Can’t Afford Hoes

One of the things I enjoy most about the garden is how we manage to operated on an essentially non-existant budget as a second year program. On our second official day as sustainability interns, Sara arranged a meeting with her employer Beth (An experienced and completely helpful local organic farmer) and her friend and fellow gardener Jan Book, who sometimes caters for Bon Appetit, to discuss the specific needs and challenges of our garden plot and fish for suggestions for improvement.

The subject of tools came up, and we had to admit that our only garden tool was a small hand cultivator. (Luckily the entire garden had recently been tilled, Robin of Lazy Dog Gardens lent us her tractor, so the planting wasn’t too difficult with only that tool.) But as weeds had taken over the entire unplanted half of the bed, it was obvious that we would need a little more help than that.

“What’s your tool budget?” Beth asked,

“One hundred dollars,” I replied.

“One hundred dollars for tools?” she asked.

“No, one hundred dollars total.” I admitted.

We had a good laugh about it. Jan generously offered to lend us some hoes so we could get a feel for what we liked before ordering one. Peaceful Valley Farm Supply was the reccommended supplier.

Our favorite of Jan’s hoes for weeding is called a stirrup hoe.
As you swing it, it chops up weeds from both sides. Jan recommended we purchase a file as well, since it works much better when sharp. With a handle and shipping, it would probably use up what small remainder of our budget wasn’t spent on tomato cages. And we still don’t have cages around all the tomatoes. (Which, according to our predecessor Claire, grew to gigantic proportions last summer.)

Our plan is to try and find someone to donate tomato cages, and see if the proceeds from the farmer’s market booth are enough to buy a few tools.

click images for larger view

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