|There are many models of wheelbarrows out there; choose the one that's right for you.
of the best tools you can have in your garden is a trusty
wheelbarrow. I still have fond memories of my first one. It
carried its final load sometime in the early '70s while
on loan to a neighbor. Small and made of pressed steel, it
was cheap and flimsy. Regardless, at the time of its demise
it had moved considerable amounts of soil and other bulky
garden material and proved itself far superior to the alternative
— a yoke and two pails. It had already started to fall apart,
but after the person to whom it was on loan left it sitting
in the driveway behind the car, the inevitable happened, rendering
My current model has lasted much longer, nearly 20 years.
It's also made of pressed steel, but better quality than
the last one. Despite having been stored outside, it's held
up remarkably well over the years. Apart from applying a few
coats of paint and the occasional squirt of oil on the wheel
bearings, it's been maintenance free. I did replace the
tire last fall, but only after spending a couple of seasons
re-inflating it every time I needed to use it, always mumbling,
"I really should replace this tire".
Thanks to advances in materials and technology, wheelbarrows
have improved considerably. No longer do we have to accept
the rustic basics: a wheel, a tub and two handles. Some models
actually have two, even three, wheels! Who among us hasn't
cursed the unbalanced single-wheeled barrow after an accidental
tip over? As for the tubs, many are produced from lightweight
but rugged polypropylene, a vast improvement over the old,
heavy, waterlogged wooden ones. Handles have advanced in both
style and ergonomics, but it seems wheelbarrows are still
limited to just two. I dream of the day when this final design
challenge has been overcome; imagine how much labor and how
many backs will be saved by a multi-handled wheelbarrow.