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Garden Tools and Their Uses
Homestead gardening is not all about the plants themselves. It also takes garden tools to work with. They will insure that you are able to maintain your garden, whether flower or vegetable gardening, and will also help to make sure that is kept in tip-top shape.
If not real careful, weeds and such can get out of hand really quick. So while preparing for this years garden maybe sharing about various tools I use would be helpful to you. In the Spring Garden Checklist post, we talked about cleaning garden tools and getting them ready .
One of my goals this year, is to build raised beds that are dedicated to perennial plants such as herbs and asparagus. So my garden tools will come in real handy for this. Lets get started.
Shovels are a must if you are going to be doing any digging at all. There are many types on the market but my favorite is a round-headed one with a long handle. I also prefer wood handles WITH cushion grips – they are a must! Not sure why exactly for the wooden handle, I just like the feel and the look of a wooden handle when using them. If you prefer to have a fiber glass handle, then by all means, this is a great one too.
If you are going to be setting out shrubs, trees or bushes, a pick mattock is a must. When choosing one, make sure to notice how the mattock head is attached. I’ve found that wooden handles in a pick mattock are not all that great. For this tool, I do prefer the fiberglass handle. When building my raised beds, I used a pick mattock to dig down to make the bed set level. Previously having a wood handled one, I found that the wood would “shrink” and I had a hard time keeping the head on. I bought a new one this last year.
Unfortunately at this time, I don’t own a rototiller. I have had to borrow one from my awesome sister. It’s great to have friends or family that can lend you garden tools to use on the homestead until you are able to purchase your own. A rototiller is great for tilling up your soil in preparation for planting. This past Friday was 62 degrees here and I couldn’t resist getting out and beginning work on the new pollinator bed I am building. You can see that here on my FB page on Feb 9th. Go ahead and like my page while you are there and keep up with what happening on our homestead.
A digging fork is excellent garden tool for digging small spaces. Since all I have is raised beds, mine works really well for digging in them. Again, I go back to preferring the wooden handle on my digging fork. It’s handles is just long enough to comfortably stand beside the raised bed and dig into the soil as needed. I actually used this last year for removing the large okra roots from the beds. If your prefer the fiberglass handle, Fiskars has this great one.
This is my “go to” digging tool! I use it more than any other garden tool I have. It’s a very simple tool but great for breaking crusty soil close to your plants. I use this one all the time and would say it would have to be my favorite. Again, since I have raised beds, this tool is ideal for scraping the soil around the plants. They also come with even shorter handles for working in the flower beds.
A funny story, thought I had lost it back in November. I had taken it to a class for a demonstration to a young group of students and didn’t put it back where it belonged when I got home. I panicked when I went to get it and it wasn’t where it should be. TIP: Always put keep your garden tools where they belong so they are easily accessible when needed.
Also a must tool. A pitch fork is excellent for various chores on the homestead. They can be used for turning the compost pile or shoveling wood chips. I do use this one with a fiberglass handle. It was just more comfortable to use rather than a straight wooden handle one.
If you are needing to separate plants or just dig a hole to set a tomato plant into, a soil knife is a great tool. I like this one because it is multi-use and has that great wooden handle.
These are essential in your pruning arsenal. They allow you to reach higher level and allow you to prune with not much effort. If the limb or whatever you are trimming, will fit it the blades, it can be trimmed with loppers. I use these for pruning trees around the homestead when the limbs hang too low and in my way when mowing. There are also great for pruning back those wild black-berry briers that grow, from the edge, out into the field and are in the way of mowing hay. It just keeps some control of them.
Small hand pruners come in handy when you need to trim small limbs and such on woody ornamentals or perennials. When it comes time to prune the blueberry bushes, hand pruners a great tool to use. They are small, fit right into your hand and make nice straight cuts when trimming or pruning bushes. I use these when cutting my gourds from the vine.
This hoe is excellent for weeding. Instead of having to “lift” the hoe in an up and down motion to removed weeds, the stirrup hoe allows you to move in a back and forth motion not forcing you to lift. It uses less exertion when hoeing the garden.
I at the moment don’t own a stirrup hoe, but was introduced to them in a class I attended. I’m not sure at this time which one I will end up with, but I was impressed enough that it is a great tool to have on the homestead. They look like this. Feel free to do your own research and let me know your opinion of them.
Garden Scissors are excellent for trimming herbs in the kitchen garden. When you need a just a tiny “snip” of fresh basil for a dish or small piece of mint to put into a mint tea, garden scissors work really well for this. I use them often when out then garden. I use this scissor and have no issues with it. This pair actually came with my loppers in a set. I like the idea that they blades can be sharpened when needed.
A journal will help you to keep accurate records of your crops. Don’t leave a successful garden to memory. Keep good notes of vegetables you planted and how well they did. What went wrong? Keep it in the journal. Weather conditions, garden map, and plan for the year. In this article 5 Seed Ordering Tips to Save Money and Time I go into detail of several items to put into your journal.
The garden will need watered throughout the summer. I know here in Tennessee, we have a very dry summer and watering the garden is necessary if it is to produce. I would recommend a 3/4″ over a 1/2″ hose. Also, make sure it is a premium duty “kink-free” version and has brass fittings; I also like to have a coil around both ends that helps with keeping hose from being bent when attached to a spigot or whatever you are attaching it to. A good quality hose will cost around $45-$60.
This garden tool is necessary for watering your plants when you don’t want to put water all over the leaves. Some plants such as squash or cucumbers will develop a disease called “moldy mildew” on the leaves and it can kill the plant. I like to put the water down low near the soil and directly onto the roots where it is needed. I use this one for my garden but if you don’t like a long wand, you can use this type as well. Just be careful when watering to get as little as possible on your plants. Just make sure that whatever you use has multiple spray patterns for watering choices.
Wheelbarrow / Yard Cart
A wheelbarrow is hard to do without. It makes moving soil or compost, cleaning out the garden in the fall, working in the greenhouse so much easier. We don’t own a tractor or anything to move things around on our 1.5 acre homestead, so my wheelbarrow is used a lot. It haswooden handles on it as well.
Some people may prefer a yard cart instead of wheelbarrow. I’ve personally have never owned a yard cart. The difference in the two are: a wheelbarrow has only 1 large wheel in the front and you balance your load with your arms. A yard cart has 2 wheels and it does not have to be balanced.
Gardening is a pleasurable thing to do for those of us that do it. If you are reading this article, then I bet you enjoy gardening as well. Using garden tools can make the work so much easier. For me, I keep what I feel are the basic garden tools to use.
Realizing there are all kinds of garden tools that can be purchased, just be mindful of how much the tool will be used and how necessary is it. Homesteading is choosing to live a frugal life, but some garden tools are necessary.
Hope this has helped to shed some light on what garden tools you will need for your homestead garden adventures.
Leave me a comment in the area below. I’d love to chat with you. I enjoy very much talking with other gardeners.
What’s your favorite garden tool that you use? Or even better, what garden tool do you dream of owning?