Starting a farm need not be a costly enterprise.
I use 9 inexpensive farms tools to manage most tasks at Anarchy Farm.
Granted, conventional farming can be expensive when you have to buy tractors, trailers, harvesters and invest in storage facilities and infrastructure to house your new equipment.
When you work with the land with natural farming or permaculture principles, rather than against it, mono cropping and spraying pesticides, entry costs are low.
When you leave nature to take its course, it regenerates the soil and a little chop and drop here and there speeds up the natural circle of life. A few inexpensive farm tools will help you achieve your aims.
Around 12,000 years ago, our hunter-gather ancestors decided to settle down and try their hand growing crops. The primitive tools they used back then are not to dissimilar then what I use today.
OK, I didn’t have to fashion them from bones, pieces of flint or trees but the technology and functionality isn’t that far removed or advanced.
I farm between 5 and six rai of land across two locations. I should have two sets of farm tools, but most of my tools live in the back of my truck. They are pretty basic, rough and tough and stand up to my use and abuse.
Hand Pruners – Shears – Secateurs
I keep a pair of handy pruners in my pocket. It’s my go to tool for clipping small branches and trimming flowers and shrubs around the farm.
It’s important to have sharp blades to get a clean cut without tearing or damaging the plant. A nice clean cut, the quicker the plant heals and there is less chance of it getting diseased.
Garden Shears – Hedge Clippers
Another essential tool to keep your garden trim and tidy is a quality pair of hedge clippers. It’s worth paying that little extra for a pair so the blades or even the handles don’t twist or blunt.
They are ideal for trimming the grass around the trunks of trees, and tidying up small bushes and hedges.
When branches are a bit too big of a job for the garden shears, a sturdy hand saw is a must. Never break off small branches from your trees as this is inviting disease that could end up killing your tree. Always use a hand saw to get a nice clean cut. Your trees with thank you for a clean break.
A Billhook knife on a 2 foot handle is an essential multi-tasking tool for chop and drop, cutting through long grass or for quickly cutting of errant shoots.
A sturdy hoe is a must in and out of any tool shed. It can be used for digging holes, cutting roots, moving gravel and levelling out small areas of ground.
The hoe is generally a metal plate on a long wooden handle. You’ll only ever replace the handle, the blade will last forever.
Having bough far too many cheap garden trowels. They always bent and broke so I switched to builders trowels. I use the trowels for potting plants in the nursery and making small but shallow holes to plant directly into the ground.
I don’t dig or till the soil on Anarchy Farm but the humble garden fork comes in useful 2 or three times per week to turn the compost pile.
I used to use any available stick to make small holes to plant seeds but recently upgraded and went high tech with a stainless steel dibber. The dibber with its T-handle is farm more durable and ergonomic than a stick.
Post Hole Digger
When digging small radius holes for fence posts there’s no better tool available than a post hole digger.
18 months ago I invested in a second-hand wood chipper. I used it maybe 3 or four times.
Feeding small branches through a woodchipper isn’t much fun. It’s noisy, smelly and only chips branches up to a diameter of a couple of centimetres.
Even though the woodchips it produced were great as mulch on the garden, I found using it wasn’t a not a good use of my time. Now I cut the branches and pile them up in stacks of roughly the same diameter. Then I let old father time and mother nature break them down for me. I’ve got tea to drink and dogs to play with!
The wood chipper is now collecting dust. Lesson learned; keep things simple and don’t over complicate things in the garden. It will only cost you more in the pocket book and steal your time.
What tools do you swear by and can’t live without at your farm or homestead? Let me know in the comments below.
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9 Inexpensive Farm Tools