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Tools for those tight spaces.

AS GARDENS GROW UP, tool sizes tend to go down. When you find yourself working beneath, between, and around plants, you need tools that are smaller and more precise. Following are some of our favorite choices.

Cultivators and weeders. Single-tined cultivators are at their best slipping through the spaces in closely planted bulb and flower beds. Drag the tine through the soil to loosen it, then hand-pull weeds. They come out with little or no resistance. Use the dull-tipped kind (pictured at upper right) in soils that have weeds that send out runners; the blade will pull up the runners without severing them, so you can get the whole plant at once.

When your goal is to slice off weeds below ground level, use the kind with a single blade attached (often called Bar Harbor or New England weeders).

Crack weeders are perfect for removing grass that grows through cracks between bricks. They're also small enough to carry in your pocket for hooking the occasional garden weed.

Spades. Many names describe the same class of tools: perennial spades, poaching spades (pictured), drain spades, trenching spades, and floral spades. All are narrower (but not necessarily shorter) than standard spades and shovels.

Don't use children's tools: handles are usually too short for adults. And check tool construction. Some narrow spades have no shoe rest on the blade, so you can't drive it into the soil with your foot. If that's the case, the tool should have a Y or D handle so you can bear doewn with your hand.

Trowels. A standard 4-inch-wide hand trowel seems clumsy in a rockery. Narrower trowels, in widths down to about 1 1/2 inches, fit better into tight spaces. For maximum strength, look for trowels whose parts are welded (not riveted) or of one piece.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:gardening tools
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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