Choosing Gardening ToolsJuly 25th, 2007
For working your vegetable garden and field crops you will need good quality tools, designed for each task. I sometimes don't realize how big a difference it makes to have the right tool. It also needs to be of the correct weight and size, to do the job efficiently. If you are not certain which one to choose, bring several, and see which one is easier to work with.
Once in the garden, sometimes you will find it's better to work from the other side of the plants, so try things out as you go. It's important to buy the very best quality you can find, and avoid hardware store "specials" that are made to only look like a tool.
For Raised Bed Gardening, a wide digging fork with two handles is available. It allows you to use both feet to push it into the ground, and both arms to turn the soil. Everyone needs both a shovel and a digging fork. I use a post hole digger to make holes and work the soil under them when I plant hills of squash or corn, or set out plants.
The hoe most commonly seen today is for very light, shallow cultivation, and is also called an onion hoe. You pass the thin sharp blade along just under the surface to cut off the roots of the weeds, and there are other styles now too. For making furrows to plant in, I like what is called a Warren hoe, which is pointed. It also works very well hoeing up the sides of hills and raised beds. You need stout field or grape hoes in several widths and weights. These chop heavier soil and plant debris.