Tools: Do's and Don't's


  1. Do visit thrift stores to look for garden tools
  2. Do visit Craiglist for tools and machinery
  3. Do keep your tools inside. Rain or snow will encourage the bacteria that eats at the joint where wood meets metal--you want composing to be in a composer not in your tools.
  4. Buy wooden handles over plastic handles.
  5. Buy in the fall when people are not interested in gardening. Tillers can be purchase for 1/3 of what they sell for in the spring.
  6. Remember that Rome was not built in a day. Build tool array slowly.


  1. Don't rush out and buy everything you think you need or see advertised. A lot of junk is waiting for suckers to waste their money.
  2. Don't be afraid to sweat at the start.
  3. Don't buy a little tiller. Anything less than 5 horsepower is going to beat you to death. Small ones do not have the weight to keep the tines digging into the ground. They bounce off the ground which requires you to exert pressue to push them in. If you review Craiglist you will see a lot of small tillers of certain brands because the owners realized they are a pain.
  4. Don't buy this composter.

Basic Tools:

  1. Hand tools
    1. 3-prong handhoe
    2. 8-9 inch spade
    3. Pruning shears
    4. Grass clippers
    5. Hand pickax
  2. Long-handle
    1. Rakes: Leave and Garden
    2. Shovel, Spear and Flat
    3. Hoes: Flat, V, and Potato
    4. Fork--Gosh, it is hard to buy a new one that does not break or bend.
    5. Pickax
    6. Hatchet
    7. Ax
    8. Pitch forks, best start with a manure (8 to 10 spears) rather than a straw (4 or 5 spears)
  3. Miscellaneous
    1. Wheel Barrel, get a real, well-built one with roller-bearing axle (not plastic) otherwise plan on "Save money, Live better" if you like buying things over and over.
    2. Wheel buckets: Small one (quart/half gallon) for sseedlings and larger (1>2 gallons) for larger plants.
    3. Hoses--see Drip Irrigation.

Organization: Put up a 8 foot 1x12 in which you drill screws or nails to hold your tools. Draw or spray an image of the tool so you can see when a tool is missing. By having a set organization of your tools, you can get them and replace them without having to think about it--which makes gardening a lot better than having to look for your tools. The benefit of outlines is you can quickly tell when a tool is missing, perhaps forgotten in the garden acting like a magnet to bacteria which will compose your handles into uselessness. Be sure to label the outlines so you can have an assistant find or replace the tool or you can find it when your dottard into your golden years.

Caveat on hanging tools

Some tools hang better than others. Some hang better if holes are drilled for them to fit through, e.g., potato hoe. Some require an eye-hook for safety, e.g., pitchforks which rest on screws after one of the prongss is inserted through the eye-screw.

Notice eye-screws on a prong near the center of the prongs and the screws on which the pitchfork rest at the junction of the handle and the prongs.

A personal note: The tools were acquired over a period of time, not overnight. Don't buy a tool because you think you will need it. Wait until you have found you do need it for the long haul and then do a "timistic" analysis: Compare the time-savings of the tool to its time cost--the hours you have to work to buy it, the travel time to buy it, and the maintenance time to keep in good usable shape. Quite often, this pause and reflect reveals that it takes less time to boringly fix something than it takes to travel and buy it. Among the many things of this nature are fixing a tool: To buy new or to fix. Overall, it takes less time to fix than to buy new, e.g., starting cord or carboreator on an engine. And, once you have done it, you have expanded your "accupuncture morality," that is, you are capable of solving more problems in other ways in other places.

One's happiness is tied to freedom from problems ... unless one has warped, false values which is too often the case. Too often, these values are the ones in which the road to hell is paved with the good intentions of bad values in search of happiness.

If one is lucky in persevering to unite the symbols and substance of one's happiness, one will question the value of one's time usage so that, truly, time is money and money is time. Thus, one will pursue free time first and foremost rather than money. Money is like breathing: Beyond a certain point one is wasting one's breath, time, and life.

The above gobblygook may be just that. However, Mother Nature, God's accountant on earth, objectively measures the use of our time in how much time she gives us as individuals and as humanity. Not a leaf in the forest falls that does not appear on her ledger books. Not a single molecule of human greenhouse gases appears without her balancing her books. When we are timely in our use of our time to save time then we are lesser CO2 sinners. Both gardening and fixing instead of store buying are ways to reduce our CO2 sinning.

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