Top tips for tools for national allotment week…
Our first house had a tiny garden. Because we bought a garage with a house attached (it was a cracking garage though – the former village forge, Edd misses it to this day). As there was limited room to grow anything other than in pots, I went ‘halves’ on an allotment with my friend. We both had small children at the time so it was a great way of meeting up, letting the kids get some outdoor time and for us to flex our growing skills. After a few years we both moved houses, lucky gaining us gardens that allowed us to have enough space at home to grow. We’ve got one third of the garden set aside as the veg and flower patch and my friend has installed a beautiful arrangement of raised beds.
But I do miss the camaraderie of the allotment (and get a bit nostalgic during National Allotment Week) – the meet ups, the collective decision making on what to grow, and dividing out the small returns we managed to grow. There is something incredibly special about the enduring allure of allotments – and the sheer volume of crops that the successful allotment gardeners can get off their patches (something that, to be honest, was never really our forte!)
My home ‘allotment’ or veg patch has variable success (this year the pigeons have been particularly problematic alongside my desire to not concede to covering everything in netting – I’m willing to share, but the pigeons don’t seem to get that concept!)
My top five top tools and kit for the allotment or veg patch are:
- Japanese Hori Hori garden trowel – I use the serrated one as I don’t have raised beds meaning I do need too keep the grass in trim and I can use the Hori Hori to stop it growing into the bed easily.
- Sneeboer Dutch Trowel – great for weeding – cuts like butter through the weeds and is easy to manoeuvre so it works incredibly well around crops.
- Opinel garden knife – perfect for cutting string and crops. Avoids the cardinal sin of blunting secateurs to cut open compost bags too.
- Korean Homi – great for our heavy soil – easy to use to dig the soil to plant. It’s a new tool for us but one we are getting good use of and great pleasure from (it’s just really well balanced!)
- Gloves – for summer and light work – the eco conscious Karma gloves (made from recycled bottles) and for autumn, winter or heavier work then the Perfect Ten (with reinforced finger tips meaning you don’t blow through the end of the gloves!) are – well – perfect!
Also - if you are moving tools and seeds to and from the allotment – then the Carhartt bag is great for carrying garden tools and the Toyo or Trusco Japanese toolboxes are perfect for keeping a huge number of seed packets together!
Many others (my gardening friend and ex allotment sharer included) swears by the Sneeboer Dutch trowel and the Sneeboer Great Dixter Spade and Great Dixter Fork - that's because she is working with raised beds - and all of these have long handles that work particularly well in this context.
So wherever you grow - in an allotment, in your garden, or on your patio or balcony... enjoy growing your own - the highs, lows and the inevitable conversations it will give you with your fellow gardening friends!
- Lou -