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Our forefathers had to dig with their hands. Any help with the invention of a tool was well appreciated by our forefathers I am very sure. The first “digging tools" were used in primitive times and they were just that, very simple tools used for loosening the soil. It consisted of a stone head lashed to a wooden handle. They were, however, “tools” and made the task of digging easier. The development of our modern tools began from these ancient beginnings.

Catalogs and garden stores stock many different sorts of tools. They have selective uses. The focus will be mainly on the common ones you might use for your requirements, be it a small backyard garden or a truck garden used to supply vegetables for a whole household.

Basic Garden Tools

The basic tools needed for the small garden are a hoe, shovel, and a rake. There are a variety of choices in each of these tools. Try them out at the store get the “feel” of them. They will need to fit you or you will not use them. What may be good for one person may not feel right to another.

Spading Fork
This tool handles an abundance of jobs in the garden. Breaking and turning dense soils and turning compost is a valuable use for the spading fork. The tines in the cheaper brands tend to bend with heavy work. In this instance it would be more desirable to purchase a more expensive, better-constructed fork. In the long run the increased cost would pay off in longevity.

Garden Hoe
The hoe called the square-headed hoe is one of the more common ones used in gardens today. It has a long handle, the blade is flat and is set at a right angle. This is useful for most garden tasks such as weeding or loosening soil. The pointed hoe is useful for cultivating between rows and loosening soil.

Round Point Shovel
Moving dirt from one place to another and digging or scooping makes this particular shovel one of the most popular. A smaller version of the same is called the “garden shovel”. It has a shorter handle and is lighter in weight and is useful for a small person who is not very strong.

Spades
The digging spade has flatter blades than other shovels and does not curve up at the edges. This tool is important for digging deeply and for excavations that require straight edges. Keeping a sharp edge will make your chores much easier. These can be purchased with wooden handles that are replaceable or steel handles.

Bow Rake
The head of this rake can be up to 24 inches wide. It is connected to the handle by steel “bows”, one on each side of the head. Its construction makes it strong enough to work with thick and heavy materials. Rakes are used for leveling and creating furrows.

Cultivator
Consists of curved pointed tines and is used for chopping and pulling in order to remove rooted weeds and break up the hardened ground around plants.

Maintaining your tools
1. Fill a bucket with sand and add a little motor oil. Pushing the shovel down into the sand both cleans and lubricates.
2. After each use wipe all metal parts with an oily rag.
3. Wash your tools after using, especially if moist soil has clung to the tool. Use a mild soap and water. Avoid using sharp instruments to scrape the mud from your tool. Instead use a wire brush.
4. Never put your tools away wet; they may rust.
5. Hang your tools. This avoids damaging the edges.

Enjoy your gardening! Remember everyone has to start somewhere. You will learn progressively more about specific tools simply by experience.