March 9th, 2012
Every gardener has his or her favorite tools, those that fit well into her hands and carry a tale of garden triumphs and woes, past and present. If the gardener is organized, these implements are wiped clean after each use, hang neatly in their designated places on a pegboard when not in use and are sharpened every winter.
I’m not that gardener.
Oh, I have beloved tools, ones I won’t be without in my digging endeavors. But they rarely get replaced into their proper locations, and certainly aren’t honed in the off-season. This doesn’t mean I value them less, it simply attests to my gardening laziness. Despite my cavalier attitude towards the care of my garden implements, here are the ones I must have:
Trowel. My sturdy trowel has been with me for decades, purchased from a yard sale in New Jersey. Its wooden handle rests comfortably in my palm, and since the blade is attached with metal rivets it never bends. It’s large enough to upend a goodly sized chunk of earth, and has become a dear friend.
Pruners: For years I’ve used Felcos # 2 but as arthritis stiffens my hands, I’m considering changing to Bahco, whose handles rotate and which I’ve heard are easier on aging digits.
Compost fork: Not a shovel, spade or pitchfork, this is also called a manure or silage fork. It grabs a nice load of black gold without losing it between the tines, and with just a bit of gardener muscle, deposits the cargo into the wheelbarrow or bucket.
CobraHead: This snazzy little weeder is a last summer addition. (goes to show that even old gardeners can learn new tricks) Its metal head is curved with a triangular tip, and with a simple pull parallel to the ground beheads nasty chickweed, velvetleaft, and other nefarious weeds. Read all about this tool atwww.cobraheadlc.com
Shovel: I’ve had the same shovel for thirty years, purchased from Sears when that venerable institution was still called Sears, Roebuck. It comes in handy at mulch time, and has dug many a hole for bulbs as well as helped transplant many a tree, shrub and perennial.
Spade: When a straight cut is needed, such as when digging in an established bed, nothing is more delicate than a spade. For even finer work, grab a transplant spade.
Tool belt with holster. This one took me a while; wearing a belt seemed too masculine somehow. But subsequent to misplacing yet another set of clippers, I bit the bullet and consulted my 20-something daughter who knows all about women wearing belts with their jeans. I now wouldn’t be without one.
Edger: After reading a fascinating magazine article about the ease of electric edgers, I purchased one, but never could make it perform. Reluctant to ask my overworked and underenthused spouse, I hung the tool in the shed, where it remains to this day, gathering spider webs. I continue to edge my beds with a half-moon shaped step-on tool, which is why my borders are so crooked.
My hands. It goes without saying that for the most delicate work, nothing beats skilled hands, the better to pluck tiny weeds, assay the texture of an ailing plant or sift fine soil.
The above list demonstrates that in gardening adventures almost anything can be a tool. During these last few weeks before spring, put on your thinking cap and consider how you might best streamline your garden work this year.
Category Mentors in the Garden of Life / Tags: /
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