Long handled tool for wheelchair gardening.

 Long handled tools – are they worth it?  There are so many tools to choose from and it mainly comes down to individual preference.   You can get long handled adult tools, children’s tools, telescopic handled, adjustable handled, or even no handled – just tool heads only.  I bought a load of different long handled tools thinking they would help me reach further into the garden to work, however, some of them were just plain useless.  Some of the children’s tools were robustly made and do actually help when using the rake, hoe, and little fork.  The spade was more difficult to use.  I could use them all in the shallow border but not so much in the deeper border.  The heads are all small  so jobs like raking could take longer than if you used a normal sized rake.  The weight of the children’s tools were not too bad but as they had wooden handles they do have some weight in them.  I still found digging the most difficult job as it is much easier being above the tool and using your weight to push down (or your foot if you can) which would often mean getting right into the flower bed.  This is ok when planting out a new bed but not when it is an established bed.  The lengths of the handles of the children’s tools are between 81cm and 98cm long.

The tools on the right of the photo are the ones I use all the time: the Draper long handled tools and an oscillating hoe.  The Draper long handled fork and trowel are great because they are stainless steel and are quite light and easy to use.  I like the T shaped handle as I can hook the handle over my shoulder and have the tool part resting between my knees so I can carry them up and down the ramp easily.  The T handle also  means I can pull the tool from the earth easily plus it gives you something to push on.  The handle lengths of the Draper tools are around 72cm.

Th oscillating hoe came as just the head only.  Harry attached it to an old broom handle (86cm long).  I find that I can push and pull it fairly easily.  It is most useful when working between rows of plants. You could always just shorten any full length garden too handles that are the broom handle type.

You can get tools that are classed as midi-handled which would be around 60cm long.   Maybe they would be just right for using in a raised bed from a wheelchair.

long handled hardening tools
My long handled tools

 You can get a telescopic handle that fits onto a variety of tool heads.  This one I bought years ago and I find that I really only use the small spring rake head.  What I find very annoying with this particular telescopic mechanism is that it doesn’t stay put while you are working with the tool.  You twist the handle the pull it out to the length you require the twist it to lock it in place.  It just untwists while you work.  Also on mine the middle telescopic part has stuck.  It is great in theory but not great in practice.  It is quite light to use and should go from 55cm – 120cm and I use it mainly to gently scrape dead leaves and debris from plants.

multi head tools with telescopic handle
Telescopic multi-head tool

The adjustable handled net (PondXpert) that I have for my pond is great as the mechanism is at the head end so when you screw unscrew it and pull it to the length you require, then screw it back tight, it stays fixed in position and won’t budge until you unscrew it again.  I keep is shorter when scooping leaves or duck weed from the front of the pond and longer when I need to reach the back of the pond.  The longer you have the tool, the more strain it puts on you hands and wrists (unless you can support it with your other hand).  This one extends to 1.8M and you can get different sizes and shapes of net that fit the handle. Ideally I would like to use it with some kind of arm support.  I know you can get some long handled tools that you can use a support cuff with (PETA Easy-grip tools and arm support cuff) although I have never tried these and some look very awkward to use.

adjustable handle for pond net
Adjustable handled small pond net

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