Tools – Carolyn’s tips and techniques

Credit: Carolyn Herriot

1. Secateurs
Only the best will do! Replaceable blades means these will last forever. Scissor type secateurs are preferable, because they make a clean cut without the crushing impact of the anvil types. Make sure your secateurs have red handles, and you have a holster to carry them in, ‘cos if you lose them they don’t come cheap!

2. Fan rake
What a difference a rake makes! Raking beds keeps them free of diseased materials and instantly makes a messy area look like a million dollars. A metal fan rake also makes it easy to pick up big piles of debris to transport to the compost.

3. Quality hose
Ask any gardener what the bane of their existence is and they’ll probably tell you it’s cheap hoses that kink. There’s nothing that drives me more nuts! So I opt for a top quality, custom 175-foot long hose, (unkinkable), which unwinds to reach the far corners of my garden and neatly rewinds back onto a hosereel.

4. Dolly
It took me 13 years to realize I could avoid back injury by buying a $30 dolly. Now I don’t need assistance to move big pots and plants, I just slide my dolly under them and move them with the minimum exertion to my back. That’s why these things were invented, duh!

5. Tarp
There’s no faster or easier way of moving large piles of debris around the garden than by dragging them on a tarp. I also line my trailer with a tarp for manure pick-ups This way I can pull the last of the load out in one clean action and keep the trailer clean in the process.

6. Bucket
Where would we all be without those handy garden buckets – with handles? I appreciate my free restaurant food buckets for so many uses; mixing soil, carrying water, transporting weeds, soaking plants, to name just a few. There’s a billion buckets to choose from, and we all have our favourites!

7. Dustpan
Indispensable for staying clean and tidy, which is imperative to growing healthy plants. The basic dustpan is the fastest way to clean and mix on a large scale. With a dustpan I can scrape off a large workbench or toss together a trailer load of soil mix in no time. I can easily pick up piles of dirt from around work areas too. So handy are they, that I like to have three or four around the place. I even keep one in the chicken house, to help clean it out weekly!

8. Long handled cultivator
Why bend down when you can weed efficiently standing? Choose your favourite pronged cultivator or hoe with a long handle and zip between plants and along rows in the garden, upending pesky weeds in no time flat.

9. Pitchfork
Farmers know the value of a pitchfork for shifting big loads fast! It’s the best tool for turning compost piles, spreading leaves, collecting manure and gathering blackberry canes and brush with. The easy swing of my heritage pitchfork always seems to make the task feel lighter.

10. Wheelbarrow
Preferably lightweight, at least a comfortable weight, because it’s going to get a lot heavier as you lug its loads around the garden. Ideally with replaceable arm grips, as it’s very uncomfortable when these wear out. An inner tube that can be reinflated after a puncture is another must. We love all our wheelbarrows, they enable us to work with
plants on a larger scale and make it so much more fun!

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What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Use the comment form below to share your favourite tools with Carolyn!