DIY and latest topics
DIY and latest topics
The are several styles of rakes that perform different jobs. Whether you want to pick up leaves, level the soil, spread rocks or mulch, or smooth out the garden for planting, there is a rake that will make the job go faster.
The bow rake, comes with varying numbers of tines spaced about 3/8 of an inch apart. The flat head holds the tines, looks like a giant comb, and is very useful for smoothing out soil, spreading rocks or mulch, or raking up small twigs and tree limbs from the grass.
The shrub rake is a very handy smaller version of the leaf rake, but the tines are thinner and closer together. It is very useful for raking between shrubs, between plants in a flower bed, or raking debris from around closely planted vegetables. It will also help spread mulch in these areas.
Leaf Rake – also known as a fan rake, this tool has multiple tines spaced fairly close together that curve on the ends to grab the leaves. It is fan shaped and comes in sizes up to 30 inches wide at the widest part of the fan. These rakes can be made of plastic, metal or bamboo.
The leaf rake’s unique curved tips grab a large number of leaves and can pick up a rake full of leaves to put them into whatever container you are using. The leaf rake is also useful when raking out ground cover beds or raking stones or debris from trees out of flower beds or walkways.
These hand-held rakes are very useful when working in higher raised beds or reaching between plants where a larger rake won’t go. They have different tine configurations and handle sizes, and are usually about the size of a trowel. These rakes should definitely be included in your lawn tool gallery.
There are long-handled hoes and short hand-held hoes and they both perform several functions.
A draw hoe’s heavy, broad blade and straight edge is set at right angles to the handle and is probably the most familiar for gardening. It chops into the ground and draws the soil toward the user or pushes soil away as needed. Generally useful for mounding soil, cultivating around plants, and removing weeds. The draw hoe is also known by other names: paddle, chopping and planter.
This hoe has a stirrup shaped blade that is sharp on both sides and is used primarily for cutting weeds off at the ground. The blade can be pushed and pulled so that the back and forth motion cuts the weeds just under the soil. It is especially useful for stubborn weeds.
This hoe has a long thin blade designed for use in weeding in narrow spaces. The blade runs parallel to the surface of soil and allows the user to avoid back strain from bending over.
The Dutch hoe has a triangular shaped, pointed blade allowing the user to dig down under stubborn weeds and pull it out of the ground. It comes with both long and short handles. The short-handled version is useful for weeding while sitting, kneeling or using in raised beds.
The use of hoes predates the plough and goes back to 8th century BC. Originally short-handled, these tools took a toll on backs and eventually evolved into the long-handled tools we know today. In 1975, California banned the short-handled hoe for agricultural purposes. Today, it is most useful when managing weeds in a waist-high raised bed that doesn’t require bending.
Garden forks, called spading forks, or digging forks, have many uses. Garden forks have short handles with shorter, flatter, thicker, and tines spaced fairly close together. They are used mostly for lifting potatoes and other root crops from the ground. They also come in handy using two together, back to back, to separate large clumps of roots or dividing overgrown plants.
Pitchforks are good for moving loose materials like straw, hay, compost, leaves, or manure and are slightly different from garden forks. Pitchforks have a longer handle and are available in various widths with thinner sharper tines. True pitchforks usually have only two or three tines to lift and move straw and hay. A pitchfork with four or more tines is used for handling manure or mulch mainly but can also be used for straw and hay.
Hand Held Fork
Another tool with tines is a hand-held fork that is great for digging up weeds. It looks like a claw with a handle and the tines are bent at a 90-degree angle to the handle so it is easy to get the tines under the roots to pull them out. It is also good for digging in rocks or places where you can’t reach with a regular fork.
Depending on the extent of your gardening activities, you may benefit from all three types of forks. If you buy bulk mulch, the pitchfork is very useful in moving it into the wheelbarrow and out into the garden. The shorter garden fork makes digging potatoes and root crops easy without cutting into the crop. The hand held fork gets into tight spaces and digs deep rooted weeds.
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