Spring 2017 Mercantile: Wheel Hoes, Harvest Baskets, and More

By Staff
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Check out our editors’ favorite equipment for the home and garden this season including the Hoss Wheel Hoe, a garden hod, and Cowpots.

By the Heirloom Gardener Editors
Spring 2017

Photo courtesy Hoss Tools

Among market gardeners, the Hoss Wheel Hoe is known as a time-tested, straightforward tool used to easily cultivate, plow, and weed garden beds without its user needing to bend over. At Heirloom Gardener, we love the wheel hoe’s hardwood handles, 15-inch steel wheels, and bronze bushings. The steel wheels and manual nature of this tool make it so you’ll never have to worry about air in the tires or fuel in the tank — just grab the handles and go!

To choose between the double- or single-wheel options, consider whether your garden plan will require the more maneuverable single wheel or would benefit from the double wheel’s stability. One of our favorite perks of the double wheel is the option for it to straddle low-growing rows to plow on both sides of a bed in one fell swoop. Talk about speeding up a chore.

The single-wheel hoe comes with a set of three cultivator teeth, and the double-wheel hoe has four (pictured above). Available for $189.99 (single) or $229.99 (double) from Hoss Tools.

Photo by Allison Evans

Occupying the sweet spot between a trowel and a dibber, Burgon & Ball’s Widger is just right for lifting plants out of pots and transferring seedlings into a garden. The tool face measures slightly wider than 1 inch at the top and nearly 1/2 inch at its tip, providing precision in the planting bed. A 13-inch length guarantees ample leverage for prying stubborn plants from pots, and the widger’s hardwood handle gives the stainless-steel tool a comfortable warmth that’s more than welcome on chilly spring mornings. Available for $24.95 from Botanical Interests.

Photo by Allison Evans

Pike’s Original Maine Garden Hod is a durable basket used for storing and rinsing freshly harvested produce. The wood-and-metal hod is styled after a traditional clam hod, which was used by New England clammers to hold and clean their catch. We’ve found ours to be versatile enough to hold everything from heavy garden tools and rough kindling to dainty flowers and a fresh picnic lunch. The hod is now also available with a soft handle that swings to the side for easier loading. Consider spending the extra $4 for the beautiful hand-painted logo because this weather-resistant, hand-oiled hod will last for many years. Available for $44.95 from Maine Garden.

Photo by Allison Evans

Camelot Tools’ Sitemaster I is light yet durable and makes quick work of tough weeds, packed earth, roots, rocks, or anything else thrown its way. The large spade end of the tool slices through sod and takes large bites out of garden soil, which is great for preparing a new garden bed or creating a nice furrow in an existing one. The fingered edges work well for grabbing weeds and raking rocks, while the cutting end makes quick work of exposed lateral roots. The shaft and eye fit together using an intelligent design that tightens as you work. Manufactured in the United States and sporting a lifetime warranty, the Sitemaster I is an all-around versatile tool that will be around for the long haul. Available for $149.99 from Camelot Tools.

Photo by Allison Evans

Cowpots are made from manure, but we couldn’t tell from the smell or texture. While Cowpots can last indefinitely when stored in a dry location, once planted, the high nitrogen content attracts soilborne microorganisms that help the pots biodegrade in a single growing season. We particularly enjoy how easy it is to know when it’s time to transplant seedlings with Cowpots — when you see roots poke through the pot walls, the seedling and pot are ready for the garden! A set of 12 4-inch pots is available for $11.95 from Gardener’s Supply Company.

Cover courtesy Hachette Books

Written by Jere and Emilee Gettle — co-founders of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company — The Heirloom Life Gardener is an accessible but thorough guide to the world of heirloom vegetables. To address the often complicated definition of heirloom, the Gettles paint a captivating tale of wider genetic diversity found in their childhood gardens; the start of their seed company, which specializes in heirloom cultivars; and their travels around the world collecting heirloom seeds. A short chapter titled “How to Garden” is a fun read, even for the experienced grower, and is a nice primer for the first-season gardener. We particularly enjoyed the “A to Z Growing Guide,” which showcases some of our favorite heirlooms and offers helpful garden and kitchen tips. Available for $29.99 in the Heirloom Gardener store.

Tool Talk

Is there a garden or kitchen product that you can’t live without? Tell us about it! Email a short description to Letters@HeirloomGardener.com for a chance to see your top tool featured in an upcoming issue.

Mother Earth Gardener
Mother Earth Gardener
Expert advice on all aspects of growing.