Marin IJ Articles
Finding Tools For Your Garden
|March 20, 2004|
Finding Tools For Your Garden
by Maryrose Whelan
As the weather warms and the crop of winter weeds becomes more and more evident it becomes time to check the tool shed for likely equipment. Our local nurseries have stocked a great variety of useful tools. Everyone needs a spading fork to turn the soil, incorporate compost and other amendments, and prepare beds for planting. Sloat and Smith and Hawken display several choices. At Sloat hangs a handsome group of tools made in China. They are D-handled with a filled in Y-section in wood with stainless steel blades. Various spades complete the collection. At Smith and Hawken their usual range of British tools hangs side by side with a group imported from Poland. These are similar to the Chinese tools at Sloat with well finished D-handles and stainless steel blades. The British tools lack the stronger reinforced D-section.
Sloat shows the complete line of Felco pruning shears as well as the very important replacement parts, blades and the little spring that can pop off and disappear with little notice. They carry loppers and a pole pruner, as well as leaf and heavy rakes. Smith and Hawken carry the Felco line, as well as their own assembly of pruners of all types from bonsai to bypass and anvil.
Also at Smith and Hawken is a Japanese pruning saw and a Japanese weeding knife. I have found both to be essential elements in my garden armory. The saw can cut branches up to 4 inches thick. The weeding knife is capable of finding the bottom of tap rooted weeds and has a slightly dished side that can accommodate a seedling for planting.
Sloat carries woman’s work gardening gloves. These are designed for smaller hands and have been a godsend. The company makes a thermal lined glove, as well, and can be found on the internet at www.womanswork.com.
Gardeners with arthritis will welcome the Florian ratchet pruner. It can be ordered on the web at . I have not found it locally, but the company has had a booth at the San Francisco Garden show at the Cow Palace. It comes in 2 sizes, the mini at 2 1/2 pounds and the maxi at 3 1/2 pounds. A pricey pair of loppers but a great comfort to the elderly gardener.
A final helper for the kneesore gardener is found at . Skillings workpants incorporate a pocket on each knee that holds an articulated knee pad. Like kneeling on a cloud. Treat yourself!
After spending money on tools you have made an investment that deserves maintenance. The first rule of preservation is never lend your tools. Well meaning friends can maltreat the blades, without really intending to. Pruning shears should not be used to cut wire, nicking blades. Professional sharpening will make your pruning jobs easier.
It is well to have a bucket of sand handy by your tool storage. Add a bottle of motor oil to the sand. When you have finished digging or hoeing plunge the shovel, hoe, or fork into the oiled sand to remove the mud. A little prevention will forestall rust. Caring for your tools will insure their usefulness for many seasons in your garden.
This article appeared in the Marin Independent Journal on March 20, 2004.