This garden is coordinated by the Churchill Park Community Garden Collective a group of gardeners and community volunteers. We look forward to the upcoming season and hope that you will join our garden community. Please feel free to explore this website for more information.

If you have any questions or would like to join, please contact us at garden@opirg.ca.

June 5, 2012

A Look into Gardening Tools

Last week, one of my tasks was to create a tool inventory, which as someone whose spent a lot of time in gardens I assumed would be pretty easy. However, even in our garden I found that I couldn’t name all our tools and learned that the long tool with triangular attachment (which is pictured in case my description isn’t as good as I’m trying to make it) is a Dutch hoe. In response to this I’ve dedicated this blog entry to exploring the names and uses of tools in our garden (for more experienced gardeners you may want to skip over this part), as well as some notes about tool upkeep and some worthwhile tools you may want to consider purchasing for yourself.  

1.       The Shovel

To start off with, the shovel, tends to be the most basic and most versatile of gardening equipment. Shovels can be used for digging, mixing soils, scooping materials and cutting lines in soil.

2.       The Spade

A spade is similar to the shovel except that it has a straight edge, rather than curved which makes it unsuitable for digging and moving materials but very good at cutting through harder soil and removing weeds.

3.       Gardening Fork

Much like the shovel and the spade, the gardening fork can be used to move soils and materials, however, it os also very good for turning up soil after/during weeding or before planting.

4.       The Hoe

I discovered over the weekend that there are many diferent types of hoes. The first is the every garden hoe which can be used to “chop” and turn up soil. The second is the Dutch or push hoe which is very good at removing or pruning weeds with the blade attachment at the bottom.

5.       The Rake

There are also multiple types of rakes, two of which we have at the garden. The first is the leaf rake, which is wider and more flexible and used to remove light materials like leaves (or straw) from lawns and gardens. Second is the bow rake  which is made of metal tines and can remove heavier materials, like roots and stones, from gardens.

6.       The Cultivator

We have two of these at the garden. A cultivator is a tool with three angled prongs used to turn soil and break up clumps of dirt.

7.       Wheelbarrow

Not needing much of an introduction, a wheelbarrow is simply a one-wheeled cart, pushed by hand that allows gardeners to move materials.

8.       Hoses and watering cans

As water is one of the most important resources for a garden, we ensured that our garden is well-stocked with both hoses and watering cans which can be used to transport water directly to your plots.

9.       Composter

Some of you may have noticed the boards by the present waste bin. Within the next few weeks, we are hoping to build a few compost bins for the garden so that we can have good useable compost in years to come. Compost bins are great because they remove waste and provide gardens with accessible and nutrient dense soil.

A few general notes about tool upkeep include making sure that you use the right tool for the job as using the wrong tool can often result in breaking the tool or more work for you and making sure you clean the tools before putting them away (this is as easy as running it through the sandbox in the toolshed before storing them). Also making sure when using them you leave them somewhere where they are visible to other gardeners or off paths so that there are no accidental injuries.

And finally, for the third part of this blog post here are some other tools that you may want to consider purchasing for your garden here or at home.

1.       Gardening Gloves

While our garden does not supply gloves, these can easily be purchased and have several uses outside of the garden as well. Ideally, gardening gloves should be thick enough to protect your hands from thorns and prickly weeds but flexible enough that you can still move your hands easily.

2.       Trowel

Hand-held trowels are very useful when planting seeds or transplanting smaller plants, they also work exceedingly well in smaller gardens. While we don’t supply these they’re a relatively small purchase and can be used at home gardens as well. You can also buy trowels that have multiple attachments like pocket knives and small shovels that can be very convenient if you plan to do a lot of gardening this summer.

3.       Watering Wand

This tool appeals to me in part because of its name but also because it’s good for the environment and a really handy gardening tool. A watering wand can be attached to any hose and allows you to spray your plants with exactly the amount of water they need and also direct the stream where it is needed most.

4.       Plant Sensors

There are many companies that have come out with “plants sensors” in the past few years which allow you to test soil quality, temperature and water availability and will send the results as well as a list of suitable plants to your computer or mobile device. They’re pretty pricey but if you have the dough, its always something to consider.

5.       Apps

If you want a slightly more affordable alternative to plant sensors there also many apps available for smart phones, I-phones and androids. These allow you to enter where you live, temperature and other factors and will give you a list of suitable plants for your climate.

So, I hoped you learned something about garden tools, I know I discovered a lot more than I ever thought I would doing the research. If you have other tools you love using or think that we should purchase for the Churchill Park Community Garden please comment.

Happy Gardening!

My name's Laura Crump and I'm a third year student in the Arts and Science program at McMaster University. I've been gardening my whole life but this is my first year at Churchill Park Community Garden. I'm really looking forward to working here this summer, 2012.


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