I've seen some interesting claims regarding copper tools applied to horticulture i.e. trace minerals that get left in the soil that stimulate plant growth etc.
I'm an avid grower of all things and was wondering if anyone here had ever used copper tools in their own efforts at growing.
Copper tools are quite expensive and it would help me a lot if anyone could give me advice as to the efficacy of these tools and if it is actually worth sourcing.
Copper is expensive and soft, making for tools that bend and dull easily.
If you want copper benefits on your tools, you could get scrap electrical wire, electricians always have short cutoffs, and wrap them around your existing tools. As close to the working end as you can without getting in the way.
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Copper is anti-microbial to surface contact. Generally too much copper will cause living cells to die. Electron transfer is the the main mechanism that drives biological processes. The cells die not because they are "poisoned", but because the high concentrations of copper conduct electrons so well they literally drain the energy from biological processes by conductivity. Its a great way to keep bacteria out of a water supply, or moss from growing on your roof, but not really good at growing plants in the concentrations a copper tool would provide. (Elemental copper, as opposed to copper sulfide)
This is a form of the "Supplement" argument for nutrition. If you need to take a supplement to be healthy, it is "better" to fix your nutrition.
If there is something that make claims about the benefits of copper or magnets, its best to stay away.
I have 'copper' tools but actually they are bronze and the only company I know that makes bronze tools are PKS so I will talk about my experience with their tools. I really wish I didn't like them as they are crazy expensive but they are all I use in my gardening job now.
This could be due to the craftsmanship rather than the material but they do cut heavy clay vastly better than any other high quality steel tools I have used. There have been situations where a boring tiring slog using the steel spade was barely any effort by comparison using the bronze and I am not the only person that has noticed this. They are light which makes working less tiring and are obviously corrosion resistant which is handy if you are prone to forgetfullness like me.
They don't kill slugs without some lethal force! Some people suggest they discourage slugs over time and although I have less slugs now than when I arrived here I can't really say it was the tools.
Can't really comment on wether they help things grow better or not. Personally I think there are too many more important variables outside of this issue to get a clear result anyway.
So many reply, much wow!
I thank everyone for the input.
I did however phrase it incorrectly, as Henry Jabel pointed out, the tools are actually a copper and tin mix(still +-90% copper) but that would make them bronze.
So even though I can see how 100% copper tools would be quite silly, I wonder if the the liberation of copper particles wouldn't be waaay less than expected because of the tensile strength the tin adds, thus stopping the copper from being present in the soil in such quantities that it actually starts affecting soil organisms negatively.
Anyway, I think this is an interesting subject, even though it might not make the biggest difference in the bigger scheme of things.
Also, less backache has always been a good thing in my book!
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Tomatoes! Ha! Anyone can grow that. Amaze your neighbors, grow your own shirt!