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Get the right tools needed for job.

Byline: Paul Rogers

COLUMN: Roots of Wisdom

Every craftsman has his favorite tools. Naturally, to be useful, the tool must fit the job. As weeding is the task at hand, let me share with you some of my favorite tools. Bear in mind, a well-designed and well-constructed tool will provide you with many years of service.

If you consider the cost of a tool over the length of time that it will perform for you, its purchase price becomes secondary to its value.

Several years ago, a "trug" or "lug" or "rugged tub" became available. Made of rubber or some similar material, they are bendable, crushable, waterproof and seemingly indestructible. Two handles make the round - 17 inches in diameter - trugs, easy to carry either with one hand or two.

When introduced, black was the only color offered. Now they are offered in pink, red, yellow, green, blue and violet.

They can be used to carry leaves, weeds, soil, compost, stone or almost anything you care to move. I find them invaluable when transplanting plants.

Pour a gallon of water (with liquid fertilizer) into the 11-gallon capacity trug, place the plant to be transplanted into the trug, and transport all to the planting site.

Set the well-wetted plant into the ground and water it in with the water remaining in the trug. Repeat as often as needed.

Rugged tubs are offered for $14.94 in the summer catalog of the Gardener's Supply Co., 128 Intervale Road, Burlington, VT 05401,, (800) 427-3363. You should also be able to find them offered by a number of other suppliers. Kinsman Company, P.O. Box 428, Pipersville, PA 18947,, (800) 733-4146, offers three sizes of "Trug-Tubs," one smaller and one larger than Gardener's Supply. Constructed of recycled polyethylene, they are offered only in black.

Did you ever wish that you had a steel finger when you were trying to extract a deeply rooted weed or a stone that needed removal? The "Cobrahead Weeder" is an invaluable tool for such jobs.

To remove clumps of grass, tap-rooted weeds and similar out-of-place plants, this rugged, zinc-coated, steel, 13-inch long, crescent-shaped tool is worthy of the task. Available from many suppliers, Gardener's Supply offers the steel finger hoe for $22.99.

Note that years ago, a company in Springfield offered a "finger hoe." This tool allowed the user to extract dandelions and other weeds as well as cultivate compact ground without the gardener bending over. Alas, I know of no current supplier. Watch the offerings at flea markets!

Another simple tool that no gardener should be without is the old-fashioned asparagus knife, fish-tail knife, or (as Ames in its True Temper line simply calls it) a weeder. It was used at one time to harvest asparagus by cutting off the spears just below ground line.

As the end of the steel-shanked, hand-held tool is "V" slotted (presumably like the tail of some fish), some gardeners use the name "fish-tail." By whatever name, this has been and still is the tool most used to dig out crabgrass, dandelions and other weeds.

Like the Cobrahead Weeder, the asparagus knife is best used when the gardener is on his knees.

This position allows you to work the tool to full advantage removing the weed roots and all.

Throw the weed into your handy trug and haul all to the compost heap.

Everyone who gardens needs several pairs of serviceable gloves. Womanswork, P.O. Box 65, Sharon, CT 06069,, (800) 639.2709, offers quality gloves sized for women.

The correct tool of whatever type makes any job easier.
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Title Annotation:FEATURES
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Aug 23, 2007
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