Bob Due's Terraced Gardens Farm  Premium Produce - Pesticide and Herbicide Free
In a small garden all one needs are a few good hand tools.  Many times we think that a power tool would be great and we long for something that has been highly advertized over the years because we have been programed to think that that tool or thing will make us successful in our gardening or farming efforts.

A spading or potato fork is one of my must haves. 
The one on the far left I bought about 40 years ago and it is still doing very well.  It was the best that I could by at the local hardware back then.  I have seen some of the lighter duty ones and they end up with bent tines the first time you try to dig something that doesn't want to be dug!

Recently I was able to buy a Smith and Hawkins potato fork and then shortly after came across one that was very similar but made of all stainless steel.  That is the one in the center.  After using both of these, I don't want to use the old one!

The really heavy duty one on the right has 13 inch long tines instead of the standard 11 inches.  When I have a good crop of those Sugarsnax carrots that are 14 inches long, this is the fork needed to get them out of the soil without breaking the end off.
Above are some long handled tools that I like.  The far left is a pointed hoe.  The next is a beautiful tempered potato fork (hook).  It has great strength.  I have never even begun to bend any of the tines!  Next is a cheap version.  To the right are two antiques.  The wider one is adjustable.  They both work very well and I find them much easier to pull vs something that would do the same thing and have to be pushed.  I found some of these on eBay.
Above are several different spreaders.  These are useful for applying cover crop seeds and soil ammendments.  The Solo spin spreader is the smoothest of anything that I have ever carried.  However, I had to mount two eye screws where you see them so that it wouldn't bounce on my knees as I walked across the field.  The Earthway on the right is great for larger areas.  All of these are great for seeds or pelleted ammendments.

Below is a drop spreader that is a must when spreading very fine materials like 200 mesh lime dust.  This is a 3 ft model from Sears.  There are similar models sold by Northern Tool.  They are made to pull with a lawn tractor or 4-wheeler.  I added the handle and pull it by hand.
Above is my Jung Clean Seeder.  I have made several modifications.  I replaced the back wheel with a narrow lawnmower wheel and I reduced the width of the opener to about 3/8ths of an inch.  You can see the original rear wheel to the left.  The 4 rollers in the lower picture show you what selects the seed.  The seed fits in the individual cells and then a brush wipes off any extra before the cell exits the seed hopper.  The spacing is controlled by two things.  First, the number of cells can be 6, 12 or 24.  Then the chain drive has a selection of different sprockets and this gives you just about any spacing that you desire.  It is very easy to push and tolerates small rocks and a lot of plant residue.  I direct seeded several of my fall crops in 2010 and got about 95% singulation and very good spacing between each seed.
Above is the Earthway push seeder and I started using one way back about 1972.  If you have the light carrot and lettuce plate, it will plant carrots thin enough that you don't have to thin them.  It also does a pretty good job with peas and not too bad with corn.  But that is about all that I ever used it for.  I found them hard to push.  They hang up on anything in the soil.  The other problem is that there is no way to change the spacing between seeds unless you tape off every other cell.
I use some foliar spays and find this backpack spayer to be just the thing for appling them.
Below are two different push planters that I have experience with.  I now only use the one on the right but want to show you both and give you my experiences with them to help you if you decide to look into something along these lines.
This page was last updated: March 11, 2011
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