I asked today at Concentrates, an excellent garden and farm store in Portland, Oregon, if they know of a tool which I could effectively use under these conditions to plant trees.
One of the staff, who is a farmer and has similar conditions at home, said that he has used the Magna Grecia Hoe and it works for what I want to do.
Here is a video of the hoe in action:
Magna Crecia Hoe in action
I have a big bindweed problem, and this hoe promises to be a huge help in that regard.
The hoe is available at http://scytheworks.ca
I plan to get one and will report on how I like it.
Abundance for All!
*also known as a "pick mattock" it is the kind with a flat blade on one side and a pointy pick on the other.
Abe Connally wrote:how is it different from a pick? Seems like a pick would be better, and a lot stronger.
It is a lot lighter than a pick and having 2 thin prongs seems to get through the soil easier than one big one.
also much easier to break in hard soils...
Katy Whitby-last wrote:It is a lot lighter than a pick and having 2 thin prongs seems to get through the soil easier than one big one.
I will be looking for one of these real soon!
Thanks for posting the link!
It was great for working in tight quarters - in small beds, or near trees/shrubs.
I tried it out and I think it will work for my purposes. A lot of what we are putting in will be in raised beds. Some trees in the rocky clay, but not really all that many.
Thank you for the tip about the design flaw.
I am delighted that some folks find value in this.
The main thing I learned is that when something in the garden is just TOO DIFFICULT, ask, because there is probably a tool that will work just fine and make it doable, if not easy.
Abundance for All!
It is called by some a pick-ax.
good digging tool for rocky soil
Ours has a plastic handle.
Abundance and Peace for All!
Abundance for All!
It is not unlike a broadfork in the job that it does....have planted a few hundred trees this spring and used it to break up the hard pan and loosen the soil before planting.
The handle I have is light and springy and strong and I haven't had a problem yet...I think if you don't use it as a crowbar and maintain a bit of sensitivity towards the tool you'll be fine. It might mean working over an area a bit gradually and taking smaller 'bites'. And getting a crowbar if you need one.
As with anything like this, a nice relaxed loose grip on impact is essential or you will be hard on your wrists and elbows.
be gentle, easy to plug the end with clay, but also easy to work around rocks.
basically it is just brake line flared steel, with a sink trap cleaner on the end, to keep splash down, and a hose shut off in the handle.
Thank you for generously responding to my question.
Have you used one of these?
It seems to me that it would compact the soil a lot, and blast the soil particles together in way that the future tree roots would not like at all.
For that reason, I do not plan, based on what I now know about this tool, to use this for planting trees.
Any thoughts about this?
These come in pretty handy, long handle or short!
How big is the mattock in the picture?
Do they come in other sizes?
I had one a few years back...hit a rock or some concrete, snapped off one of the tines. It still worked until the hickory handle broke.
I've seen similar tools with 1-4 tines, short handle for hand use, long handle for standing use. The big box hardware/home improvement stores might carry standardized versions of the tool, but the local hardware stores might be a good place to look for hard to find tools.
another tool for digging rocky soil
It may have, probably does have, similar potentials and problems to those of the Magna Grecia Hoe.
It does not look as strong.
It is MUCH less expensive. Shipping to Oregon would be about $13.
Thanks for any input
Love you folks
If the ground is rocky, you'll need a tool that will take the punishment.
If the ground is hard, you'll need a tool with some weight to drive into the soil.
A pickaxe would be the thing to use. It takes some effort to use one with rapid results. If you don't have the physique to work one for a long stretch, just use it for a little while. Makes no sense to overdo it. Just do what you can.
Hmmm. The link works for me. I do not know how you could make it work. I am not the greatest techie.
What is a grub hoe?
Our soil is VERY rocky - lots of little (1-2 inches) rocks and some big (4 or more inches) ones.
And hard - it was a dairy farm
I can only put a spade or shovel in about 2 inches.
My partner, who is very strong, needs to use the pickax.
The tool that the link should lead to is lighter weight than the pickax, with a shorter handle, and so probably I could not get enough force behind it and it might break.
I can use the pickax and just would need to not overdo.
A lot of what we will put in will go in raised beds, which need not be dug into the hard rocky level.
I am happy that folks are answering my questions, and to know there are so many cool garden tools.
If the ladies don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
When you get your beds put together, that hand sized mattock is a peach.
Going a little on a tangent, so just skip this, folks, if you just want to know about tools, but discussing an important issue, and to me permaculture encompasses all important life issues, to me what matters most is that men be kind. That really stands out!!! It was a revelation when I saw that the guys who were most closely like what the mainstream media portrays as handsome, were usually the more selfish and thoughtless guys who did not treat women well at all! I was freed from the clutch of my foolish crushes. I was free to look at men's characters and hearts instead of their faces and physiques. And I was much happier.
What does it mean that it says "steward" under your name in your reply to this thread?
> break handle
Handles can be replaced. Also, they can be replaced with a longer one, or you can cut one if you prefer a shorter stick. Tines can be welded back on if you're friendly w/a local welder. Takes about 5 minutes if his shop is set up and ready.
In tools, weight matters, though sometimes it's hard to know whether more or less would be better if you haven't personally used the tool on that type of work. Sometimes it a matter of trying different sized tools until you find one that fits your body and style.
I love you all
We save each other so much time and trouble.
May the whole world follow our lead - SOON!!!