I’m constantly on the lookout for new gardening gadgets and farming tools to help me on my mission to work smarter, not harder here at Daisywild. While flower farming is never easy—especially here in upstate NY, damn you clay soils!—a great tool makes the work more enjoyable and lets you feel in control of the weeds, plants and dirt.
We’re in the midst of transplanting late-season flowers and maintaining the beds already growing, so all of my tools have been hard at work lately. Some have stood up to the test of this strenuous season, but many others have not. I want to share our absolute favorite tools for flower farming or flower gardening with you, so that you can have an easier go of it in your garden as well!
Here are the tools we’ve been using most often at the farm this spring:
A hori hori knife is a Japanese digging knife (“hori” means “to dig” in Japanese) that serves as a killer multi-purpose tool in the garden. The serrated edge allows you to rip through tough roots as you prepare a bed or weed, while the pointed end and narrow shape make it excellent for digging holes and troughs to plant into. I use mine on a daily basis at Daisywild and own several.
I love love love this digging shovel from Radius Garden. It’s a new addition to my tool lineup this season. I bought it after having a momentary freak out about how difficult preparing a new bed is for transplanting—and wow has it made a difference. It’s super excellent at removing sod, difficult weeds (looking at you dandelions), and the circular handle makes it a little more ergonomic than your average shovel. Plus, it’s heavy and seems solidly made. It’s sold out on their website right now, but I bought mine at Samascott Garden Market in Kinderhook for about $20 cheaper than it is on Amazon. It’s worth the trip.
I’ve tried so many weeding tools over the years and I almost always abandon them. But after struggling with carpal tunnel and hand cramps from gardening and designing, I’ve been trying some new weeders lately and this one takes the cake by far. It’s a lot more robust than it looks in the photo, and really lets you get close to the seedlings without disturbing their roots. It takes out small weeds and does a pretty stellar job at the bigger ones as well. It’ll be in my lineup all year. (If your weeds are a little larger than this guy can tackle, check out my second favorite weeding tool—the Ho-Mi EZ Digger.)
I have a love-hate relationship with my digging fork. Bed prep is my number one least favorite thing to do on the farm, yet I’m constantly doing it and my digging fork is by my side the entire time. The difference between a digging fork and a pitchfork is that a digging fork has heavier tines, which are straight, while a pitchfork’s tines are curved for scooping up hay and manure. Whenever I come across a rock tightly embedded in the soil (which is basically every three seconds—again, damn you upstate NY clay soil!), I bust out my digging fork and make quick work of dislodging it. It’s pretty satisfying to pry huge rocks from the ground as well!
5. Clips, Snips & Shears
I can’t post about my favorite tools without mentioning the myriad clips, snips & shears I use on a daily basis at the flower farm and in my floral design work. I have a collection of snips that seems to grow by the second since I can’t resist a good pair of floral shears. I have three basic favorites that I return to often. First up—my beloved Felco 6 Pruning Shears. These bypass pruners are truly the best in the business at cutting larger branches, thick stems, and for cutting multiple flowers at once. I use them daily for landscaping and to cut Daisywild bouquets down to length for our Capital Region flower subscriptions. A second snip style I use nearly every day are my micro-tip pruners. I have both the Gonicc Professionals and the ARS Needlenose Fruit Pruners. They’re both excellent for harvesting flowers and for cutting individual stems in design work. Lastly, the floral scissors I use most often for design work and wreath-making are the Sakagen F-170. They’re super sharp, cute as heck, and great for detailed cutting. Obviously I own the pink pair.
Anyone else geek out over gardening gadgets and flower farming tools? Do you have a favorite you like to use in your garden here in the Capital Region? Please let us know! Respond to this email with your favorite or post on Instagram with the #daisywildtools hashtag.