Newbie gardeners these days have it easy. Thanks to gardening blogdom, they get to read what real gardeners say about the down-and-dirty of real gardening. Like this little piece of advice I'm happy to pass on. You don't have to spend 20 years digging with the wrong damn tool like I did because I'm telling ya right now, the pickaxe is the clear winner in the Takoma Digging Trials. The shovel, the tool that's singlehandedly upped the annual income of my physical therapist, is for lifting and moving the dirt, not digging it. Ya dig? Oh, the shovel could handle digging in store-bought potting soil or pure compost, but the rock-imbedded clay on my property? No fricking way.
[Photo - an improvement over the standard pickaxe shot I first included here. And the umbrella's my temporary solution to the full-sun here resulting from the removal of a Bradford pear. A better umbrella is coming soon.]