When it comes to market farming and gardening, there’s no shortage of tools to pick from.
And if you’re a tool geek like we are, you’re always searching for just the right thing to make your work easier and more efficient.
We’ve tried out many tools in our years of growing, and these are the ones that earn their keep.
The Best Tools For Organic Market Farmers & Gardeners:
This is hands-down the most used tool on our farm. The only time we tilled our field was the very first year when we turned it from pasture to cropland. Since then, it’s been all about the broadfork.
Broadforks aerate the soil without inverting the layers. This loosens the soil while keeping the structure intact.
While our soil isn’t clay, it tends to the heavier side, and after breaking a few broadforks the first year we finally found Meadow Creature. The. Most. Amazing. Broadfork.
Seriously. Meadow Creature has revolutionized broadforks to make them sturdier and stronger, and they come with a lifetime guarantee. They don’t even know that I’m writing this—I just love them so much, and when anyone asks what kind of broadfork to get, I practically yell Meadow Creature. We have 3.
If I could only have one hoe, this would be it. The stirrup hoe has a moveable stirrup on the end of it, and it weeds in two directions. I love this tool for mid-sized weeds that are too big for a lighter hoe, but don’t require hand-weeding. I also love it for the rhythm of pushing back and forth, and how that simple movement makes weeding so much faster.
This is Edge’s favorite hoe. It’s ideal for tiny weeds that have just germinated, which may be why he loves it—if you only ever have to use a collinear hoe, it means you are very on top of your weed management.
This hoe is designed to be ergonomic, and allows the user to stand straight rather than bending over, another reason Edge loves it.
I was skeptical of this one—it seems so dainty compared to the stirrup hoe. But farming and gardening teaches me over and over that strength and resilience often lie beneath seemingly dainty things. And that not everything needs the disruption of a stirrup hoe.
It’s narrow enough to fit between closely planted rows, and can easily cultivate a bed of lettuce mix before the crop is big enough to shade out weeds.
30” Bed Prep Rake
This rake is the same width as our beds, making it easy to ensure the beds are consistent the entire length. It’s perfect for raking out compost and giving you an even, level bed before direct seeding.
These all-purpose shears do more than prune tomatoes. They’re also great for harvesting kale, chard, peppers, kohlrabi, herbs, and trimming roots on bunching onions. We pretty much always have a pair of these in our pockets, which leads to them being the most lost and found tool on our farm. (Lesson: train yourself to put things back where they belong, rather than just taking tools out of your pocket in the kitchen or car or office or…you get the picture).
Victorinox Serrated Knife
This little knife is mighty sharp. A great all-around harvest knife, and especially suited for harvesting greens.
Stainless Steel Produce Knife
My other favorite harvest knife, this one is great for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and more. Before we got the Victorinox serrated knife, this stainless steel produce knife was our go-to lettuce and greens harvester.
Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener
Knives dull. Dull knives slow down the harvest. We carry this sharpener around in our pockets to ensure we can quickly sharpen in the field without losing time walking back and forth to hone blades during harvest days.
Quick-Cut Greens Harvester
If you really want to cut loads of salad greens in minutes, invest in a quick-cut greens harvester. This revolutionized our greens production, and made it feasible for us to sell wholesale mesclun mix. The quick-cut greens harvester is a must-have tool for market farmers harvesting and selling more than 100 lbs of greens a week.
What tools could you simply not live without? Let me know in the comments below.