By Maritza Emerson. Hand Tools. Published at Wednesday, August 08th, 2018 - 16:16:03 PM.
Tools for Tilling - A Good Shovel and a Spade - Keep in mind that this a small patch garden. Your most important tilling implement is a good shovel or spade. This is the workhorse, a real jack of all trades that hit almost every category. And I mean the Big Box stores. There is no point in going cheap here. I have taken the cheap route before, and you are lucky if the tool lasts one season. This is a lifetime purchase if done well; you will be back here in a year or two if you screw up, so buy the best you can afford. I am a big fan of all metal spades; I have had the one I am currently dating for a decade. I am using this tool in a professional capacity and using it for my home garden; I have dug trees and shrubs, transplanted and split many perennials and grass, cut sod and roots, and even hammered a few stakes with it and I foresee several more decades of the same.
Pickaxe - This tool is a necessity when your soil is rocky or full of tree roots. Use the broad hoelike blade to pulverize small rocks and soil clods. A wide range of tasks that fall under the remit of landscaping can be undertaken with the use of a pick axe. Normal soil that has become dry and hardened can normally be broken up with a shovel. However, this will be more difficult when it comes to hard clay and hard rocky-type soils. Using the sharp end of the ax will enable you to break up the materials so that it can be removed as necessary.
Cultivator - The cultivator comes in two different flavors; long-handled and hand models. The long handled one is better on the back and the schedule, but the small one is the tool of choice around delicate plants and tight spaces, like containers and window boxes. If you are using a draw hoe, the long-handled cultivator is redundant, but if you prefer the faster hoes, it’s a good tool to loosen that baked-on surface layer in the depths of summer. I have both, and they both get a work-out. The hand model usually comes in a set with a trowel (we’ll cover in planting tools) and a long pointy spear with a fork on the end that you have wondered about, I’m sure. Well, it’s an asparagus fork, (for cutting the spears below the soil level) and before you throw it out (no, we don’t all grow asparagus) it does a famous job of digging dandelions and other tap-rooted weeds, so keep it! The other part of cultivating is cutting and pruning, and there is plenty to look at here. The spade may be Tool Numero Uno, but the pruners (or secateurs) run a very close second. There are a lot of different types out there but if you are only going to buy one pair of shears get a really good pair of by-pass cut shears. I have been a big fan of Felco #2’s since I started in the industry; they are the standard in the biz. Replaceable parts and blades mean you can bring these back to new in a few minutes (and we’re not talking about rebuilding a carburetor) so like your spade, you should have these for life.
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