Deluxe Garden Cart is A Problem Solver

– Posted in: Tools and Equipment
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Deluxe garden cart by Vertex InternationalHave you ever walked 250 feet uphill to the asparagus patch with a bucket full of hand tools, only to realize after you get there that the weeds have gotten a lot worse than you imagined? So you trudge back down the hill and carry the garden fork back up the 250 feet, only to realize that that fork is too long, it will root up the asparagus as well as the weeds, and so you trudge back down with the big fork and trudge back up with the border fork, and then ten minutes later you realize there’s nettles in there, and you don’t have your gloves, so you trudge back down the 250 feet and get your gloves, and about halfway back up the hill you think it would really be smart to bring up the watering can, too, because after pulling all those weeds the asparagus would appreciate being watered. And then after the bed is all cleaned up, you realize if you had a leaf rake and a wheelbarrow it would be a lot easier to gather up all those weeds you just pulled and bring them to the compost pile, which means another trip back down the hill, in which you forget to bring down the tools you’re done with, which means another trip back up the hill to bring them down. Has that ever happened to you? Well, there have been many times when I’ve had to go back for another tool, but this particular instance drove me to muttering, “There has got to be a better way.”

I found the solution to my problem at Lee Valley, though I see now that they also sell it at Amazon. I got this Deluxe Garden Cart way back in the spring, but hesitated blogging about it until I was sure it held up and worked as expected. Our relationship got off to a rocky start. Despite assigning several handy young men in succession to the assembling of the cart, they all threw their hands up in exasperation. A careful analysis of the difficulty revealed that the screw holes in the bottom tool pan were drilled in the wrong location, so that it was impossible to complete step 3 as directed. (I suspect the Amazon reviewer N. oswald ran into this problem.) I called the the manufacturer’s toll free number and after explaining the problem, the customer service person responded, “Oh, I know exactly what you’re talking about!” Ahem. While I am always relieved when customer support comprehends my English, I feel that if my problem with their product is a familiar one, then the quality control must somehow be lacking. I mean, if the holes on the bottom pan are consistently coming out misaligned, shouldn’t someone be doing something about it, besides cheerfully sending the customer a second bottom pan, which hopefully won’t have the same problem as the first one?

The second bottom pan was drilled correctly, but it took its sweet time getting here, because they only ship it the slow way for free, and I was too cheap to pay for it to come faster. And then, after about a week’s worth of use, the wheel fell off, because the push cap holding the axle in place fell off. The push cap came off because the axle had to be removed from the first bottom pan so that it could be inserted into the replacement bottom pan. The push cap is made to conform to the end of the axle by a friction fit, and after being taken off the axle, it didn’t fit frictionally enough to stay on. They replaced the push cap cheerfully, too, after customer support came back from their vacation. Sigh. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get this thing working.

Once the push cap came and secured the axle, the cart worked just fine. I stocked it with all the tools I thought I might need, and then added the ones I found myself making a second trip for. After using the cart for a while, I found I rarely needed to make a second trip for a tool, though I still had to go back for the wheel barrow. You see, they provide a frame to hold a bag, but they don’t provide the bag, and none of the lawn and leaf bags I tried would stay put, especially not after I started pulling the cart again. Also, once your bag is bulging, the tool pocket won’t be quite as accessible. Still, I will probably spring for the lawn and leaf bag next spring, unless I can figure out a way to cobble one from a feed bag.
Tool cart arranged incorrectly
Put the tools on one side and pull from the other sideThe only real difficulty comes when you try to transport long-handled tools. If you put them on both sides of the cart and pull the handle from the middle, they bang into you when you tilt the cart to pull it. (See above.) What you have to do is put all the long-handled tools on one side of the cart, and then pull the handle from all the way on the opposite side. (See right.) I am five foot, two inches at my tallest, and I don’t know if this would be less or more of a problem for a taller person. Also, if you’re serious about carrying things on the load plate, you’ll need to invest in some bungee cords to hold your load in place. None of the promotional pictures would lead you to think it is necessary, but nothing I’ve placed on that load plate stays put without help.

I kept the tools in the cart for the entire gardening season, and it definitely made “getting started” go more quickly. Also, I could see at a glance if a tool was missing and could track it down before it really went missing. Problem solved: No more trips back to fetch tools–but I still have to pull the weeds myself.

Update: I emailed this review to Lee Valley, and while they are glad I got my problem resolved, they had this to say: “Generally, we prefer that when one of our customers experiences a problem with a product they purchased from us, that they contact us directly. We can usually help resolve the issue immediately and it is only very rarely that we will tell the customer to contact the manufacturer directly.” If the instruction sheet included with the cart hadn’t specified contacting the manufacturer for parts, I surely would have gone to Lee Valley first. They have given excellent service in the past, often overnighting replacements that have failed to work properly. You can bet I won’t forget this if there ever is a next time.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

When dealing with frost it is always best to be paranoid. In the spring never think it is too late for one more frost to come. And in the fall never think it too early.

~Rundy in Frost

Comments on this entry are closed.

kerri November 16, 2006, 10:18 am

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this…back and forth, back and forth! I usually pile all the tools I need in the wheelbarrow, but it’s not the shape for longer tools like a rake. Then when the barrow is full of weeds I have to pile the tools on top and hope I don’t throw anything away into the compost pile. I also have a handy small garden tool tote, which I use sometimes.
This cart looks handy. Thanks for the review.

Jenn November 14, 2006, 5:32 pm

Thank you Kathy! I’ve signed up.

Jim O'Keefe November 13, 2006, 3:37 pm

I have the same issue in a different sphere. I am a cabinetmaker, which means I work in one place, a woodshop. When I’m called upon to do a carpentry project around the house I’m completely unprepared. The shop, and my tools, are across the road, and tools are heavy. I’m constantly having to decide is it worth driving over to the shop, loading a few boxes of tools into the car and driving back before beginning work. If I don’t I know I’m doomed to multiple trips across the road, and most of the time even if I do I still make a few trips across the road. Storing and transporting tools is an obsession with carpenters. Each day starts and ends with loading and unloading.
P.S. I know nothing about this cart, but I really respect the tools that Lee Valley produces. They seem to come up with all the best features and still be affordable.

Judith November 10, 2006, 10:15 am

I have this cart and purchased it 3 years ago from Lee Valley. Bought it for the same reasons you did–I have to walk long distances to garden here and am always forgetting a tool. I also tote my tools to a garden I volunteer at and can get this into the back of my car, although, tools need to be rearranged when I get to my destination. My biggest complaint has been getting hit in the head with the rake & broom, etc…other than that, I too have kept the bulk of my tools in it all season and moved it around the garden with me. It is handy in that way. I like Lee Valley, they have a good source of tools.

Kathy Purdy November 8, 2006, 8:56 pm

Carol and Jenn–
Did you see Lee Valley has an email newsletter now? I just got my first issue today. You can find it here. Carol, you could use one of those tool carts just for your hoe collection. As a matter of fact, you should send Lee Valley a link to your hoe collection page.

Jenn November 8, 2006, 8:47 pm

I have been keeping a small pile of oddments that I intend to someday make into a cart of this sort. I’ve a few problems to solve before I can put it together…Which means it may never get done. Sigh.

Carol November 8, 2006, 8:40 pm

I love Lee Valley Tool Supply and always stop what I am doing when their catalog arrives. This looks quite handy, though it might be more than I need for my suburban lot… still, I do tend to make a lot of trips back and forth from the garage where the tools are stored to the back yard when I am working in the yard…