Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Three Tools the Home Vegetable Gardener Can’t Live Without

When I started vegetable gardening I was a mere seven years old. I would go out and help my dad turn the soil over, plants some seeds, even bury the food waste in the backyard. Of course back then burying food waste was an oddity in society, whereas today it is not only accepted but encouraged. I will get to more on that in a moment.

From the moment I was a young child up until today I learned quickly that there are certain tools I just could not live without to help with the tasks of cultivating my home vegetable garden. These tools make it easier to aerate the soil, mix in compost and other materials, and break up the bigger chunks of dirt.

Let me start with my trusty shovel or spade. My shovel is as basic as it gets. It is a simple shovel with a wooden handle and the spade is made of forged steel. You can buy one similar at any home or garden center, although they probably are made with fiberglass handles today. My shovel allows me to dig deep holes to bury my food waste. I will dig a hole about eighteen inches, dump the food waste in and cover the hole with the dirt. I build up great nutrients in my soil this way and my shovel allows me to get to that depth fairly easily. Why this depth? Because that is where the worms live!

The next tool in my arsenal is the rake. I use a steel rake with strong tines on it. It, too, has a wooden handle but I also own another one that has the fiber glass variety. Someone gave it to me a while back, so I keep it in the shed. My rake gives me the ability to level off the soil after I have dug holes with the shovel. See the paragraph above as to why I would need to do this. My rake keeps my home vegetable garden from looking like it has hills and valleys, which isn’t good for water drainage. Although raised bed experts might disagree.

Finally, what home vegetable garden tool shed would be complete without a pitchfork. A pitchfork looks exactly like how it sounds, like a long fork. They come with either three or four tines. One is not better than the other, but whichever one you do get make sure it is made from forged steel. My pitchfork gives me the ability to turn the soil over without chopping up all of the worms underneath that are working hard to dig tunnels and breakdown the food waste I buried. Because it is made of hard forged steel it is strong enough to break through even the hardest of soils, turn it over and break up clumps of dirt into smaller pieces which I can then use my rake on to smooth out.

Many other tools for the home vegetable gardener exist. From small ones to powered ones and everything in between, many varieties exist, but the three I mentioned above, I believe, are must haves for any person’s home vegetable garden.

About the Author

Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person, as well as the president and CEO of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC. You can, follow him on Twitter as well as join his Facebook fan page.

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