In this post, I’d like to talk about what I found to be the best tool for the work I’ve done this summer, but first I’m going to tell you about all of the things that I found second best because that’s how you organize an article on the internet.
So it wasn’t..
The BCS Walk-behind Tractor
Not that our whirring Italian workhorse wasn’t a great asset, but after the ground had it’s tilling, it was pulled out for the occasional mowing job but otherwise just said there. Great if we were a landscaping company, but an organic garden that roaring engine did not build.
Nor was it
The Jang Seeder
This nifty little thing came all the way from Korea. With lots of different attachments and mechanical settings, the only thing we probably couldn’t have seeded with it was the peanuts. That being said, we started more than half of our produce in starting trays in a greenhouse, so I hardly even touched the thing.
And it wasn’t
A Wide Variety of Hoes & Hand Tools
From the Traditional backhoe, its triangular brother, the speedy scuffle hoe, the weird diamond shaped shaving hoe, their weird cousin the broadfork, a slightly dull Hmong machete, and some classic farmers tools like pitchforks and spades and shovels. While all of these are pretty good for moving around dirt, and flipping compost, making holes and removing great swaths of weeds from existence, they alone could not a bountiful garden make.
It certainly wasn’t…
Tarping and Mulching
While they are good for keeping weed pressure down initially, or at least tarping is, you eventually have to peel it back. And it might look like a nice bit of weed free dirt, but in just a couple of days they will be back. And shame on the person who thought it would be okay to put paper tarping in an area that is watered from overhead.
Could it be..
No, but that’s actually second on the list. A good pair of gloves are a lifesaver in this business. Digging in the dirt for several hours and then washing it off drys out the skin a lot more than I thought it could, to the point that my fingers were bleeding because the skin was simply peeling back. That, and dealing with thistles. Why are they so hard to get rid of? But even a masterwork pair of gloves won’t make you a successful small farmer.
What is it then, you’re probably wondering. Could it be..
A Weed Whacker or Flame Weeder? The Gator golfcart/flatbed truck hybrid? A Good Varmint Trap? Proper Planning? Decent Soil and Amendments? A Knowledgeable Teacher? A Sizeable and Willing Workforce? Raised Beds and Trellising?
All of these things certainly can help, but no, none of them will make you. No, my ‘best farming friend’ would happen to be…
A Willingness to Turn Otherwise Unpleasant Events Into a Worthwhile Experience
Because the fact of it is that no matter the tools you have to make it easier, farming is hard work. You’re going to get hot, tired, sweaty, full of dirt and stranger things, crawled on by bugs, and walk away with strange smells and flavors stuck in your mouth. You could spend millions on real fancy equipment, but if you don’t like gettin’ down an dirty, well, you’re just wasting your time with this endeavor. Might not happen right away, but if you really want to be doing this, then you’ll figure out ways of learning to enjoy the situation, or at least find something of value. Once you do that, the rest is the fun part.
Hope you found my tip helpful.
By: Dillon Weist, Bounty Garden Intern AKA Mister Nomer