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Implements And Their Uses
It may seem to the reader that it is all very well to make a garden with a pencil, but that the work of transferring it to the soil must be quite another problem and one entailing so much work that he will leave it to the professional market gardener.
He possibly pictures to himself some bent-kneed and stoop-shouldered man with the hoe, and decides that after all there is too much work in the garden game. What a revelation would be in store for him if he could witness one day’s operations in a modern market garden! Very likely indeed not a hoe would be seen during the entire visit. Modern implements, within less than a generation, have revolutionized gardening.
This is true of the small garden as certainly as of the large one: in fact, in proportion I am not sure but that it is more so–because of the second wonderful thing about modern garden tools, that is, the low prices at which they can be bought, considering the enormous percentage of labor saved in ccomplishing results. There is nothing in the way of expense to prevent even the most modest gardener acquiring, during a few years, by the judicious expenditure of but a few dollars annually, a very complete outfit of tools that will handsomely repay their cost.
While some garden tools have been improved and developed out of all resemblance to their original forms, others have changed little in generations, and in probability will remain ever with us. There is a thing or two to say about even the simplest of them, however,–especially to anyone not familiar with their uses.
There are tools for use in every phase of horticultural operations; for preparing the ground, for planting the seed, for cultivation, for protecting crops from insects and disease, and for harvesting.
First of all comes the ancient and honorable spade, which, for small garden plots, borders, beds, etc., must still be relied upon for the initial operation in gardening–breaking up the soil. There are several types, but any will answer the purpose.
In buying a spade look out for two things: see that it is well strapped up the handle in front and back, and that it hangs well. In spading up ground, especially soil that is turfy or hard, the work may be made easier by taking a strip not quite twice as wide as the spade, and making diagonal cuts so that one vertical edge of the spade at each thrust cuts clean out to where the soil has already been dug.
The wide-tined spading-fork is frequently used instead of the spade, as it is lighter and can be more advantageously used to break up lumps and level off surfaces. In most soils it will do this work as well, if not better, than the spade and has the further good quality of being serviceable as a fork too, thus combining two tools in one. It should be more generally known and used.
With the ordinary fork, used for handling manure and gathering up trash, weeds, etc., every gardener is familiar. The type with oval, slightly up-curved tines, five or six in number, and a D handle, is the most convenient and comfortable for garden use.