06 Oct Cheap Tools, False Economy
Earlier this week I arrived at the plot to do a bit more digging. I’ve found that turning over the soil in clumps, leaving it for a few days before removing weeds, to be the easiest method.
This approach has 2 benefits – firstly, I can swap between tasks throughout the day – a bit of turning for a while, then some weeding. It breaks up the monotony somewhat, as well as providing respite for some muscles. Secondly, you can ‘visibly’ see your progress easier – which I find quite important on a large plot. It can be quite soul destroying to spend 6 hours there and see little visible difference.
Within minutes of starting, I removed the fork from the soil and was greeted with this;
I’ll be honest and say this wasn’t the most expensive tool I’ve bought, by any means. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest. Garden Forks are something I generally use sparingly when a plot is ‘done’ – usually only to harvest things like potatoes and carrots. I follow the ‘no dig’ method, so once the ground is prepared initially, I don’t do much digging at all.
With that in mind, when I took on the plot at the new site, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on something I only planned to use fully for a short period. This particular fork was £7.99. You can get cheaper (I’ve seen them for as little as £2.99 in some of the ‘big shed’ stores!). It’s a ‘known’ brand, though perhaps not one I’d automatically associate with garden tools.
Although marketed as ‘Heavy Duty’, it clearly is anything but – I’m not even working with clay soil here!
Buy Once, Buy Well
So, I now need to purchase a new fork to finish the job – and this time I’ll spend a little more to make sure it’s up to the job. Had I done so in the first place, I’d of course be better off now.
The other aspect to this of course is the question of what do I do with the wonky fork now? How many sub-par cheap tools are being sent to landfill in the incorrect assumption we’ll save a few quid? I’m clearly as much to blame as anyone else, and it reminds me of a phrase my grandparents used;
“Buy once, buy well”
I should remind myself of that more often.