I love gardening. This year, my garden has scaled up from several boxes to a huge 1/8 of an acre area. Weeding these 38′ to 50′ rows is a never ending battle, and it takes a lot of strength to make it all happen. When my garden scaled up, so did the aches and pains after a long day in the sun keeping it in tip top condition. I wanted to share the tools that I’ve been using that help me reduce the strain to my body, and when I do go a little too far, the tools that help my recovery too.
3 Tools Worth Their Weight in Gold
We are picky about our tools around our homestead. Good tools are truly worth the investment. Think about how much time you spend when your tool isn’t quite the right one for the job – it can be hours that add up just one day at a time. We’ve tried a lot of tools this season to ensure we have the right ones in our arsenal. When you use them as much as we do, it makes a difference.
3 Budget-Friendly Tools for Anyone with a Garden
The stirrup hoe is great for cleaning up weeds with little to no effort. Ours is a larger version so it doesn’t always fit between plants as well as we would like. We use it for pathways, sides of gardens or for bed preparation. The thin blade slices weeds in either direction, with a simple motion, no bending required! It works well against any weeds – even bigger ones up to 3″.
In despair last year with my larger garden, I spoke to a favourite aunt to ask her how she kept hers up. Her answer was to send me a loop hoe from the Lee Valley catalogue. Best gift ever. This versatile little hoe fits perfectly in between spaces between the seedlings, and allows you to knock little weeds (think just starting) down before they become a nuisance. Since my first loop hoe, I bought another this year. These are so easy to use that even my 5-year-old can do it, in a simple sweeping motion. These are incredibly lightweight but have become a basic in my tool shed.
I think we forget the importance of harvesting our crops properly. After putting all that effort into it, we quickly grab or hack away at our prized plants trying to get to the bounty. This year, I invested in a lettuce knife and I use an old kitchen knife to be able to harvest our bounty. The lettuce knife has been a game changer for everything from cabbage to baby bok choy.
What I Keep On Hand for When I Over Do It
I will fully admit an anti-inflammatory amongst these other items mentioned are what I use to help me control the pain my body is in after much of this physical work. As I type this, I have 3 calluses on each hand, and still have dirt embedded in both of my pointer fingers that I can’t seem to scrub off no matter what I do.
Arnicare Gel for Stiff Shoulders
My right shoulder has been taking a pounding this season as it’s what I use to pick as well as pull weeds. I have been coating it in Arnicare Gel nightly. Arnicare Gel is made from 100% naturally sourced medicinal ingredients including Arnica montana. Free of parabens, perfumes, and other nasties, I feel good about applying it liberally. It has a cooling effect on the painful joint. If I’m really lucky, my husband will massage out this stiff little knotted shoulder!
Dapis Gel for Insect Bites
The mosquitoes have been out in full force too. I have tried hard to make sure I’m wearing some form of bug repellent (spray or fan), but those buggers seem to eat my legs up no matter what I do. My (clearly well used) tube of Dapis Gel is great to dab on. In my case, I coat both legs in it and it helps relive the itch and help those bites heal quickly.
Sabalia for Seasonal & Environmental Allergies
More recently, allergy season has kicked up again. We have started to take Sabalia to help relieve those environmental allergies caused by the pollen flowing through the fields. It is non-drowsy, and has to be remembered to be taken every 6 hours.
What’s in your tool kit for keeping healthy during gardening season?
a passionate recreation coordinator by day, crazy farm mama of two by night. i live outdoors: growing my own food, camping and hiking with my border collie with two active kids in tow. when I’m not writing, I’m experimenting with recipes, and crafts – or anything else that might keep the monkeys entertained.