Saturday, March 04, 2006

Wheelbarrows and Garden Carts

By Christina VanGinkel

Working in the garden can be fun, but having tools that make the job more easy is always a benefit. One 'tool' that I have had issues with through the years is the wheelbarrows that have come and gone during the days I have spent working the garden and surrounding yard. Call me wheelbarrow phobic if you will, but I can never seem to push one without tipping it over, spilling the contents, running it into objects, and any other hazard you could imagine. When I popped the tire on ours last fall, right before the first snow fell; I just nonchalantly parked it behind the shed in hopes that the whole contraption would just disappear.

Needless to say, it did not, and my husband just asked me the other day if I ever got around to ordering a new tire for it. I lied and told him I tried but that I could not find a tire to fit. Knowing he did not believe me at all, he nonetheless took pity on me and told me I should look at some of the new garden carts they now have available. Especially as seeing as we would most likely have to buy a new wheelbarrow anyways, if we could not just find a replacement for the popped tire on the one we currently had.

Garden carts, like wheelbarrows, are for hauling and carting around everything from new seedlings to dirt, to leaves that have been raked up and need to be moved, and grass, with the main difference with most of them being that they have two wheels on the front of them instead of the single tire common on the wheelbarrow. This makes both steering and all around maneuvering of them much easier, at least in my opinion. The Easy Roller Jr. Rolling Cart is a perfect example of what I am referring to. It has two wheels on an extra wide wheelbase, and has a recessed tool tray. On the sides of the cart are clips for your tools to hang conveniently from while you are working. With its all poly construction, and a solid steel axle, it is built to get the job done, no matter whether it is big or small, and it is built to last for more than just a season or two. You can easily maneuver this cart right to the spot you need it at, conveniently in reach while you are doing whatever that job is, and then once it is full, it can just as conveniently be moved to the next location you want it to go, whether to another spot to work, or to the dump pile. With a capacity to hold up to two hundred pounds easily, there really are not a lot of yard jobs that a cart such as this cannot handle.

I did consider a few other carts, but they were the sort that needs to be attached to a lawn tractor or even a four-wheeler. Some of them have a dump box feature, and others are much like a flat bed trailer. While these do look like they could get a lot of work done, and haul a lot more than what a cart such as the Easy Roller Jr. Rolling Cart could, they nonetheless need to be attached to the lawnmower or four-wheeler. I am not at all comfortable hauling out our lawnmower every time I would want to use a cart, especially for some of the smaller tasks, such as weeding the flowerbeds.

I did come across one cart last year, at our local Home Depot store, which was a dump box, had a handle that converted to be pulled by hand, or to attach to a hitch to be pulled by your garden tractor. The price was comparable to the other garden carts I had looked at, but so far this year, I have not been able to find them. I have come across a few that resemble a child's wagon, with four wheels, high sides, and are easy to maneuver, and if I cannot find the cart that I saw last year, or come across a similarly styled one, I might end up purchasing one of those. Either way, I am not regretting giving up on the wheelbarrow. If you can find something that works better than the original, such as these carts when compared tot eh awkward wheelbarrows of old, there is no reason not to appreciate the improvements in design and let the old relics rest in peace.

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