It's Chelsea Flower Show this week, and we can't wait to get out in the garden. Come shopping for potting shed tools with The Simple Things!
Is a spade more useful than a fork, or a hoe essential if you grow veg? We investigate the five most useful tools for the potting shed.
1. Soil sieve
This tool looks great hanging up in a shed, but it's also a very practical bit of kit that helps cover seeds in pots and trays if you're not using vermiculite chips. You can buy new sieves, but you can't beat the worn, wooden vintage models. If you're doing a bigger job and need to sieve wheelbarrows of soil, why not knock up your own? Make two timber frames, a little larger than the barrow, sandwich mesh in between and fix in place with screws.
A plastic tubtrug is a great addition to a potting shed as you can use if for many jobs, such as carrying tools out to the garden, filling with green waste when you're tidying, or soaking bare-rooted plants prior to planting out. (Of course, our favourite use is as a large ice-bucket to chill beer and wine after a hard day's graft in the borders!
3. Potting bench tray
If you don't have the luxury of a potting bench, this is a useful alternative that can be placed on any flat, even surface. It's the best way to tackle a seed-sowing session and keep all your compost in one area. Potting bench trays are available in plastic, metal or wood, so you can choose one to suit your budget.
4. Garden knife
A small, foldaway knife is a lifesaver in the garden. Whether you're taking cuttings, nicking a rogue sucker off a raspberry cane, or opening a bag of compost, it's all you need. Garden knives come in a range of styles with plastic, metal or wooden handles. It's a good idea to try before you buy - hold one in your hand to ensure it feels comfortable. If you don't like the idea of having to maintain your tools, go for stainless steel rather than carbon steel, as it won't rust.
For a speedy way to keep on top of the weeds, find a hoe that really works for you. They come in a range of designs, from a Dutch hoe with a forward-facing blade that cuts through established and seedling weeds, to a half moon shape that helps access awkward parts of a garden border. A short-handled hoe is useful for more focused work.