My new copper trowel arrived in the mail this morning.
It is truly a thing of beauty. When I unwrapped the parcel and took it out, it positively glowed. As I held it in my hand and admired it, it seemed almost a shame to put it into the ground.
We already had a trowel like this that we bought several years ago. But since we have two gardens—the one next to our cottage and an ‘allotment’ down the lane, in our neighbour’s field—only one of us at a time could use it. So last week, we made the big decision to buy a second one. At £30 for a small trowel, this was no small decision. These trowels are guaranteed for 25 years and in 25 years from now I shall be 102. It would be nice to think that I shall still be out there messing about in the garden at 102, but I think it is a fair bet that this trowel is going to outlast me by decades. But, as the poet said, ‘a thing of beauty is a joy for ever.’ And now we are a two copper trowel family.
The Austrian engineer, forester and wise elder Viktor Schauberger, best known for his discoveries of the energetic properties of water and his design of beautiful, functional flowforms, also did research into the use of copper in gardening tools. He came to the conclusion that cultivating the soil with copper implements rather than steel ones would be more beneficial to the Earth and lead to healthier plants. In his writings, he listed several reasons for this.
§ Minute amounts of copper create the conditions for beneficial micro-organisms
§ Copper tools penetrate the soil easily. Copper has a low coefficient of friction, therefore there is less tendency for clay to cling to the tool
§ Copper is not magnetic so it does not disrupt the electrical fields in the soil
§ Copper tools be kept sharp with a whetstone, file or by peening (hammering the edge against a steel anvil)
You can read a whole lot more about this concept—and about Schauberger—here
The other thing about the use of copper tools in the garden is that it is said to deter slugs. And here in our damp corner of south-west England, that is certainly a plus.
I carried my shiny new trowel up to the garden and I knelt down and stuck it in the soil. Kind of reverently. But isn't that how gardening should always be? Reverent?