I have just recently (in the last week) decided to take the plunge into trying to grow some vegetables and fruit in my yard. The house be bought last year has a pretty good sized yard, and has plenty of work needed with just the trees and bushes already in it. But for some reason, remodeling the whole thing wasn’t enough with a baby due in May, so I decided I wanted to build some raised beds and farm (I’m realizing as I write how insane I am).
Anyway as such, I have a whole new category of tools I’m needing.
I picked up one of these this weekend and so far I really like it.
I am interested in hearing if anyone else has any suggestions or experience with gardening and farming, as it relates to tools.
There are lots of new choices for building raised beds. When I did mine about 35 years ago – there were naturally rot-resistant wood materials like cedar, redwood and bald cypress – but I was building 20 of them (12 – 8x6ft and 8- 14x6ft) laid in a grid to fill a section of a side yard. I decided to go with pressure treated lumber that I tarred on the faces that contacted the soil (more to prevent leaching of chemicals into the soil than to prevent decay. I got into a rhythm building them - making the 6 foot ends first – drilling pilot holes in 2x8’s then using galvanized ½ inch lags and washers to bolt them onto 4x4 posts. The result sort of looked like a bed’s head board. I dug out a plot to fit w=each bed – set the ends then the long sides with another 4x4 post half way along. Having a skid steer, excavator/backhoe and payloader at my disposal helped cut the job down to size. I used an old Skil 471-2 corded electric impact wrench to set the lags and cut the lumber on my old Craftsman RAS set up in the garden.
Fast forward to 2014 – my wife wanted 4 more beds in a different are., The old beds are still in use – showing some decay (mostly the 4x4’s) but still holding soil. But the garden and lawns are more finished now – so bringing in the heavy machinery is not practical. My wife (the gardener) also learned that 4 foot wide x 6 foot long beds are more practical and that she wanted the look of real redwood – not just stained PT.
So I upgraded my tool collection – bought a Milwaukee cordless 2675-20 to set the lags and used my Bosch Miter saw to cut the lumber.
Regarding garden tools: my wife is left handed, prefers the style of gardening that has her working on her knees around the beds, has been trained at a major world-class botanical garden and has some favorite toolss that include:
TYPE COMPANY NAME PART_NO
BULB PLANTER DEWIT HAND BULB PLANTER 31-0909
DIBBLE UNKNOWN (UK/ENGLAND) T-HANDLE DIBBLE
GARDEN FORK AMES BEDDING FORK 73935
GARDEN FORK LEE VALLEY ROSE FORK - 2 TINE PG450
GARDEN SHEARS FELCO HAND PRUNING SHEARS - LEFT HAND No. 9
GARDEN SHEARS FISKARS BYPASS LOPING SHEARS 9158
GARDEN SHEARS FISKARS TELESCOPING PRUNING STICK 9240
GARDEN SHEARS WILKINSON SWORD HAND PRUNING SHEARS - RIGHT HAND 160
GRASS CLIPPERS GARDENA CORDLESS ELECTRIC GRASS SHEARS 8805
HEDGE TRIMMER GARDENA CORDLESS ELECTRIC SHRUB TRIMMER 8824-U
HEDGE TRIMMER GREENWORKS G-MAX EXTENDED REACH HEDGE TRIMMER 22342
HOE/CULTIVATOR AMES LONG HANDLED 4 TINE CULTIVATOR 18-306
HOE/CULTIVATOR BOND HAND CULTIVATOR - 3-TINE LH012
HOE/CULTIVATOR HOUND DOG TOOLS ROTATING-TINE CULTIVATOR 10156
HOE/CULTIVATOR WILKINSON SWORD LONG HANDLED CULTIVATOR (SWOE)
HOSE NOZZLE DRAMM FOG NOZZLE - 1GPM 12344
HOSE NOZZLE DRAMM LONG HANDLE SPRAY NOZZLE 12866
HOSE NOZZLE FOGG-IT NOZZLE FOGG-IT NOZZLE - 1/2GPM FOG-1/2GPM
HOSE NOZZLE GARDENA HOSE NOZZLE - FLOWER SHOWER 32003
HOSE NOZZLE LONN WATER SAVER NOZZLE - MODEL S - FAN SPRAY 1-05SP
