Wednesday, 2 February 2011

My tools for balcony gardening

This is a post I have been wanting to do since long time ago. I wanted to show the gardening tools I use to take care of my little garden in japan.

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My balcony gardening tools


First of all, a little disclaimer. If you want to have a small garden, you don’t really need to have any tools. They do help make the work easy sometimes, but you can always get away without them. For bigger gardens they might be necessary, but for a little balcony like mine, no tools are really needed. You can always use your hands or whatever is available to get the job done.

So, don’t be afraid of starting your own little garden, no tools or anything special equipment required!

Having said that, here is the very small collection of tools I have gathered over my time in Japan.

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My little shovel


My shovel. A very basic component of the gardening gear. Good for moving soil around fast with out getting the hands dirty. I got this one very cheap at the dollar store. It is sturdy and has a wide spade, just what I need. I usually only use it when I need to move a lot of soil from one pot to another or when I need to mix soil. Otherwise I prefer using my hands. I like the very cool organic feeling of having a bunch of dirt on my hands. Also, using my hands gives me better control to handle the plants with the proper delicacy and finesse they sometimes need.

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A set of gardening pruners can be handy


My pruner. This is the first big budget tool I got. I bought it because I wanted to shape around my grapevine with more control. I decided not to go with the cheap one for this because I consider it to be like a doctor scalpel, only for plants. I would not like my doctor to make an operation on me with a dull or bad scalpel, so I won't do it to the plants either. By the way, also remember: It is best to always clean your blades after using them. You wouldn’t want a surgeon to cut you with a rusty blade, so why do it to the plants? Also they will last much longer that way. They are way too expensive to be buying more every time just because we didn’t wipe it afterwards.

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Is always good to know how is the weather


My thermometer. I only got this one because I wanted to see if the coldframe was really working or not, but it has become more handy ever since. It Is always good to see how the weather is doing. Being to know when is the time to sow some seeds or when to take some plants in. The on-line weather report might get it close, but will never tell you exactly how cold is out there in your little balcony.

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Gardening scissors are good for the small jobs


My gardening scissors. The most recent acquisition. I used to do most of the beheading of dead flower buds, the harvesting of vegetables and some other fine jobs with the big pruners, but they always felt a bit too big for that task. It was hard to maneuver them between delicate leafs or in the inside of the branches. The pruners were just too bulky. So, when I saw this good set of gardening scissors for sale at the garden center, they had to come with me that day. They do get very handy. And now, since harvesting and beheading is what I do most, they have become my most used tool. Of course I still behead and harvest with my hands sometimes, because is just more fun that way.

What tools do you use on your garden?

Also, It was a busy start of the week for me. I have so many exams, and after that a lot of projects to finish. But I will still try posting as often as I can.

28 comments:

  1. Fer, I support your comment about liking the feel of the dirt in your fingers. Our own hands are often the best tools. My favourite tool is a thing called a "Widger" - basically just a piece of metal about 15cm long that you can use for all sorts of things. You need to get one!See my blogpost of 10 Dec:- http://marksvegplot.blogspot.com/2010/12/tools-of-trade.html

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  2. I get the impression of a very precise mind.

    Lucy

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  3. Good tools are so important and such a worthwhile investment. They make the job you are doing so much easier, especially a good trowel for weeding. Good luck with your exams and projects.

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  4. I love the way you shot these tools!
    The beginning of Spring 立春 is near...I'm looking forward to see more photos of your wonderful balcony garden:)

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  5. Dear Fer, I do so agree that one only really needs a minimum of equipment for gardening. So many new fangled gadgets are really just a waste of money. However, I do believe that an efficient pair of secateurs is the most important of gardening tools. Not only do they make tasks such as pruning so much easier, they do help to keep plants healthy by making clean cuts instead of 'death by a thousand slashes'!!

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  6. Lovely tools! (We need a small garage for all our stuff..... but the garden is quite big; 3500 m2 i think.... mostly "lawn" in an incredible bad shape. But that only means that I have unlimmited space to work on!

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  7. It's amazing how clean they are! I have got not many tools for my terrace as well (for the garden we have a green man coming monthly), but thy're unpresentable! :)

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  8. They also look beautiful, dear Fer! I sometimes put down my secateurs for a moment then forget about them. Last spring I found a pear among raspberries - they spent the whole winter there...

