Years before moving to my farm home, I had visions of living on a farm and using a tractor to plow fields, breaking up lumps of dirt, then using a rake attachment for the tractor to rake out all the grass and weeds.....all these visions came from watching too much TV!
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Then the enevititable happened. I bought the farm, moved there, bought a tractor with all of the attachments, went to work as I envisioned, and grew a dismal crop of tomatoes that were left to rot because the weeds grew up to high. I wondered what I was doing wrong?
Then, I read some articles on how to grow crops from the Mother Earth News web site. One smart farm suggested NOT to breakup all the soil in the garden. Just breakup enough around the immediate area where your plant is going to be. Cut the grass down low in the other areas, and mulch it down good.
So, back to square one. I am now planting a small crop in my newly fenced in apple orchard. The tool I used to break up the ground this time was nothing more than the Garden Weasel Claw tool. It works great! I simple locate the area I want to put a plant in, press the tool down hard into the soil, and give it a firm twist. The soil breaks up as easy as crushing corn flakes! (Ah, that is, DRY Corn Flakes).
This is such a simple tool, I am surprised I have only recently heard about it. The tool is designed to have heavy metal spikes sift through the soil at a particular angle seemingly calculated for maximum thrust. It is not difficult at all to use even in heavily compacted soils and soils with rocks in them. Everything comes right up!
The tool is constructed of four steel blades attached to a wooden handle with a T bar mounted on top to use to twist with. It breakes up soil in a radius of about eight inches. Once the soil is broken up, you can use a shovel to dig up the soil.
The article I read mentioned not to till all of the soil. It went on to state that there are hundreds of seeds embedded in garden soil just waiting to be loosened up to grow weeds, or whatever plant shed its seed there. By tilling too much soil, you allow air and moisture to reach areas of soil where you would rather not let plants grow (i.e., weeds). By focusing the grow area to the spot specifically where plants will grow, you increase your odds of having healthier plants and allowing nutrients to only get into the soil where you want it to get in.
The jury is still out. So far, so good. My tomatoe plants look fabulous! I just finished staking them up and some have little baby tomatoes already! Yippie! If only I can keep the ground hogs away!
I purchased this tool at Walmart in the garden area. It cost less than $20. I have also used the tool to easily pick out dreaded Autumn Olive bushes that are growing wild in the orchard. I simply put the tool over the small bush and the soil around the roots break up, and I plop out the bush with the roots in tact. Then, I stomp down the soil good to compact it. Makes doing this chore a bit fun!
I would highly recommend this tool to any gardener. It is light weight, inexpensive, and easy to use. I store it in my garden shed when not in use. Now if it could only keep those ground hogs away! Thanks for reading my review and best wishes for a wonderful day!