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S L O TO


Tools When buying tools it is a good idea to handle them before making your selection. Slight variation in features such as handle or blade length, shape or overall weight can make a big difference to comfort in use. Spade Used for general digging, soil preparation and making planting holes. Spades vary in size, weight and quality so choose one which feels right to you. Fork Used for breaking up rough ground, turning over a plot between crops and moving compost or manure. During selection employ the same criteria as used when choosing a spade. Rake Used for levelling a seed bed and preparing a fine tilth. The back corner of the rake can be used to draw out seed drills. Ideally choose one with a long handle, steel teeth and a head around 12 ins (30 cm) wide. Hand Trowel Generally used with one hand for creating small planting holes. The length and width of blade varies and personal preference will determine choice.

Tools

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The Hoe A long handled tool used with both hands. Short handled versions (onion hoe) exist for weed control close to plants but they can prove tiring to use. There are 3 main types;  Dutch hoe Constructed with the blade and handle almost in line and used with a forward stabbing motion; cutting weed stems just below the soil surface whilst the operator walks backwards. Severed weeds left on the surface will quickly wilt and die. Regular hoeing of bare soil will discourage germination and keep the ground clear.  Draw hoe Used with a chopping action for clearing weeds on heavily infested ground, or a pulling action, for drawing soil around the stems of potatoes. The blade, set at 90˚ to the handle, also allows production of shallow drills for seed sowing.  Combination Hoe Usually of lighter construction, combining the features of Dutch and Draw hoes, make working close to plants much easier.

Tools

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Garden Line This consists of 2 pegs connected by a length of string. Push the pegs into the ground at each end of the row and pull the string taut, marking the row for planting or sowing. When not in use wind the string around one of the pegs to keep it tidy. Being tempted to lay out rows by eye, resulting in uneven spacing, will lead to difficulties with future operations such as weed control and staking. Even spacing ensures the most economical use of your plot as well as looking neat and workmanlike. Dibber A dibber, usually made of wood or plastic, tapers at one end to form a point. When planting leeks, cabbages etc. push it into prepared ground to leave a hole, pop the plant in and firm the soil around it. Watering can Choose a 2 gallon (9 litres) plastic or metal can, with interchangeable fine and coarse roses and a wide base, for stability. Used mainly for spot watering of small areas, individual plants and application of soluble fertiliser. Watering larger areas requires a hose and sprinkler.

Tools

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Hose and sprinkler A hose connected to an outdoor tap and of sufficient length to reach the furthest point of the plot, will prove invaluable. An On / Off nozzle at the operating end saves water; but ensure that the tap connector is securely fitted. Water pressure can force the connector off the tap when the nozzle closes. Apply water as a spray, not a jet, to avoid soil erosion and consolidation of the surface. Watering large areas with a hose, does become tedious. Thoroughly wetting the root area using a sprinkler, which can remain in place, leaves you free to carry out other tasks. A sprinkler giving a rectangular coverage will prove more efficient than a circular one. Do not water too often; a thorough soaking once a week provides greater benefit than a dribble every day. Wheelbarrow The use of a sturdy wheel barrow for moving heavy materials, equipment and harvested produce around the garden will save a great deal of effort. A single wheel, preferably with a pneumatic tyre, will prove manoeuvrable on most surfaces. Clean all tools and store in a secure, dry place when not in use.

Tools

www.growyourown.uk.com

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