KNEE PAD KOBALT MASON’S KNEELER 0259976
KNIFE - GARDENING GREEN TOP HORI-HORI GARDENER’S KNIFE 4986956006500
LAWN SPREADER EARTHWAY PROD LAWN SPREADER 2030PPLUS
RAKE BOND 5-TINE TELESCOPING RAKE LH011
RAKE DISSTON - OLYMPIA BEDDING SPRING RAKE D-6
RAKE KAIZEN GARDEN MINI RAKE AND HOE COMBINATION RAKE N HOE MINI ENGL
RAKE LEWIS LIFETIME LOW SHRUB GROOMER WHR-6
SAW - CHAIN GREENWORKS G-MAX 8 INCH CORDLESS POLE (8 FT.) SAW 20302
SAW - PRUNING SILKY SUGOI 360 PRUNING SAW 390-36
SCOOP MIDWEST GLOVES GARDEN LAWN CLAW SET (2 PC.) 45TA
SEIZER DRAMM GARDEN PICKUP TWEEZERS PSTX
SPRINKLER GARDENA SPRINKLER - OSCILLATING 31979-6
SPRINKLER GARDENA SPRINKLER - OSCILLATING 8125
STEM STRIPPER CLAUSS STEM (THORN) STRIPPER 350
TROWEL - GARDEN DEWIT HAND SPORK - 12 INCH OAL 31-0816
TROWEL - GARDEN DEWIT TRANSPLANTER-ROCKERY TROWEL 31-1110
TROWEL - GARDEN DEWIT LADLE GARDEN TROWEL 31-3035
TROWEL - GARDEN HI-POINT - ROYAL TOOLS HAND TILLER MATTOCK 9603
TROWEL - GARDEN SNEEBOER GREENHOUSE TROWEL 40087
WEEDER DEWIT 2-TINE WEEDER 31-3098
WEEDER EXCLUSIVE MECHANICAL SYS EXTRACTIGATOR BRUSH PULLER EXTRACTIGATOR
WEEDER WINGED WEEDER WINGED WEEDER WW300
@fred I’m guessing you must have spreadsheet based inventories of all of your tools considering I’ve seen you post thorough lists like this before I believe? I would love to do something like that one day. I’m just now dipping my toes into this new world of gardening, so I have a lot to learn. I appreciate the tips.
What I had for the business was an Database that was kept first on an old Data General machine - then migrated several times via products like Knowledgeman, then DB2 and finally Microsoft Access on a server. From MS access database records are easily ported over to Excel and (not as well) to Word. Having seen the merits for the business - I started doing it for my personal inventory. The all caps - is an artifact of the old Data General program that had a peculiarity that way - maybe to save on precious memory.
If you want to get rid of the all caps you could run the following against the relevant table:
UPDATE tblToolList SET tblToolList.ToolDescription = StrConv([ToolDescription],3);
Where tblToolList is the table name of your inventory and ToolDescription is the field in that table containing the description. (The ‘3’ in the set StrConv function results in ‘Proper’ Case being applied.)
Thanks - I’ll give it a try on a copy. I’m guessing that in most instances - leading caps is correct - with the only exceptions being some company names or brand-names that happen to use all caps.
We are going to put in some raised beds this year. I’m not very enthusiastic about it since we still need to landscape the front yard including a new sidewalk, but my wife and daughter want a vegetable garden again.
I’m not sure what materials I’ll use yet, but either I’ll recycle some old block or make a bed out of treated lumber. That’s the easy part, the hard part is leveling the area. I hate moving and compacting dirt, but I hate paying somebody to do it for me more.
Some folks have gone away from using pressure treated wood for vegetable gardens because of concern that the treatment chemical will leach into the soil and be taken up by the vegetables. Some plants may be particularly susceptible - and I’ve heard that Kale is an example. Back when I did it they were using arsenic compounds for the treatment – so I took care when cutting the stuff (did it outdoors with gloves, dustmasks etc.) - and then I applied roof tar to the inside faces of the wood - and other sections in contact with the soil (redwood stained the outside exposed faces.)
