gardening with hand tools

I was planting garlic in my garden today, and started thinking about when hand tools started taking over my life.  I don’t remember what came first in my story: gardening hand tools or woodworking hand tools, but it kind of became a thing.

The love for hand tools in gardening started when I officially learned how to use a shovel.  It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you know you know, and it’s hard to watch someone struggle.  The secret is to sharpen the tip, and the rest is pretty easy to figure out.

You want to talk about gardening?

Half the people look at me and say real digging is too much work.  The other half tell me I need to learn into no-till gardening.  The hand tool strategy is somewhere in the middle.  I swear it has the advantage of both with less actual work.  It took me a few hours to plant a year supply of garlic, and it will take a few more hours to pull the garlic out and store it next year.  I’d say hand tools are pretty effective, if you know how to use them.

But, it’s not just using a shovel that I enjoy, but the simplicity of the process.  Wrenches and hammers were fun, until I started working on cars.  Gardening sounds fun, until we have to get the rototiller running.  Machines are like a bad employee with only one skill, that can’t carry a conversation, until it breaks down.

I have no problem with tuning an instrument, which is what I would compare to tuning up hand tools.  There’s something about the simplicity of the process and being physically connected to the work that’s most appealing.

I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t dislike machines so much if they still made them like they used to.

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