Monday, January 21, 2013

Garden Tools

Garden Tools

Having your own vegetable garden can save you a lot of money. The veggies are of higher quality, better taste and you know how they were grown. Not to mention if you're a "prepper" like me, you'll have plenty of produce to can and stock up for food stockpiling. If you're planning on starting your own garden you're going to need tools to prepare your soil. I've already went over testing your soil, and compost. Now we're going to talk about tools. Tools are very important to gardening and what you tools you'll need depend on what type of garden you're going to have.

For flat bed gardens (just a turned over piece of soil) I highly reccomend investing in a small tiller. However, you're going to want to keep costs as low as possible. After the initial investment with the first garden you'll probably break even financially. However, you will have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what was used in growing your food and the taste can't be beat. I'm personally spoiled on home grown and I feel that the majority of fresh fruits and veggies you get at the grocery store have little to no flavor compared to home grown. If you only buy organic and you grow your garden organically you will, most likely, save money.

Choosing what tools you'll need will be, in my opinion, your biggest expense. You can knock down that cost by putting more work into what you're doing. On the other side of that coin you can make things a little easier by purchasing better tools. It's the difference, price wise, in a tiller and a cultivator.

1. Number one on my list is your basic garden hoe. Go with quality on all your garden tools but with this one specifically. After working forever with my father I feel that the hoe is the most important of the tools. You'll use this to first clear the grass for your garden bed. Which you don't have to do, but I would reccomend it. Grass left over will continue to try to grow. You can also use a good quality hoe to cultivate the earth like a tiller. The hoe is also used for keeping your soil chopped up. It's so handy and you'll find that if you turn it at an angle you can use the corner of the hoe to assist you in smaller places. It's a little hard to get used to but, you'll learn it. A hoe is also good for making hills easily for plants that require a hill for planting.

2. This wonderful tool is called a mattock, or a steel pick mattock. You'll use this to get your soil busted up initially for your garden bed. The sharp end will help break through the packed soil and the flat side, along with the hoe, will help chop it up finely. That's all I've ever used this for, and it efficiently get the job done faster than the hoe by itself.
Husqvarna 205cc 17-in Rear-Tine Tiller (CARB)
Garden Weasel 3 In 1 Corkscrew Action Tiller Pro
3. The tiller. Ok, so this could go in so many directions. This beauty is the Garden Weasel brand sold at Lowes. I've never tried this one before. I can't say which one I tried because I had to modify it and I don't want to give any negative reviews. Let's just say that if you purchase one that has a pin holding the head onto the handle- replace that pin with a small bolt and nut- it will break. This tiller is hand held and will cost you around 25$ but you can buy the much more expensive motorized tiller at varied prices. The handheld version will do the job though. If you have one you may not want to purchase the mattock at all, though I still would to make it easier on whichever tiller you purchase. A tiller basically chews up soil, turning it fine and nice, and wonderful. However, if you don't prepare the soil by at least breaking it up before hand and just stick the tiller down into compact soil it's tiller abuse. It's hard on it and not a good way to treat your investment.

True Temper 30-in L Wood-Handle Forged Spading Fork4. The hay fork, or compost fork. You will need this tool to turn your compost- helping it decompose faster.
5. A pair of ordinary household scissors. You'll need these for pruning any vegetable of fruit plants, if the need arises. I know that most tomato plants in my climate want to bloom way before the plant is really ready to support the weight of the fruit so I snip off the blooms. Using a pair of regular scissors wil make the cleanest cut and hurt the plants less than pinching or pulling off blooms.

6. The rake is a handy thing if you live in my area. We're prone to pretty rocky soil and once it's prepared it's a real pain to get down and remove every single rock by hand. The rake will do it for you, easily. You'll want to be sure to get a garden rake though, not a leaf rake, it's thin tines are a real pain to work with and it just doesn't do as good of a job as the garden rake does.

Any other tools you would need are simple at this point, a small trowel (hand shovel) for transplanting, a water bucket for watering and maybe a water hose. There's also of course a hat for protection from the sun, and gloves. With these tools and a little hard work you should have no problem getting your garden ready for planting. If you need any thing else you'll learn as you go. There are no set rules to gardening tools, it all depends on the gardener, the plants, and the soil. For instance if your soil is rocky you'll need a rake, if it's not, you won't ever use it much. I really can't stress enough how much this is tailored to you, what you're growing and what you are capable of.

So get out there and grow your own vegetables, you'll love the feeling of accomplishment you get, the money you save and the very best part the taste!

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