Humble wheelbarrow remains popular in high-tech California. Here are tips for gardeners
A new report projects strong sales for wheelbarrows, an ancient device that remains handy for gardeners and other users.
Annual global revenue will rise from $743.4 million last year to $1.2 billion by 2032, said a May 24 news release from Allied Market Research.
The consulting firm in Portland, Oregon, will sell you the 189-page report for the low, low price of just $5,730. It could be worth it if you are, say, the CEO of a hardware store chain.
The release came by email to The Modesto Bee, as does loads of information every week about the latest high-tech advances — driverless tractors, beef grown in labs and the like.
The news about wheelbarrows stood out because these devices are so decidedly low-tech. The simplest of them consists of a wheel, a tray, two legs and two handles.
Farmers use wheelbarrows in spots too confined for tractors or forklifts. City folks can transport garden soil or plants or mix concrete for a fence post.
Here are some other facts of note about wheelbarrows, including safety tips and a little history:
The earliest known wheelbarrow dates to 231 A.D. in Shu Han, China, according to a website called www.gardenstreet.co.uk .
Wheelbarrows are ergonomic, distributing the load to a user’s arm, back and leg muscles. Nonetheless, they can cause injuries if the cargo is too heavy or unbalanced.
Do not let your bigger kid push his little sister in a wheelbarrow unattended. Do let them dirty their hands as they help you plant summer vegetables.
Keep the wheelbarrow’s moving parts lubricated, and replace them when they wear out. But don’t worry about rotating the tires. There’s only one — usually.
Facebook has a page devoted to selling used wheelbarrows, because of course it does. Judging by recent listings, rust and dents are highly desirable features.
The listings include an “antique” wheelbarrow for $100. It’s more for decoration than for work. And, no, it does not appear to be from ancient China.
New models ranged from about $50 to $400 in online listings for major hardware chains as Memorial Day sales approached.
Some wheelbarrows have two wheels, allowing faster work for people who do construction or landscaping full time.
Wheelbarrows need no fuel, fossil or otherwise, in case you worry about climate change. They can actually aid the cause by hauling yard waste to a compost pile, where it breaks down without harmful emissions.
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