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Shovels / Spades for Women

Shovels / Spades for Women

I got the idea for this column at the 1998 National Hardware Show. There are at least 10 or so shovel manufacturers out there, but only four or five would cooperate with me and send me information. Fortunately for all of us, the ones who worked with me make awesome products. I have listed some of the tools each one of the manufacturers carries. You should REALLY call each one and get a full product catalog. You will be amazed at the variety of digging tools that are NOT displayed at your local stores!


Ames makes hundreds of shovels and hand tools. Their catalog is unbelievable. I warn you, you will want to buy at least 10 different shovels when you see this beautiful color catalog. Here are a few of my favorite picks:

  • #1943800 - Floral Spade This is a swell small round point spade/shovel made for cutting into tough soil. It is featherweight, yet strong. I love the D handle that gives lots of control.
  • #1573900 - Drain Spade / Duckbill Shovel This shovel is ideal for narrow trenching. It has a very long snout - 14 inches to be exact. It also features a comfort plus grip that reduces hand fatigue.

Snow & Neally

These guys have been in business since 1864. They make really cool old fashioned hand tools like special axes, hatchets, garden trowels, claw weeders and the elegant Stockton Spade! Here is what you need to find in their catalogue:

  • Stockton Spade This is a work of art. It makes me cringe to have to bang this furniture-like handle against the side of a wheelbarrow. It is - in my opinion - an indestructible tool. A must have!
  • 3 Piece Garden Tool Set This is a cool hand tool set that has a Transplanting Trowel, a Claw, and a Cape Cod Weeder. If they are made like the Stockton Spade, these tools will be used by your great grandchildren.
  • Cape Axe Kit This is a wonderful tool to grub out roots and cut off branches.


Spear & Jackson

Just wait till you see their two catalogs! Ask for the Original English Gardening Tools Full Line and the Sovereign & Country catalogs. They are two separate publications. Spear & Jackson make some very sleek spades, shovels, special hand tools, digging forks, edging knives, even a special turfing iron made especially for removing sod! My favorites are the following:

  • #2030300 - Stainless Steel Border Spade Seriously, this is brilliant stainless steel. It will never rust and is incredibly strong. Your neighbors will be green with envy!
  • #2030500 - Stainless Steel Edging Knife You can rub this all you want against concrete, blacktop and brick walkways. It won't rust!
  • #2008000 - Epoxy Coated Border Spade This delicate spade has a beautiful wood handle that rivals the Snow and Neally spade. It has an epoxy coated metal blade that will attack tough soil.
  • #2025100 - Epoxy Coated Turfing Iron It has a tanged blade that is angled perfectly for sod removal.
  • #2030400 - Stainless Steel Border Fork This tool is great for digging potatoes or digging in compost. It is a smaller than usual fork, perfect for a woman in my opinion.

Stanley Tools

Stanley tools introduced a full line of stainless steel garden tools. There are numerous spades that are perfect for the smaller hands of a woman. If you visit a home center, you should see a big Stanley display with these brand new tools.

Victorian Postman Limited

These people make the unique post hole digger that works like a backhoe. A person called me on my radio show and said the actual design is nearly 100 years old. This post hole digger is a beast. It is not a lightweight tool. This weight is necessary to cut into soil as you drive it into a hole. If you keep the blade sharp, you can be assured it will easily cut through medium sized roots.

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