A hand trowel is a gardening tool which is designed for digging small holes, transplanting seedlings, planting bulbs, and performing similar tasks. Many gardeners find hand trowels immensely useful, and they are quite common in gardening sheds as a result. Any garden supply store will sell hand trowels, along with other handy tools, and they can sometimes be found in hardware stores as well.
The design of a hand trowel includes a sturdy handle and a scoop shaped blade, somewhat like a miniature shovel, except that the blade is longer and narrower, proportionally. This design makes a hand trowel ideally suited to working in the close quarters of flower beds, and for tasks like transplanting, handling seedlings, and placing bulbs. Some gardeners also like to use hand trowels for weeding, since the small, sharp blade can help to uproot stubborn weeds.
The term “trowel” is also used to refer to a flat bladed masonry tool which is used to smooth surfaces. These trowels are used with concrete and mortar to create a uniform texture before the wet material fully dries. They can also be used to create textured plasters, with careful manipulation of the blade. Flat bladed trowels can also be made with slightly pointed ends for various applications, especially archeology, where people want to be able to gently move earth without the risk of damaging a specimen.
When purchasing a hand trowel, look for a sturdy specimen with a handle which feels good. You may want to avoid painted trowels, as the paint can flake off as the trowel is used, and stainless steel is a good choice of blade material, since it will not rust as the trowel is used or stored in damp environments. Many trowels also come with small holes in their handles so that they can be hung on pegs or nails for easy storage.
Since a trowel is such a basic gardening tool, it can be a useful gift for someone in a new home or for someone who is just learning to garden. In addition to a hand trowel, you may want to pick up a pair of gardening gloves, which protect the hands, and you may also want to consider a garden kneeler. Kneelers are pads which are designed to support the knees while people work, making gardening more comfortable. Some are also designed with legs, so that people can kneel without worrying about crushing plants.