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Home Vegetable Gardening – Gardening Hand Tools

The spade or spading-fork will be followed by the garden hoe, or hook, and the iron garden rake; and the garden plow by one or more of the various types of harrow.

The best type of garden hoe for use after the spade is the wide, deep-bladed type. In most soils, however, this work may be done more expeditiously with the hook or prong-hoe. With this the soil can be thoroughly pulverized to a depth of several inches. In using either, be careful not to pull up manure or trash turned under by the spade, as all such material if left covered will quickly rot away in the soil and furnish the best sort of plant food.

An ideal tool for preparing the ground for small-seeded garden vegetables is the iron garden rake. Get the sort with what is termed the “bow” head (see illustration) instead of one in which the head is fastened directly to the end of the handle. It is less likely to get broken, and easier to use. There is quite a knack in manipulating even a garden rake, which will come only with practice. Do not rake as though you were gathering up leaves or grass. The secret in using the garden rake is not to gather things up. Small stones, lumps of earth and such things, you of course wish to remove. Keep these raked off ahead of where you are levelling the soil, which is accomplished with a backward-and-forward movement of the rake.

There remains one task connected with gardening that is a bug-bear.

That is hand-weeding. To get down on one’s hands and knees, in the blistering hot dusty soil, with the perspiration trickling down into one’s eyes, and pick small weedlets from among tender plantlets, is not a pleasant occupation. There are, however, several sorts of small garden weeder which lessen the work considerably. One or another of the common types will seem preferable, according to different conditions of soil and methods of work.

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