Thursday, July 8, 2010

Must Have Tools

Figuring out what you need to tend your garden can seem futile. I myself have purchasesd some of those "promising" tools only to realize that they don't actually remove weeds on their own! I now feel like there are an essential three to making life easier. The first is a good trowel for planting, digging, weeding etc. The biggest problem with most trowels is that they are week at the neck. They cannot take the force of deep digging dandelions or compacted earth. I have found one that has yet to whimper at what I have put it through. It even comes in a super cool pink! Average cost is about $18.00. You can find them in select garden stores but they are also available at The second item is the nejiri gama hoe. I love this hoe for working on your knees and eradicating weeds close to your plants. It cuts the soil nicely and is great for precision work. It helps keep hand weeding to a minimum. You can expect to pay about 12-18 dollars. The third item is the scuffle hoe. Since I am a farm girl I was pretty convinced the old standard was the way to go. My husband read about this item and brought one home. I was resistant as first but alas I am now a big fan. The best part about this hoe is that you can cut the weeds just under the surface of the soil on the front stroke and the back stroke with much less effort than the standard model. This one is truly a shoulder saver! Expect to spend about $20.00. You can find them at most garden stores. All three take a little work and none of them will tackle a three foot weed. So weed early weed often! What are your favorite garden tools?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Peas if you please

Over the course of the past two weeks we have been trying to harvest and eat peas from the garden. It has been very disappointing and I am sure I am to blame. This year when I planted the garden, I vowed to be more diligent about marking what I planted where and when. Soooo I diligently placed plant labels at the beginning of each row marked with date and variety. You would think, had I been so fastidious I would have known that the peas I was trying to harvest were shelling peas and not sugar snap peas. I was trying to eat the whole pod and harvest early so they would be tender. It seemed no matter how early I got to them they were still fibrous. Alas I waited a week until they were nice and plump and what do you know, if you pop open those pods some beautiful and tasty little surprises wait inside!

So why was I so clueless? Well this is a lesson that I am ashamed to admit that I learned long ago actually sitting in class at UNC! I marked my plant tags with a sharpie. It takes less than two weeks for the sun to render the markings of the seemingly ever permanent sharpie invisible! Always use a pencil my friends. Is holds up to sun and water forever! I am sure I have weeded away some special rows of something this year because I didn't know what I was looking for to sprout. Sigh. Thank you all for your patience during my computer troubles! Things are well on their way to spectacular now!