Photo credit: Baltimore Sun
This is a two-for-one post -- about the right tool for the job, and about knowing what's in the ground.
Garden bloggers get lots of stuff in the mail, and this week it was a short-handled shovel from Ames Hardware and a note from the Common Ground Alliance warning homeowners about the power lines and water pipes hidden underground.
Every three minutes, the group says, a gas, electric, cable, Internet, water or sewer line is accidentally damaged by digging done as part of a gardening or home improvement project. This damage can put entire neighborhoods at risk by disconnecting essential services.
One phone call to 811 will protect you from these unintended consequences. Utility companies will dispatch a locator to your site within a few days and mark the utility lines or pipes with paint or flags. After that, dig very carefully around these markers.
The shovel they used to make this point was a 17-inch spade -- an ideal perennial shovel. The spade is just large enough to help you dig around shrubs and larger perennials that are too big or too deep for a hand trowel.
And it is the prefect size for the trunk of your car during winter months. You can find them for about $10.