Sunday, 19 May 2019

Product Review: B&Q Hand tools set (Fail)

Last week, I managed to cleverly leave my trowel in a garden somewhere: I rather suspect that I dropped it into my yellow bucket along with the debris and weeds which were removed to make way for the planting.... and it's entirely possibly that I flung the whole lot onto the compost.


(Don't look at me like that, we've all done it!)

For some reason I have a dozen spare daisy grubbers, but not a single spare trowel, probably because I don't wear out trowels in the same way that I get through daisy grubbers. This is because the daisy grubber is in constant use, whereas the trowel tends to sit in my workbag from one end of the month to the other, only being pulled out if I have a lot of planting to do - and most Clients kindly allow me to do the preparation work for new plantings, but are quite happy to do the good bit themselves!

Also, to be honest, a  lot of the time, I use the daisy grubber as a trowel anyway, if there's only one or two plants to be planted. It's all part of being Super-Efficient: I won't waste time trogging all the way across the garden to my car to get a trowel, if I only need it for 30 seconds, and can do the job perfectly well with the daisy grubber.

Anyway, long story made short: I went to the garden centre after work to buy a new trowel, and alas, I couldn't find one. Bizarre, eh?  My preferred trowel style is this:

Short, chunky, sturdy.

The only ones I could find on sale, and there were a dozen variations on this theme, across the three garden centres and two supermarkets which I went to, were all like this: 

...which I would call "swan-necked", I suppose.

I don't like that style.

They don't fit neatly into my workbag, for a start! 

But I needed something for work the next day, so in the end I opted for the super-cheap B&Q own-brand plastic set of fork and trowel, for the grand sum of about three quid.

Now, I must point out straight away that this set is definitely full-sized, and was hanging up in the gardening section.

Not in the kiddies' play-sand area.

It was in the grown-ups' gardening area, with all the other big solid grown-up chunky gardening tools, including axes, bowsaws, and all sorts of sharp pointy things.

So I think I was right in assuming that it for grown-ups to use, in actual gardening, right?

When I got them home, I was wee but dubious about the lightweight plastic-ness of them both, but I know that great strides have been made in plastic composition, and there are a lot of recycled plastic items being made these days, which I assume is a good thing.

So I took the trowel, slid it into my workbag - where it fitted neatly, so it got a housepoint for that - and went off to work.

Did it work? I can hear you all saying. "Did it break the first time out? Did it snap in two? Was it thrown away in disgust?"

Well, it did sort of work:  I managed to plant a few things with no real problem, but it did not feel solid and confidence-inspiring in the hand.  It felt as though it would snap if I put too much pressure on it, and it absolutely would not cut through soil which had not been previously loosened.

So it's only any use if you dig the soil over first.... or use the daisy grubber to weed and loosen the soil, in which case you ("one") might just as well use the daisy grubber to dibble out the holes and plant with, as well.

As for the "fork" thing, well, that was just a joke.

The raking part is sort of ok, not the sort of tool I would use, and but believable: but the holes in the handle?

Huh? - what are they all about?

Are you supposed to sieve the soil over teeny tiny seedlings?

Are you supposed to put seeds in it and sprinkle them over your freshly-forked soil?

Or is it, in fact, a kiddies' toy play set, for use in the sand pit?

Well, I managed to unearth an old trowel in the shed, rusty and rather sad-looking but still perfectly usable, which is another reason for not throwing old tools away just because they don't "look" as nice as they did...

And in the meantime I will continue to hunt for a new "proper" trowel... and when I find them for sale, I'll buy three!


  1. Daisy grubber? What I call a tap root weeder? (V shaped end with a kink or added pivot point)

    1. Hey Mal, that sounds like the fellow - I wrote about it here;

    2. So I see! Have you ever reviewed the oscillating hoe? (Which I consider a boon to mankind)

    3. HI Mal *waves* no, I haven't: but reviews of Hoeing in general is on my"to do" list!


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