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  9. Hi fer
    I agree with Edith, a good pair of pruners always move with the gardener – garden size and scale doesn't matter. Here's a post that describes my toolbox.
    http://www.balconygardener.ca/2008/08/downsizing/

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  10. I don't have much tool either a shovel and a prumer. We cut our backyard lawn grass manually by scissors;-). Environment friendly, save energy and I got too lose some calories.

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  11. Excellent set of tools fer. I've been thinking about getting some gardening scissors for some time now, and good to have the reminder that wiping down cutting tools after use is smart practice. Something I tend to forget, I am ashamed to say.

    There's nothing quite like the feeling of earth on your hands, is there. I love it too.

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  12. My secateurs are my favourite tool. I got a really good pair which were reduced by 75%, an absolute bargain.

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  13. Hi Fer,yes, I also like to get my hands in the earth, I am always being told to put on a pair of gloves. I agree with the others who say secateurs are essential.

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  14. Whenever possible I like to garden sitting on the ground so the tools that I use most are a trowel (what we call your little spade) a hand fork and an onion hoe (If you don't know what this looks like I have a photo here)

    When gardening upright I mostly use a small fork- often called a ladies fork and a dutch hoe.

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  15. Thats a good set of basic tools in any garden Fer, big or small. Im so used to using my own little hands sometimes, though I have a good scrub afterwards!

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  16. Your tools are so clean, so now I can't show you mine. I am that doctor with the dull/dirty scalpel. ha-ha

    A gardener can have a garage full of tools, but mostly they end up using only a handful of them.

    donna

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  17. Like Donna, I'm going to exclaim about how clean your tools are. Mine are rather muddy just now.
    My favourite tool is a steel-tined hand fork, just right for getting out stubborn weeds.

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  18. So true about a good set of pruners...I appreciate that my husband gave me mine a few years back and they are one of my most treasured gifts!

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  19. Nice post. Maybe you can do a blog carnival about favourite tools, gear, equipment? Always nice to learn.

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  20. Hello fer,you certainly do like to give a lot of info about the gardening system and i must say that i find it very iteresting mainly because you are living in another part of the world.I woul like to ask you what would be a bad winter re to temperature whare you live. As you read in my blogg i realy do believe that snow and freezing weather does play a big part and determine how things will grow in the garden. Re to a thermometer it was not many years ago i used to convert the cellceirs(have i spelt that right)into faranhite. all you have to do is double the cno and add 30 take one away and there you go you have the temp in f.

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  21. Those are good tools to have! One I can't live without, my gardening gloves!!

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  22. thank you very much! to tell the truth, I did give the shovel a bit of a scrub for the photo.

    Edit, Kim, Alistair ~ I do think a pair of secateurs can come handy while gardening, I have some pruners too. I just meant to encourage any new gardener to begin. You can always pinch away the unwanted parts with your hands, or even more leave the plant grow as it will. Low equipment should never be a detriment for starting, over time they might get some new tools, but to begin your hands are just ok.

    Scilla ~ Wow, that is a lot of space, I really wish I had some haha

    Geoffos ~ Here in winter we don't go lower than -5 and the normal worst is just around O, it is a mild winter, we even hardly get any snow. oh, and to convert you can use °C x 9/5 + 32 = °F that will give you the exact number.

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  23. Fer~ wonderful post (love how you photographed your tools); I need to clean my garden tools - thanks for the reminder! Best wishes for much success on your studies. --Shyrlene

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  24. Good stuff, fer ... but as beautifully stated, hands are the best tools!

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  25. Soil between your fingers? Definitely a great feeling, and I love the smell it leaves behind. It's such a tactile material that it would be a shame NOT to use your hands when possible.

    Also, the other day I was actually thinking about making a similar entry, and I might get around to shooting some photos for it over the weekend.

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  26. Wow, Fer, you really take good care of your tools. I needed this reminder as mine are looking a little grungy lately. Come to think of it, I should have done that at the end of fall, not at the beginning of spring. Ah well...life goes on with or without sparking gardening tools : ) Thanks for the nice post.

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  27. A nice set of tools. I do not use a thermometer though.

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  28. Thanks for sharing a nice tools for balcony gardening...

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