Post last updated: October 10th, 2018

Tonya bought a new shovel – a drain spade and raved about it on her Facebook page, Seed & Gardening Exchange. I was intrigued as I am not particularly overwhelmed with the regular shovels we have on the Southern Rural Route.

Research tells me that drain spades are used for digging narrow, deep ditches to drain agricultural land; digging post holes for fences; laying pipe; and transplanting small trees and shrubs in tight areas.

A regular shovel’s wide, concave blade is angled to scoop loose material while the blade of a spade extends in a straight line from the handle, designed for digging. The long, narrow drain spade, also called a sharpshooter, has aided farmers and gardeners for more than a century.

It has a short wood handle and a long, narrow metal rectangle at the digging end. While intrigued, I was not convinced I needed one until I got to try one out at the Mandarin Garden Club.  Within moments, I knew I would acquire one for myself. To do so, I had to fork over an unseemly amount of money for what I considered a dwarf shovel.

Drain spade by Ames
Drain spade by Ames
Close-up of the plastic handle
Close-up of the plastic handle

The 16-inch blade on my Ames spade is long and narrow for making four precise cuts in tight spaces.

close-up of the digging end
close-up of the digging end

Called treads or steps, my spade has small platforms on its shoulders for giving it some oomph when digging. On other brands, the tread may be narrow or deep and face forward or back.

shovel drain shoulder close up-2334
close-up of treads

Poppie has even used my drain spade. Having the memory of a rusted sieve, I don’t remember what he was trying to pull from the earth with his bare hands but I do remember saying to him, “Let me get my shovel,” and I returned with the drain spade.

4 thoughts on “EXTRA SPECIAL SHOVEL”

  1. I actually got one of these a few years ago for trench digging, but I don’t think I’ve hardly used it since. I probably bought one that was too cheap and flimsy, though – yours looks more heavy duty than the one I got. I prefer my trusty regular shovel that’s been with me through many a vein of clay. I have no idea what kind it is, just that it is strong and it works!

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