Real Men Sow

I Sieve Soil in the Sunshine – My New Garden Sieve

Regardless of any garden budget drive, sometimes you’ve got to treat yourself. When I saw these beautiful British made garden sieves from Hill and Sons, payday couldn’t come fast enough.

I’ve been wanting to have a go at making my own potting compost for a while now, and after exchanging emails with the very friendly and helpful Damien, I plumped for an 18 inch sieve, with a 1/8 inch mesh.

The sieve arrived promptly, and spent the first evening sat on the kitchen table where I could just gaze at it. Made from beechwood, there was a part of me that didn’t want to use the riddle, such was the lovely lines and aesthetic pleasure provided by this traditional garden tool.


On Monday, I finally set about mixing equal part leaf mould, molehill soil and my own kitchen compost. After half an hour of satisfying sieving in the sunshine, I’d created a big tubful of gorgeously crumbly soil.


Since I began growing my own, I’ve enjoyed some incredibly gratifying moments, but I’ve got to say that using the sieve to fashion such lovely soil is right up there with my favourites. I’ve discovered something that not only fulfils the romantic and thrifty part of my personality, but gives me a real sense of reward too.

The sieve is a joy to use. Lightweight but sturdy, it works particularly well if you can find a vessel with of similar diameter to sit the sieve on, and push the soil around the mesh.

Hill and Sons’ sieves are available in a number of different sizes, and the pastel colour 8 inch heritage potting sieves are a thing of splendour too. They also offer traditional dibbers, trugs and birdboxes, all made from their base in the Peak District.

I don’t recommend much on Real Men Sow, but sometimes something handsome and wonderful comes along that you want to tell the world about. Check out Hill and Sons products at their website.

A big thank you to Damien at Hill and Sons for his help choosing a sieve, and for manufacturing my new favourite gardening tool.

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  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!April 2, 2013 at 9:27 pmReply

    Looks like a beauty! I always just throw a scrap of mesh over a bucket and it never works very well. I’ve never really considered buying a tool for this (and I don’t know that I could find one around here) but I like it!

  2. Jono

    JonoApril 3, 2013 at 12:50 pmReplyAuthor

    Hey Alan, a beauty is definitely the word! I’ve tried a scrap of mesh too when I was messing around a while ago. I did kind of get it functioning, but now I’ve tried a proper tool I wouldn’t go back, however much money it saved me!

  3. elaineApril 3, 2013 at 3:07 pmReply

    oo what a beauty – as you say – almost too good to use – mine is a black metal one that I’ve had for years – might have to put one of these on my Christmas list.

  4. lizApril 4, 2013 at 1:43 amReply

    Oh, I am so envious. Don’t sieve for soil for seedlings, but just to get the big parts of compost out, and I use an old lawn chair made of metal and a table made of metal.

    • Jono

      JonoApril 4, 2013 at 7:49 amReplyAuthor

      I must admit, the frugal part of me is loving these homemade sieving contraptions!

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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