As I said using a skid steer to scoop out the “dirt - and other debris - as the area I put the 20 that I built had been a patio area that had long since broken up” - a payloader to load it into a truck to haul it away and then a backhoe to help with the heavy lifting - plus a few crew members to help with a couple of the heavier tasks - all made it much more practical. We had a D7 dozer at the time - but that would have ben overkill. As it turned out the big material cost (besides lumber and the lags) - was the topsoil I had to have hauled in to fill the beds.
Being that we’re all tool geeks who like info and versatility i will suggest a podcast the covers just about everything. “The Survival Podcast” you can find it in on itunes or google play or any other podcast services.
Forgo the name and find a episode with a title your curious about(he has 4-5 episodes a week) and give it a listen on your way to work or while working in the shop. He talks ALOT about gardening and raising livestock(he’s a duck farmer). The majority of his gardening is focused on ‘permaculture’ and is a fantastic way to approach gardening.
If you have any specific questions about farming you can e-mail him and/or call and leave him a voice mail and he might play and answer it on the air.
It might take an episode or two to get switched on to him and understand his personality but hes a super switched on guy who loves to teach.
Thanks @pete I listen to podcasts while at work most of the time, so that’s perfect.
We went with treated lumber for our two raised beds, and we will probably line them, as I have seen that’s what a lot of people are doing before filling them. We missed the boat on making our own compost this year, so we are buying a ready to plant compost mixture from a local place that looks pretty good. I’m hoping to get my compost started and have some ready for the late summer/fall planting.
@benjamenjohnson I too have a ton of work on the front and side yards, but the back yard is where we spend the most time, plus I wanted to get something planted this season to start learning.
Using treated wood, but after reading this article, I’ll just roll the dice …
That said, I purchased the smaller 600lb rated cart and I really like it. I’d be carefull throwing 60 lb rocks in it, but works well otherwise. This is the one I use:
Here are my first two small “urban garden” beds for now. I have a low pressure drip zone that they are tied into (emitters still not installed as it’s still raining pretty well here). I’ll probably build at least another 4 or so.
Mine are treated lumber as well. I still need to level them out though. Getting soil and delivered tomorrow to fill them.
This article is way outdated, they are talking about CCA which hasn’t been on the market for over a decade.
I have done some research into using treated, and I’ve found most advice not to use treated comes from sources that are ridiculously outdated. The very few that I’ve found that talk about modern treated lumber really don’t come out and directly say it’s safe to use in gardening, but they don’t warn against it either.
Even when lumber was treated with arsenic, the best information I found said it wasn’t that big of a deal because 1) it leached downward not sideways and 2) as long as you had enough phosphorus in your soil the plants wouldn’t take up the arsenic.
The people that still had concerns about treated lumber use plastic lining between the soil and the lumber.
@Art, those raised beds look like cedar to me, in which case do they really need to be treated? Cedar is pretty resilient outside, although it can be even more expensive that treated pine.
I think he meant the rest that he builds will be treated.
Hi all, the article does go on to state that CCA hasn’t been used in a while and the risk is something to be aware of as a matter of education, but not as “serious” as it once was many years ago due to it’s current limited use.
Regarding the wood, it is actually pressure treated - the pictures might be a bit deceiving.
I used treated 4x6s for a raised bed planter I built last year. I lined it with the thickest plastic sheeting I could find but I did it mainly for peace of mind and to prevent any water from trying to leak through the sides.
I think it is more important that people don’t use water from their roofs for their edible plants. Shingles are treated with all sorts of chemicals and supposedly that can get into your food.
That’s interesting, I never would have thought of that. It seems like such a losing battle though the more I learn about this whole backyard farming thing. I don’t want to use city water, much less pay for it, but anything I collect in rain barrels from my roof could also be bad. I wonder what type of filtration processes can be done. I’ve heard some people will put goldfish in their rain barrels to keep it from getting out of control with growing stuff. I guess that’s what bio-swales are for.
I recall rainwater collected from rooftops was a big source of potable water in Bermuda. But then again the buildings there seem to all have tile roofs. My wife uses that water collected from 3 backyard rain barrels for her flower beds. Luckily in my area we are blessed with quite inexpensive municipal water. I pay a small fraction of what my sister pays - with about the same or more water usage (she has to truck water in for her pool) - but her property taxes are a small fraction of mine - so I guess everything evens out (I wish).