Farming is not for the faint of heart. However, it does take a lot of heart, determination, and hard work to be a successful food producer. We are proud to say that on most days we have all of those in abundance in our family. Even on days like today when the manager of our family business (me) is confined to the bed due to health issues, the family manages a daily check list in addition to other random chores assigned. This is despite their work and school schedules. As a collective, we have come to see the dangers of neglecting our growing produce even for one day. Having said that, we do our best, not always perfectly, to make things easier on ourselves by remaining organized and working together. What’s the saying – work smarter not harder. The following tools help us do just that!
Once I discovered this tool, I wondered how I survived without it all this time! Seriously – this thing is amazing! I learned about it via a YouTube video posted by Erin of Our Wyoming Life. If you are an aspiring homesteader I suggest following them as their videos are insprirational as well as educational. Back to the stirrup hoe…it is really a simply designed tool.
It is basically a metal blade, shaped like a stirrup that is attached to a wooden handle (our handle is wooden anyway). “What is so fantastic about this tool?”, you ask. LOTS! It can be used in several ways but there are two ways we use it to simplify our lives:
- Weeding – Everyone hates weeding unless you have some pent up negative energy you need to get out – that’s different. Weeding takes so much time and for the organic farmer who is not using herbicides it is a constant issue! However, the stirrup hoe makes the task easier. In the case of newly developing weeds with shallow roots this is an ideal tool. Simply rake the tool over the weeds in a back and forth motion to pull those aggravating roots from your garden beds! The time and energy that is saved by this tool is remarkable! Here is a video showing how to use it!
- Loosening the soil – Once you have removed the weeds, you can use the tool to loosen the top one inch of the soil. This is beneficial because most seeds do not need to be planted more than one inch below the surface. As long as your soil does not require tilling, this is a quick and effective way to prepare the soil for planting
Being someone who has chronic back issues, I am very drawn to the ease of use of the stirrup hoe. We got ours at the local Home Depot for under $20. Our friends over at Hawkins Homestead Farm said they are going to get another one to double their efficiency. Can you blame them?
Yes, I keep my handy dandy stool nearby whenever I am doing garden chores. It really is a back saver when weeding, planting, and sometimes even harvesting. I simply move the stool along the row I am working on and after one section is cleared (whether planting or weeding) I move the stool down to the next section. Then when it is time for a break, I simply move it into the shade and enjoy the sounds of nature and a cool glass of water. This saves my back from all the bending and squatting that would otherwise mean increased pain and inflammation for me. Anything that prevents that, I am down for!
This little guy packs quite a punch and really comes in handy in our raised beds! When clearing old plants and preparing for new ones it does a solid job at removing the remaining roots that may be left over in the soil. It also does a great job loosening the soil in preparation for transplanting or direct sowing. We have two types a standard one as well as a cultivator/hoe combo which is all you really need for preparing and planting in a raised bed.
Of course there are other tools we make use of here at Bain Home Gardens but these are my personal, can’t live without favorites! What are your favorite tools? Be sure to comment and let us know especially if there is a new tool that has saved you time and energy – we would love to hear all about it!