Basic Hand Tools
The good news is that hand tools are generally fairly inexpensive. Even better …. at some point in time, all hand tools come on sale for at least half off. Best of all of course is that all these Father’s Day and holiday and birthday gifts are often recycled through flea markets and yard sales. Keep your eye open for:
- a framing hammer
- screwdriver set
- socket set
- hand saw
- small swede saw
- hand drill
- block plane
- C Clamps
- pliers … large and small
- pipe wrench
- paint brushes
- bolt cutter
Keeping it together
You never know how much you need tape until you don’t have any. Most of this can be found in the dollar store :
- •Duct tape (of course)
- electrical tape
- plumbing tape (that’s the white stuff that doesn’t actually stick 🙂
- wood glue (even if you aren’t planning any carpentry projects, you might need to fix a chair / cupboard, etc
- superglue …. handy if you don’t have a cobbler in the neighbourhood 🙂
- safety tape (that’s the red stuff that doesn’t actually stick either 🙂
- Last but not least, although they are not technically tape, there is no limit to how darned useful bungee cords cords can be.
I’ll be the first to admit that it would be a lot more work to keep everything up without my ride on lawnmower and my trusty 8 hp tiller. That being said, if gas ever became either unaffordable and/ or unavailable, I could still grow a garden. Over the years, I have acquired what I consider to be the essential hand tools that will always work no matter what happens in the world:
1. Five Gallon Plastic Buckets. Yup … you read that right! Why are they at the top of the list? In this yard they see regular use making green teas for fertilizer. They can also do double duty as rain barrels and/ or for hauling water from the pump/ pond/ river / etc, should the need arise. They are also very handy early in the season for protecting frost sensitive bits like tomato plants.
2. Fridge cart (sometimes known as a dolly cart) They can be used to easily move any heavy object(s) efficiently … from firewood to big bags of peat to cement blogs and everything in between.
3. Wheelbarrow. Very useful for mixing anything “loose” that may need to be moved … from planting mix to cement and beyond. Helpful hint … do not buy the monster sized ‘contractor’ models unless you are a twenty nine year old weight lifter
4. Wagon. Very handy for everything under the sun. I actually still have my little red wagon from when I was a kid … but of course since then have supplemented it with a garden wagon from Canadian tire that’s made of the same stuff grates are. Easy to clean with a hose and with removable sides can even move plywood.
5. Shovels. Yes … that’s plural! At the very least, a short spade, at least one long handled spade, a long handled square shovel. Buy the best that you can afford …. the payoff will be that they will be easier on your back.
6. Rakes. At least one fan and one heavy level head rake.
7. A Garden Claw. Even with my tiller, I find it one of the most useful tools I own. Its great for managing perennial beds and it would be essential for anyone who does not have ready access to a tiller.
8. A long handled cultivator …. unless you like bending over and weeding! The short handled versions can be found in every garden center, but I can honestly say that mine are still in mint condition.
9. A good sturdy long handled hoe. If you have to ask, you’re probably better off buying your veggies 🙂
10. String for marking rows. A few years ago I treated myself to a Victorian String Marker .. which is a huge time saver … but grew great gardens for years before that just using string and sticks to lay out a straight line.
11. Pruning saw. Incredibly useful tool for more than pruning … if you have to dig a hole it is excellent for cutting those darned tree roots that sprout up everywhere
12. Pruning shears. Very useful if you need to cut back blackberry bushes for any reason
13. Post hole digger. I actually bought mine to dig holes for planting small trees and perennials … and while I have occasionally used it to dig post holes, its been handy for everything under the sun … and would be very handy if I ever needed to build a pole frame building.
14. Work Gloves. I usually find mine at the dollar store and can promise you that if you need to use any of these hand tools, you will want to wear gloves!
15. Pry bar. Buy the longest one you can afford.
16. Come along …. if you ask anyone in any store selling tools they will be able to tell you what it is 🙂 Basically a hand winch so that very heavy objects can be moved. Every girl should have one … lo
There are other things that are handy to have …. from edgers to broadforks … if a person had those things, if would be possible even for a rookie to grow at lest some of their own food.
Other Useful Essentials
There is no way to plan for everything. That being said, there are some things that just make life easier even in normal times:
•First Aid Kit
•Flashlights, with batteries
•Stove top Coffee pots
•old school hibachis
•Map of the area
•compass … if one knows how to use it 🙂
You get the idea. Close your eyes and imagine a week without power. Think it couldn’t happen? Here in NS, when White Juan hit, a blown down tree on a country road that had been hit by over 100 cm of snow left us without power for six days. With the wood stove … and my Granny’s old stove top coffee pot … we were warm and comfy and well fed throughout 🙂