Good tools are an important part of any job. Growing up with a dad who liked to work on projects on his boat or around the house, I often heard that having the right tool helped get the job done more quickly and correctly the first time. In the few years I have been hobby farming prior to starting Sourwood Creek Farm, I realized the value of having the right tool. It makes all the difference in how much time a task takes and the effect it has on my body. If you don't have the right tool, it takes much longer and can be hard on your body. Some tools just make farming easier. The following list includes five helpful tools for the garden that have worked for me. It is not extensive, but I hope it will be helpful.
**None of these items are sponsored or affiliated. They are tools that I use everyday (or frequently) and have found to be worth my investment.
1) Collinear hoe This hoe is sharp, small, and can get around plants easily to cut weeds out of the bed. By passing through the mulch-topped beds once a week, I keep weeds out and protect the plants I want to grow.
2) Broadfork. I use this broadfork to open up my beds, especially new beds. After a couple of seasons of broadforking with rich compost added on top, the beds are so loose and friable that the broadfork is no longer needed. The new beds that I set up last year got a pass with the broadfork this fall and needed the weight of two people to get down into the compacted earth. I'm looking forward to that being easier each successive year.
3) Garden marker I tried Sharpies and extra strong permanent markers to label plant varieties on garden stakes, but nothing withstood sun and rain in a garden. This marker works! I can clearly see what I planted all season long. I can write on dahlia tubers and garden tags without any fading.
4) Tool belt This tool belt was given to me by a family member for my birthday a few years ago and helps me so much. It houses the tools that I use daily. I have pruners, snips, a pencil, flagging tape, the garden marker, and a stake or two inside. It is nice to have everything in one place when I head out the door. I can keep it ready to go, and know where my pruners and snips are at all times.
5) Soil blocker Using a soil blocker has allowed me to cut out a lot of extraneous equipment and simplify my seed-starting setup. By pushing a seed starting medium into this block form and pressing it out onto a tray, you can have a soil "pot" that is prepared to receive the seed. This soil block can easily be planted out in the field or garden once the seedling is ready. I mostly use the 3/4" size soil blocker. I can pot up to the 2" blocks, if needed.
I'd love to know what tools have been helpful to you at your farm or in your garden?