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Monday, November 26, 2007

Tools for Planting the Garden

As I said on Friday, today we will start a series of posts dedicated to tools, and the tools of my homestead. Today we will discuss the prepping and planting the garden.

Something that is typically overlooked when it comes to gardening tools, is the almighty pencil and paper. These are you most important tools to have on hand. You start to work with them in those long winter night, as you gaze lustfully {mind you don't drool} over the newest seed catalog that has arrived in your mail. Not only do you order your seed supply with the pencil/pen and paper, but you plan out your future with it.

Come early spring, right before the ground is workable, you have a preliminary sketch of where everything should go, on your paper. Then you are off to walk the area. Shoes, good shoes (I highly recommend boots) are the next tool that a our homestead relays on. Walking the grounds with paper in hand, we then decide where exactly the garden is, and how it will be set up.

Once the ground has thawed, enough so that it is workable, we can go off in several direction in what is need. If this is the first year for a garden location, and fall prepping was not done, a tiller will be needed. We have 2 options here, one is the gas powered, self propelled rototiller. This makes life a lot easier. We also have a horse drawn cultivator, that will be put into use once we have an animal broke to pull such a device.
If the garden needs little work, just some soil loosening, or the area is small, a product that I have told you before that I live by, is called for, The Garden Claw. This will most likely be the only time a use a name brand, in this series. The reason I love this particular product is due to the fact that I have lots of clay soil, and The Garden Claw chews through it like it's butter, oh yes I said it, like butter. This item is particularly useful when it comes to fluffing the soil on the tops of our potato lazy beds.

Once the ground is broken up nicely, the next tool in our list is a a seed planter. This is for large gardens. You will not need one if you have a smaller garden.


I don't seem to have a better photo for you. This one we purchased last year at an auction. A wonderful invention, as you no longer have to bend down and drop the corn seeds one by one and cover them up. The cylinder behind the wheel is where your seeds go. There is a switch that you can turn to allow only a certain amount {1-5} seeds to drop. If you look carefully, there is a hook like metal piece directly behind the wheel, almost underneath the metal cylinder. This is used to drudge a furrow in a straight line in the soil. At the rear of the tool is a thick, smaller wheel that pushes and compacts the soil over the seeds.

If the garden is small, use your fingers to push a hole into the broken soil, drop your seed, and cover. Hands, no matter what size your garden are very important. Gardening gloves are not a must have, but can be helpful.

Many of the seed companies send you a small dial seeder. These are plastic devices that you can put smaller seeds into, and are used the same way as you hands. The only reason I have ever used one is for some of my very small seeds, like carrots and lettuce. With the Kansas wind, these small seeders can benefit us in less loss.

I do not recommend buying anything that will allow you to make a perfect hole for planting. Instead, a hand trowel works wonders for transplanting your seedlings. Seedlings will also need support. Trellis fencing, wooden stakes, and garden tape is used here. We also use paper cups at the base of our tomatoes to keep certain bugs off, and used stockings to encase our melons in. This helps support the growing melon, tying the nylon to the trellis after placing the melon inside, and helps keep the bugs off.

Now that the seeds are in the ground, the next tool you will need is a hose. I wouldn't suggest going cheap on the hose, unless that is you tend to run over them with a lawn mower or leave them hooked up in the winter. A good thick hose can last a long time. If you have an old hose with a few cracks, put in some more holes and use it as a soaker hose. Tomorrow we will talk about Tools Used to Maintain the Garden.

There are many kinds of tools for planting the garden in the stores. In the beginning you really want them all, thinking that they might just make things easier, yet over time you begin to rely on only your most precious of tools. Please, share your favorites.

5 comments:

Wren said...

I just have a couple of things I'd add to your list. Going with the paper theme, a garden notebook or journal is mandatory!! You need to remember where you put tomatoes last year so that you won't put them in the same place this year.

When you are drooling over those beautiful new carrots in the seed catalogue, a journal will remind you that you planted that exact same kind last year and only half came up-or some weird buy attacked them. You always think you will remember those things, but I seldom did.

I always carried a tool caddy with me when I was planting (and harvesting and weeding). It was just an old thing I got at the dollar store, used to carry cleaning supplies. It was lightweight and easy to clean and very handy for seed packets, trowel, epsom salt, bandaids, and anything else that might come in handy.

I agree on your hose--buy the best you can afford--for all the reasons Phelan mentioned, plus, a cheap hose tends to kindk worse than an expensive one. There is nothing more frustrating than dragging a hose through the garden, trudge back to the hydrant, and discover that a kink has blocked the flow.

abbagirl74 said...

Hey you. Send me the details about Friday.

Phelan said...

wren, yes I did forget to mention the garden journal, tfor bringing that one up. And thank you for sharing items that you use.

Abba, email has been sent. Be prepared to feel guilty ;)

elia said...

Fabulous tool post - and the way you've highlighted the different tools is great!

I don't think I've mentioned, by the way, that I love your photo of your goose and the snow. Beautiful and evocative.

lisa said...

I'm with you about the indespensible Garden Claw! I love mine, and even my sandy soil can get compacted and needs "clawed". It even works well in rocky soil! Best "gadget" I ever bought, by far!

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