handle of a garden trowel can be made from many different materials including wood, plastic, or even metal as well.

What Makes a Good Garden Trowel?

The garden trowel is a fairly simple tool that works perfectly the way it is, without any bells and whistles. So, while there are many brands and models out there on the market, there’s minimal variety among them, so you shouldn’t have too hard a time finding one that works for you.

However, that being said, there is a world of difference between a good garden trowel and a bad one! Make sure you get one with:

  • a comfortable grip
  • just the right size for your hands
  • a balanced weight
  • good quality and durability

When to Use a Trowel?

Now, despite its relatively user-friendly application, misusing a hand trowel can really sour your gardening experience. As much as possible, you’ll want to avoid hand strain, blisters, and the like.

It is also best to say that using a hand trowel properly also means getting your gardening chores done faster with less stress and more love to appreciate your hard work afterward.

If you’re wondering how to use a trowel, then a good starting point is to know when exactly would you need to use it. As people often say, there’s a tool for every job. And this covers trowels, too. Don’t be fooled by its flexibility. While trowels are also used for tons of gardening and non-gardening tasks, it was still created for a specific purpose.

  • Digging and digging-related tasks

Garden trowels are mostly used for digging and any activity that is associated with digging such as planting, transplanting, and weeding. No, you’re not going to want to go whacking at tall grass with your trowel, for example, but you can definitely use it to dig and uproot it! Keep that in mind, and you should be good to go.

  • Small holes only!

Another thing to remember is that while it may be a shovel mini-me, a trowel should be used to dig only small holes. Can you imagine the time and effort it would take a trowel to dig a hole large enough to plant a shrub or even a tree? Save yourself the pain and bring a shovel out for that job instead!

  • Good choice of blades

Certain jobs require certain types of trowels. For example, if you’ve got a small or tight work area, then you’ll want a trowel with a narrower blade width. Different types of blades also work better for different jobs. Weeding, for example, requires a blade that’s flatter. However, if you’re digging up holes or plants, then you’ll want a wider, more scoop-shaped blade to help you out.

How to Use A Trowel?

Regardless of the type of garden trowel, the way to use one is somehow the same across the board. Here are the basic steps:
Step 1: Put on a pair of gardening gloves. Regardless of how comfortable your trowel claims to be, there’s no eliminating hand strain if you’re going to do some gardening for quite a while! Ensuring you have gloves on means, you’re preventing any potential blisters, because who wants that? Nobody.
Step 2: Hold the trowel in a dig-ready position. Lower the tip of the blade facing the soil, and apply pressure on the handle to lower the blade into the ground.
Step 3: Push the blade into the ground until the tang touches the soil. The tang is the part that connects the blade to the handle.
Step 4: Press down on the handle to lever the blade and the soil out of the ground.
Step 5: Apply pressure on the handle and lift the garden trowel out of the ground along with the soil. And you’re done!

Final Thoughts

Gardening need not be exhausting, and this is only possible if you have a gardening buddy, which in this case is the garden trowel. Take our word for it; if you got yourself a good garden trowel and followed these simple steps, then gardening will remain to be a rewarding experience no matter how tough your turf is!

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