There is a plan in your hand and you a raring to dive into your plot and get digging, but what tools do you need to get you digging?
There is of course a big list out there of different tools that help you dig, weed, sow, prune etc but you won’t need them all at the same time. This is good to know as tools can bring a big cost.
If you are starting off at the same time as boot sales, then head down to them and pick yourself up some bargains. We plan to do this when the time comes to get the extra tools we need. The local tips can also be useful. Generally old tools turn up, some might have a broken handle which can be easily fixed. Or put some tools on your birthday list!
Now the tools I am listing here are just the tools that we have used so far. You might need to use something else on top of these depending on your plot, or maybe only half of the tools listed.
Always handy to have when you are playing around with soil and manure, or moving objects such as bricks. Don’t risk damaging your tea holding hand! You won’t need heavy-duty gloves for this, just ones that give enough protection.
Vital at all stages of your allotment. The wheelbarrow makes transporting your materials that much easier. Probably the more expensive tool to get, and they don’t show up at boot sales as much. But you can get a half decent new one for £30-£40.
A famous tool in the allotment world. It’s worth getting rid of any weeds before you start digging over, no matter how few. The more weeds you get rid of now, that much less you have to deal with later. They come in all different shapes, but they all do the same so don’t fret about which one to get. You will always find these second-hand, so don’t worry too much about buying new.
A material not a tool I know, but this stuff comes in handy to control those weeds! We’ve put it under our brick paths and compost area, as it gives them a bit of stability, but will also control weeds in those areas so we can concentrate more on the vegetables we are growing, rather than picking weeds out of the gaps between our bricks. You will find this at any nursery or places that sell plants. They are normally sold as big rolls which you cut off, so make sure you have a general idea of how much you need.
Comes in handy more often than not. Makes light work of the geoxtextile (when sharp) and anything else you need to cut to a general shape. Can be picked up for a few pounds from the likes of Homebase.
Another well known tool in the allotment world. At this stage a fork is used to help turn the soil over. There are different sizes and weights, so pick the right one. You will always find these second-hand, so don’t worry too much about buying a new one.
You can of course use a shovel to turn soil over, but you won’t get it breaking up as much as if you used a fork. We’ve used the shovel so far to scoop up the manure. We got very well rotted manure to use on our plot so a shovel was perfect for it. The shovel can also come in handy at this stage to edge up. We had grass encroaching on our edges, so used the shovel to cut it off.
If you are using manure on your allotment, we have been recommended to cover it with plastic afterwards. This keeps the area warmer, helping the manure to rot down quickly and keep in its nutrients. You don’t necessarily have to do this, especially if time is short. Any plastic will do, but the more heavy-duty you get, the more heat retained. You can get black polythene sheet from any nursery or building merchants. Cheaper to buy off the roll.
SAW, SCREWDRIVER, SCREWS
Depending on your plans for storage of tools and compost these can come in very handy. We’ve decided to make our own. We’ve got hold of pallets with sides that we are using for compost bins, and some damaged plywood to make a storage box for our tools. A handy tip for getting cheap wood is to go down to a builders merchant and ask for any damaged sheets. They can’t sell them full price, so you get a good discount.
If you are planning to build any cages for certain vegetables, then these will come in very handy. When buying a saw, make sure you get one made for wood to ease cutting. Saws can be bought relatively cheaply. Screwdrivers or drills can become very expensive. You can use hand screwdrivers, but I’m not keen on spending all day doing that. Look on places like eBay for a good bargain, or keep an eye out at places like screwfix where they have some very good deals pop up occasionally. Or better yet, borrow one from someone else.
In summary don’t buy everything at once, and don’t necessarily buy it all new. There will be more tools you will need on your allotment, but I will discuss them when it comes to the time that you will be needing them. After this your plot should be more or less ready to go, with just a few more things to finish up which I will explain in another post.