It seems like every time you visit your favorite eco-online stomping ground or open an issue of the latest organic gardening magazine, there’s a new tool or gadget begging to find its spot on in your tool shed. While I’m generally the first one to jump all over any new green gardening gadget, it’s important to make sure you have the essentials and better yet, the vital “I can’t garden without it” tools first.
Every expert has an arsenal of favorites on hand they turn to time and time again. Dave Marciniak, landscape designer and owner of Revolutionary Gardens, always keeps pitchforks, pruners and tape measures at the ready.
“My compost pile is a central component to my organic garden, and part of keeping the compost cooking is regularly turning it,” says Marciniak. “I’ve seen special compost turners and aerators, but for me, there is nothing as effective (and satisfying) as a turning fork.”
Marciniak keeps a pair of professional grade pruners handy for pruning as preventative care in helping to control pests and disease. A tape measure also makes it into the tool bag – an interesting choice, but one that can be an invaluable asset.
“I hate spraying for weeds, but I also hate pulling weeds,” says Marciniak. “If the plants are spaced far enough apart, they’re not conflicting with one another. If they’re close enough, we can also avoid a lot of weeding. Proper plant placement means the plants are out-competing the weeds, and doing the work for me.
Avid organic gardener and founder of HealthBarn USA, Stacey Antine, MS, RD, has a different lists of favorites – the Stir Up Hoe, the Nejiri Gama Hoe, and a pair of Mud Gloves.
“The Stir Up Hoe transformed my feelings about weeding from a dreadful chore to enjoyable!” says Antine. “You make quick progress with minimal strain on your back and the raised beds look beautiful when you are done.”
Antine finds the blade angle of the Nejiri Gama Hoe perfect to weed close-up without damaging the plants and her Mud Gloves, a smart choice.
“I’m really tough on gloves when working in the garden,” says Antine. “Typically I can’t make it through a season without creating holes on the tips of the right hand. That’s until I found the Tough Mud Gloves that are durable and easy to work with all aspects of gardening.”
One thing the experts clearly agree on is weeding properly is essential to organic gardening. Having the tools that work best for you to conquer weeding will be key to your organic gardening success… and likely, the best eco-friendly investment you can make this summer.