July 15, 2008

Some Indispensable Garden Tools

Well, the plantings all done, the harvest has just begun with a few crops such as peas and green beans coming in, but wait! the weeds are thriving too. What to do, what to do?

I have to tell you right off that I truly love to weed, I'm an old-fashioned hands-and-knees weeder, and in spite of the mulching we do, there 's still plenty to deal with in our various gardens. Our main garden is something like 80 x 100' and there are another half dozen plots ranging from two that are 20 x 20' to some in the 10 x 10' range. And then there are the flower beds of which there are way too many!

Our two main garden weeds, probably yours too, are lamb's ear and purslane. Both are nutritionally rich, but I'd never in 1,000 years eat enough salad to use all that grows in even one corner of the garden. The purslane also does offer some mulching value as it grows way out from its roots and low to the ground preserving some mositure. It's actually a pretty efficient plant, one of many that we perhaps don't value as much as we should.

But, I just want them out of my garden! There are so many fancy garden tools available, but I've found that just three things are all I really need to manage all we grow. My trusty trowel of course, then my set of two circlehoes , and finally, my rubber knee pads.

I'm sure you have a trowel that's a favorite as I do. Mine is sturdy, stainless steel with a rubber handle, fairly broad and comfortable for my hand which is important. I'd never heard of circlehoes until a friend gave me one, whereupon it quickly became my absolute favorite go-to tool. I bought a second one, the larger size offered by Index Innovations, Inc (http://www.circlehoe.com/). They have (at least) four sizes and the mini I have cost $6.99 at a local garden center two years ago. This is the most useful size for just about all I do around and between plants, while the larger one I use on the walkways. I can't talk about my circlehoe without sounding like an ad, but please check out the website as this tool is so much more versatile and kind to your hand and wrist than any of the old "scratchers" I've used in the past.

And finally, there are my kneepads. It's easier on my back to actually kneel down and weed, and yet I don't want to wreck the knees of long pants, or get grub totally ingrained in my knees, OR, inadvertently kneel down on a sharp rock which really, really hurts! The knee pads of a rubbery material have straps that go behind the knees and clasp with velcro. At first, the straps can be stiff and somewhat annoying, but as the pads get broken in, the straps become softer and truly unnoticeable.

And now, having written this, I have GOT to head down to the garden... the weeds calleth!



Alice Goldsmith said...

Hi Mary, Those kneepads sound really good to an old lady like me. Must get some.Alice

Just for a while . . . It's all about You! said...

Thank you for the nod to purslane. I expect lamb's quarter was expelled too. Have no fear they will be back next year!

On a more serious note - I tried purslane for the first time this year and . . it tasted very good. It goes into our salads most every time now along with small dandelion leaves, lamb's quarter and various herbs. A welcome additions to lettuce and mesclun greens.

And . . . if you cut yourself while in the garden find one of the fuzzy lamb's ear leaves and wrap your cut in it!