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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gardening Tool Week: Hand Rakes and More

Yes, it is still hot outside, though the weatherman says that we should cool down over night and tomorrow, but with the cool down there is a chance of rain and severe storms. I'll take the rain, and so will the plants! In the meantime, while it is hot, Gardening Tool Week goes on and on. Today it's hand rakes, cultivators and weeders.

These are my hand weeders. I don't apologize for having three of essentially the same tool. This allows me to leave them laying around various places, so I always have one on hand while I look for the others. Plus, look, they are different lengths! The fourth tool pictured, that one on the right, it is also a weeder. It's kind of fancy, with it's stainless steel tines and walnut (yes, walnut!) handle. I got it at a fancy garden store. I'm not sure if I've ever really figured out enough use for it. I suppose if I find one of those big tall thistle plants that seem to grow 3 feet over night, this would be the tool to dig it out with. The problem is when I find one of those 3 feet high thistle plants, I don't have this tool with me, so I tend to just yank out the plant with my bare (or gloved) hands.

Isn't it embarrasing to drive up to what you think is your lovely, well-maintained front yard and spot one of those big thistles peaking out from between the shrubs? How long has it been there, and gasp, did the neighbors see it? (Wait, reminder, garden for yourself, not for the neighbors!)

And, here are some hand rakes and cultivators. I don't really use the two cultivators on the left. They are early purchases and don't really work that well. I do use the two hand rakes. They are useful for getting leaves out from under shrubs, and if you trim shrubs, you can rake out the trimmings from the tops of the shrubs with these (or just use your hands). The one with the green handle actually retracts some so you can make the rake smaller!

I never really had a hand digging fork until I got this one just last year. How did I garden without it? It's very useful for hand digging in heavier soils, when a trowel might not be enough. The reason I got it was because it is also one of those handmade stainless steel tools made be the Sneeboer family in the Netherlands, just like my favorite trowel. And it is one of four such handmade tools sold by Lee Valley, so I figured I should get it. How could I go wrong?

Remember yesterday when I described my Trake, which has a trowel on one end and a "rake" or cultivator on the other end, and how I preferred separate tools instead of an all in one? Give you one guess where this cultivator was made and where I bought it? Hint: check out my favorite trowel from yesterday and the day before and that little hand digging fork above! I thought when I got this three pronged cultivator, I was all set. I use it, and I like how it works.

But then, as sometimes happens, I saw another cultivator and I just liked the old-fashioned look of it. So, I got it, too, just a few months (weeks) ago. I really like it and decided I'd just make room in my gardening life for both a 3 pronged cultivator and a 5 pronged cultivator. Why not? Life is too short and gardening time is too precious to not to have good tools! Who wants to get all frustrated with poorly designed tools? Not me!

Oh, and when I got these nice, handmade tools last year, I decided that I needed a tool caddy to carry them around the garden in. So, I did some looking around and got this idea to make my own. I don't have great wood working skills, but managed to come up with this wood box.

I also had that "Garden Tools" sign hanging around the garage, and it fit perfectly on the side and matched the paint I used, so I thought "why not" and nailed that on. See below how I made the ends look like bird houses? (Don't look too close because you'll see some flaws, but that's part of the charm of it, right?) I'll confess I don't really, actually carry this around the garden with the tools in it, but I do use it in the garage to keep most of the handmade tools in.

So, that pretty much concludes the hand tools, oh, except for pruners. We'll get to those soon enough. Come back tomorrow to see some other special tools for gardening! (I can't wait for cooler weather!)

1 comment:

CoastalCAGardener said...

I think your tool box is very charming. Isn't it funny how things just show up and work perfectly like the "garden tools" sign.

I re-claimed a utensil holder that was in a goodwill box waiting to be taken away. I had received it as a gift years ago, but never used it. But while it was sitting in the box, I realized that I needed something in the greenhouse to hold my weeders and pruners that drifted in there. So out it came and it is now happily "working" in the greenhouse.

I like your blog.