Volume 14, Issue 50 ~ December 14 - December 20, 2006

The Bay Gardener

By Dr. Frank Gouin

The Right Tools to Please the Gardeners on Your List

Gardening tools you can grow with

Fellow gardeners often ask me which gardening tools are my favorites. In case you’re shopping for one of those gardeners, here’s my list. I don’t stint on price because I want quality tools that last.

The Weed Bandit hoe is my favorite because of its long rake handle and stainless steel head with a corrugated blade that stays sharp. I like the small Weed Bandit for hoeing onions and closely planted plants, and the medium blade Weed Bandit for all other weeding work.

In a sheath attached to my belt, I always carry my Japanese gardener’s knife, which is especially valuable when dividing perennials in the spring. The blade, about two inches wide, is cupped for digging. I also use my Japanese gardener’s knife in place of a trowel for planting. One edge of its blade is saw-toothed, while the other can be sharpened.

My seven-tine manure fork turns the compost pile, then loads and spreads compost in the garden. I also use it to load plant waste to be deposited in the compost bin.

When it comes to pruning, there is nothing like Felco and Corona pruners and loppers. They keep their cutting edge with very little sharpening. So to prevent injury (and keep them sharp) you should always store hand pruners in a shear case attached to your belt.

If you are into shearing plants, you should not be without Okatsune shears, made from the same process used for making Samurai swords. Long handles make these sharp shears easier to use.

For pruning those branches eight to 12 feet above your head, use long-reach pruners. For pruning most small trees and shrubs, they eliminate the need to climb ladders.

Larger garden tools I can’t live without include my old 409 one-wheel cultivator with Nebraska blades for cultivating the vegetable garden. It provides great exercise and does a better job of killing small weeds than my Troy-Bilt edger/cultivator. The Troy-Bilt, however, works well for edging the gardens and loosening the vegetable garden when it becomes too compacted for the old 409.

Editor’s note: Find quality professional pruning tools in local garden stores including Garden Architects, Greenstreet Gardens and Homestead Gardens.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

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