Sunday, March 25, 2012

Favorite Garden Tools

 Trenching shovels are a new favorite garden tool in our family. Don and I both like them because they are more efficient than a traditional spade in the hard-packed clay soils that are common in our region. I like them because I can help Don with his digging projects despite my admittedly wimpy upper-body strength. They are also good for moving wet, heavy soil, because you can take smaller scoops and spare your back and legs a little.

They come in various widths. We have a 3" and a 5", which seem to be a good combination. The 3" is really good in tight soils. They are sturdy; Don said the 3" is like a "trowel you can step on," so you can use a lot of force on digging tasks you might otherwise have to do on your knees. Obviously, you can use them for trenching, too! Don says he wishes he'd discovered trenching shovels years ago.

Another favorite is a wheelbarrow for moving things, including the wet, heavy soil we're digging up with the trenching tool. Just remember the soil is heavy, even in the wheelbarrow. Be careful not to overfill so you can spare your back! It also helps to center heavy loads toward the front of the wheelbarrow, over the wheels.
If you are a small-scale gardener and don't use your lawnmower as a garden tool, you should start! Ours is a mulching mower. We mulch grass clippings and leaves into the soil. this reduces our need for fertilizers and other soil amendments.

By removing a plate, our Honda mower comes out of mulching mode and works more like a regular mower. By putting the lawn-and-leaf bag on the back end, we can chop up leaves and grass clippings to use as composting material or for other organic-gardening purposes such as mulch. These materials decompose much faster when chopped up.

What is YOUR favorite garden tool? Feel free to click the comment button and share your own faves!

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