Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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New garden tools easy to use, more durable

  • Tools sold at Hadley Garden Center.<br/><br/>
  • Tools sold at Hadley Garden Center.<br/><br/>
  • Tools sold at Hadley Garden Center.<br/><br/>
  • Tools sold at Hadley Garden Center.<br/><br/>
  • Hats and gloves sold at Hadley Garden Center.<br/><br/>
  • toosl sold at Hadley Garden Center.<br/><br/>

As the quiet excitement grows with each day that is filled with increasing light, some of our thoughts turn to refreshing our stock of garden tools. Before we turn one shovel of soil, we can head out and explore what’s new and improved in the garden tool market.

“In terms of new tools to the market, things seem to be going in two different directions this year,” said Dan Ziomek, manager at Hadley Garden Center.

Ziomek said ergonomics is starting to become an increasingly important factor in gardening tools.

“When a tool is made ergonomically, it’s easier on people and on their bodies,” said Ziomek.

He described the newer ergonomic garden tools as weighing less and having curved handles, for example.

“Some are made of aluminum for the lighter weight. They’re just easier for people to use,” he said.

Ziomek said ergonomic tools include long- and short-handled tools such as trowels, cultivators, digging forks and shovels.

“In fact, the logo of one of the companies we carry, Radius, is ‘Garden More, Hurt Less,’” he said.

Even the handles on ergonomic tools look different from what we are accustomed to seeing — which is essentially a smooth stick with an implement on the end. Ergonomic garden tools have curved and circular handles for a better or easier grip.

To take ergonomics a step further, there are garden tools especially designed for comfort and use by women.

Green Heron Tools in Tripoli, Pa., has trademarked the name Hergonomics. The company’s website, wwww.greenherontools.com, states a “tool or piece of equipment should fit the user. Fit helps to determine how well a tool works and how safe it is to use or operate.”

Ziomek recommends Green Heron tools for women, saying ‘Women don’t have the same upper body strength in general and their balance is different from a man’s.”

Green Heron’s website also notes that women tend to have wider hips, narrower shoulders, and a lower center of gravity — all of which are addressed by their designs.

The second direction in which garden tool manufacturing seems to be headed is strength and durability, Ziomek said.

“People are sick of buying cheap quality tools that break too easily. They want tools like their parents had that don’t break in a year or two,” he said.

Ziomek said tools that are becoming more popular are American-made and are generally made of steel. A company whose products the Hadley Garden Center carries, Wolverine, specializes in tools that have enduring qualities, Ziomek said.

Even if you aren’t interested in gardening flowers or vegetables, Wolverine carries tools such as sod lifters and turf edgers for those of you who simply want a neat and healthy looking lawn.

More attention is also being paid in the creation of newer garden tools to address right- or left-handedness. Ziomek said that while some tools such as rakes and hoes “can go either way,” there are plenty of new models in terms of weeders and pruning tools that will be a better fit depending on which is your dominant hand.

Finally, it doesn’t matter what tools you buy if you ignore their upkeep. Simple measures that will ensure longer life for your garden tools include cleaning after use with a wire brush or steel wool.

“The dirt that’s on the tool holds moisture, which rusts and weakens the tool over time,” Ziomek said.

Also, at the end of the season he recommends a good cleaning and oiling of both metal and wooden portions of your tools before storing.

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