Sunday, March 18, 2018

My ten most useful garden tools

I have just got back from my weekend markets. Whew, the weekend was a total write off, I didn't even make back my stall fees let alone any of the other costs. Well, that is the lottery that is selling at markets.
The weather was so windy that all the stallholders had to use one arm to hold down there marquees (even with weights on) while trying to use the other to deal with their customers and money etc. By the time the wind came up it was too late for most to pack up, but some down the side streets that the wind was blowing down strongest had no choice, they had to go or their marquees would have been destroyed. Anyway, next month has to be better.

This posts article is on the tools I use most on my farm. I do use some others occasionally too. With a home garden I imagine that most people would not need so many.
Most of my work is done by hand so I don't have a tractor, though I do have a quadbike and trailer for carting mulch, lime and various other things.

My Ten Most Used Tools

 Bean planter

This bean and pea planter is just the thing so I don't have to get down on my knees on cold and damp ground. You just walk and pop beans in as you go. The wiry looking thing at the bottom serves both as a measurer and as you walk it presses on the ground and opens the tool to drop the bean into the hole.

I have a larger one for planting broad beans and garlic cloves in autumn.

Broadfork

When I have a lot of beds to dig I use the rotary hoe but if I only have one or two the broadfork does a reasonable quick and easy job. It is much faster and easier than using a spade.

I get mine made by my local metal fabricator to my specs, and it does a great job. It is also useful for digging garlic.
 Hand hoe

I get these little hand hoes also made by my metal fabricator using steel pipe covered with rubber hose and the blade is part of a tractor mower.

The blade is sharpened on all sides and it perfect for precise weeding, especially weeding out taprooted weeds like capeweed because the blade s sharp enough to cut through the roots easily. Capeweed it very difficult to weed by hand.
The handle is about 40cm long.

Long handled hoe

This is a heavy duty hoe also made by my metal fabricator with a blade cut out of a plough disc. The shape of the disc makes this hoe blade very strong.
It is sharp and the shape makes it great not only for hoeing hard weeds but also for chipping. And it has a point on the opposite end of the blade for making seed rows.

 Sharp knife

A knife is indispensible. It is used for cutting open fertiliser bags to cutting pumpkins and melons to get the seed out.

Even though I like to have at least two of each tool I have more knives as I am always carting them about and leaving them places like in my van, and home in the hothouses, so I have to have a few to be able to find one when I need it.

Rake

Of course, after digging a bed, then adding any lime or fertiliser to it I have to rake it to make a nice even bed, and after seeding it I rake lightly again to cover the seed.


Rotary hoe

This is my most work saving tool. As I have a few hundred beds to dig in spring I couldn't do them all in time using hand tools.

This old rotary hoe is so reliable and does a great job.




Secateurs

Where would anyone be without a handy pair of secateurs. Mine get used mostly for harvesting seed from most crops.

I also tend to leave these everywhere so I only buy cheap ones and have many lying around.
 Spade

Used for everything from digging post holes (though I do also have a post hole digger), to digging spuds and the occasional small bed.
I also have a shovel (it has a wider mouth than a spade) to shovel lime and mulch.

Stirrup hoe

These have a moving head that cuts small weeds just under the soil surface.
These are great for cleaning up between beds just as small weeds are emerging. It is not good for established weeds but it does a quick job when you use in in light soil in autumn especially when capeweed seedlings are coming up in their millions..



Other tools I have on hand are a garden fork for digging spuds and garlic, and a couple of sprayers.



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