Top trowel tips

There is more to the humble gardening trowel than meets the eye, horticultural commentator Jane Owen explains.

Writing in the online property pages of the Times, she notes that the tools come with a wide variety of blades that serve different functions.

Ms Owen states that aluminium is the lightest option for a trowel blade, with polished aluminium able to help reduce soil cling.

While the material is sometimes used to make flimsy trowels, it can also be used to fashion a light and robust gardening implement.

Stainless steel gives trowels a smooth finish, she notes, adding that this helps soil slide off the blade easily, as well as allowing the tool to slide "seamlessly" into the earth.

Finally, Ms Owen notes that heat-treated carbon provides a steel trowel with a carbon coating that makes it harder.

Meanwhile, gardening commentator Ed Hume suggests that soil should be cleaned off horticultural tools as this can reduce the likelihood of them corroding while in storage.