This is my entry in the hoedown Carol is hoesting over at May Dreams Garden. While I lust after her hoe collections (probably stem from my years writing about cultivator implements for farmers), I’m really not a tool collector. I tend to find a few that I like and that work and remain loyal to them.
Above are the tools that are on the top of the pile or closest to the shed door. There are a few more specialized tools that really come in hand for specific jobs (breaker bar, post-hole digger, pocket pruning saw, loppers) or ‘go without saying’ (lawnmower, leaf rake). But these are the tools that get used.
Left to right, front to back (more or less):
Felco pruners – Not pictured, because they were in my back pocket while gathering up the other tools for the picture. ‘Nuf said.
Weed popper – I don’t even know what this tool is called. If you saw my beds, you’d know it wins the award for most under-used tool. (Don’t even look at the lawn this time of the year.) But if you really want to get a taprooted weed by the roots, this tool works pretty good.
Fiskar fabric shears – My seamstress mother is spinning in her grave. They’re great for cutting everything from flowers to plastic deer fencing. Wonderful for deadheading, not that I do a lot of that, either.
Bulb planter – I don’t plant enough to justify the longer version, but this beats the heck out of planting with a trowel.
Trowel – I think I got this through Smith and Hawkens at least 25 years ago. I really couldn’t afford it. But among my first gardening lessons was I can put more force onto cheap trowels than they can take.
Flex-tine rake – Perfect for raking up fine seedbeds for solid-sowing of greens. Once crops are up, you can use it to ‘blind weed’ small weed seedlings while they’re just germinating without wiping out the crop.
Serrated knife – I think this was touted as ‘Japanese’ when I bought it. Makes short work or divisions that can’t be teased apart. Sometimes wish the blade were longer. But it saws right through most anything.
Spade – Just your run-of-the-mill, decent quality hardware store shovel. They last me at least 10 years. Shoveling manure into the pickup. Turning under cover crops in the veggie garden. Breaking sod. Digging big holes. The usual shovel stuff.
Contractor-quality rake – It’s got cahones. Sharp teeth. Extra wide. Great for breaking up clods, shaping veggie beds.
Digging fork – Probably the most expensive took I’ve ever purchased, even though I don’t use it all that much. Aerating beds. Some digging.
Stirrup hoe – Probably my most used tool. I use it to weed and rake soil around. If you could only have one hoe, this would be the one I’d choose — having not had a chance to try out Carol’s collection.
Half-moon edger – As you can tell by the fine iron oxide patina, another under-used tool. But there’s nothing like edging a bed to spruce things up a little. The makes short work of the chore, though I’d love a longer handle. Also slices through the Invisible Fence cable with ease.
Tree spade — My favorite shovel. Narrow enough for tight spaces. Long blade cuts deep. Build like a brick outhouse.
Garden cart – Gardenway cart that’s more than 25 years old. The plywood is starting to get funky, but it’s been a workhorse every year, and most of those years stored outside. Old half-sheet of plywood turns it into a convenient mobile potting- and work-bench.