The Garden Guide

Digging tools - review

Shovels, Spades, Forks

American diggers prefer the long-handled shovel (left) and British diggers prefer the D- or T-handled spade and fork. All are good tools and the national preferences may result from different traditions. The shovel is better for digging new land:

  • the point cuts turf with more ease than a square blade
  • the long handle gives more leverage
  • the greater angle between blade and shaft provides a fulcrum
  • the curvature on the blade provides strength and and holds the sod if it is to be turned or moved

Spades and forks can be used with more precision in land which is regularly worked:

  • the top handle on the shaft gives more control
  • it is easier to twist a tool with a top handle
  • the flater blade allow straight lines to be cut