There is no end to the number of gardening tools you can own. Before I had an allotment the only gardening tool I owned was a yard brush and even that was stolen! So in the time I have had my allotment my tool collection has rapidly grown and as I have become more confident and knowing what I am doing, the more I have branched out and bought specific tools.
My favourite brand of tools are made and designed by Wolf-Garten, a name which some of you might be aware of but in my experience not many people know or have heard of them. So, for those of you who are unaware, Wolf Garten is a well known German brand of gardening and allotment tools and equipment and they have been around for 35 years. Their range of tools and equipment is quite vast ranging from your more traditional tools such as spades and forks right up to the more funky looking multi-change tools which the Soil Miller is one of. By Multi-change it means that you have one specific handle for each different tool which simply slots on and off at one end of that handle, its like a man sized universal tool that your Dad would have with a corkscrew, screwdriver, pliers all in one thing which he swore you would always need. The best thing about any of the Wolf-Garten products is that they are all covered by a ten year guarantee.
So whilst I have a vast collection of gardening tools, there are just a handful of tools that get more use than others and the 'Cultiweeder' is one of them. When I say get more use than others, it is merely because some of the jobs they are designed to do means they get more use, so those in the weeding and digging section get more use than the bulb planter for example.
So the Cultiweeder is sold as being a "2 in 1 performance tool". It has 3 extra sharp, lance-shaped prongs which are used for loosening up even tough clods of earth, like clay soil or stony ground. Added to that is a sharp blade to slice through weeds on both the push and pull action as you move the Cultiweeder through the soil. Sounds quite impressive but what it is designed to do is to get in under the really hard tough soil which might have dried out due to the weather, the soil consistency meaning it is more clay like or that it is laced with stones and therefore makes it harder to weed that section or part of the garden. The three extra sharp prongs which are shaped like lances and get thicker towards the end have no problems getting into the soil and as you drag it along he weeds are loosened up so you can remove them with little or no trouble.
The one problem we have is that if no one else weeds their plot around us then we are quickly deluged with everything from brambles and thistles to horsetail and nettles and if you don't keep on top of the weeding it can become a nightmare. However, because you have fruit and vegetables planted it poses as more of a problem because you cant just stick your fork or spade into the soil to remove weeds; you need to be able to get in amongst your plants and shrubs with smaller tools.
This Cultiweeder is made from cold rolled steel and to look at it, the best way to describe it is as a claw because the prongs look like a claw and at the back of the prongs is a sharp weeding blade which is use when the Cultiweeder is dragged through the soil using the prongs to break the soil up and loosen weeds and then the weeding blade springs into action to severe them and act as a collector bringing them to a pile so you can efficiently remove them. With my allotment, whilst it is laid out with paths allowing you to walk in and around everything we have planted, there are still hard to reach parts and using a tool like this makes life a lot easier on the weeding front.
With the Wolf-Garten products they all need a handle and all of the handles sold fit all of the products, so in my case whilst I have 6 different tools from the Wolf-Garten range I have two handles which fit them all. The handles are sold separately from the tools and cost between £7 and £20 depending on where it is that you purchase it from and what size you purchase and when looking at the range they have handles designed for height, so when choosing you can following the suggested guidelines to pick a handle which is deemed appropriate to your height and this is done so that you don't have to constantly bend over and bend down to use the tool and end up with a sore back. Whichever handle you pick you will find it will fit over 50 different tools from the Wolf Garten selection. So the handle is a definite must have for any tool you might be considering purchasing.
Once the handle you have also purchased is clicked into place, you should find once it is interlocked you won't need to bend down or over when you begin to use the tool. Removing the tool head from the handle is just as easy as it was to attach it and that is by using the release button on the upper part of the handle.
I paid £15 for this Cultiweeder which is a little bit more than it is on offer for online but I did buy it from my local garden centre over a year ago. There are two different types of Cultiweeder that you can buy, the first is known as the LBM 7 Cultiweeder and that means it has a working space of 7cm or that the prongs are 7cm in width and that is the space you can work with at any one time when dragging it through the soil. The one I have is the next version up and it is known as the IEM Cultiweeder and it has a working space of 10cm which means as I drag it through the soil it can reach 10cm in width at any one time and this is something to have in mind should you purchase one.
As I said at the beginning this is one of the tools that I use the most of my allotment and that is because a lot of my time is taken up with weeding. Before I owned this tool I would sit for hours with a trowel or stand using a hoe to remove as many weeds as I could, the problem being that I couldn't get into hard to reach places, such as between plants and around edges. Now with the Cultiweeder I can work between the plants without any fear of slicing them in half or removing branches. With this tool I can use it with the handle to work between plants or I can use it without the handle to get in between and around plants which are planted closer together such as carrots and parsnips without pulling them up.
So if weeding is a bit of a chore for you whether you own an allotment or have a working garden, then a tool like this would be a good help, it is easy to use, easy to put together, it is effective and keeps weeds at bay but with the 10 year guarantee that comes with it is an even better tool to purchase.