Tools of choice

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

What’s your favorite tool? I’ve found that I can’t garden without a garden fork. It is absolutely indispensable. It goes into the ground much more easily than a spade or shovel, though a small spade is handy for digging out plants for trans-planting. Now I’ve found a hand fork is almost as indispensable. Mixing soil, digging weeks, spreading mulch – all kinds of things. My son, who works with me, finds my sharp square spade works best to dig the holes for planting shrubs. We have a lot of stony ground up here along with sand and silt.

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: work in 3-5 Location: Home:small urban: work:homes and businesses Geographic type: hills, rocky outcroppings Soil type: gravelly soil – sand – sandy loam – silt – clay Experience level: professional 16 years Particular interests: design using perennials, annuals, shrubs and rock.

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

Comments on this entry are closed.

Kathy July 26, 2004, 8:22 am

Yes, Rundy has a problem with tools breaking. Twice they have been my tools. That “upper body strength” has something to do with it, plus having a good deal of determination, and a desire to get the job done now, today, on schedule! The first time I admit it was my mistake to ask him to dig up some twenty-year old peonies when the soil was dry as dust. The root systems were huge, but impossible to pry out of the brick-like soil–impossible for anyone but Rundy, who got the job done, but bent the blade of the trenching spade he was using. Fortunately the spade was from Lee Valley, and they replaced it free of charge, no questions asked. I have always felt a bit guilty about that, because if I had soaked the soil the night before, the spade never would have bent (I think).

Don July 23, 2004, 11:14 am

I agree about the garden fork. I could not garden without it. Shovels and trowels are helpful, but the work of gardening — at least for me — requires a good spading fork. I have gone through several in my garden experience.

Rundy July 23, 2004, 9:28 am

Favored tool depends on what I’m doing. One that I use constantly in the rocky soil we have around here is the mattock. It is great for loosening up hard soil, digging holes, and ditches. However, it requires an amount of upper body strength and as such isn’t a tool everyone can use.

A big problem with me is tools breaking.

Chan S. July 18, 2004, 10:37 pm

My favorite garden tool is the Korean ho-mi (this link– –has a picture of one; I use the standard short-handled version). I use it to weed, cultivate, dig small holes for planting, and make furrows for seeds. One of these days, I’ll get around to doing a post on it on my blog!

Kathy July 18, 2004, 5:04 pm

I’m with you, Alice! I reach for my garden fork a lot, in some cases where a stronger person would probably pick a different tool. Forks of every size accompany me on every weeding expedition. What hand fork do you favor? I am a loyal fan of this one ( sold by Lee Valley Tools.