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Food Forest Tool Starter Pack: Tools You Need to Start & Maintain Your Food Garden

Caitlin Espejo

Author

Are you interested in growing your very own food forest right in your backyard (or front yard in our case) and you don’t know where to start? We’re here to help you with that. In this blog, we will tell you what tools we use to work in our food forest at the Grow Inn Homes Headquarters and within our multifamily rental portfolio. 

Growing a range of edible plants in a productive and sustainable manner while simulating the composition and operations of a real forest ecosystem is possible by establishing a food forest. You’ll need a few basic supplies and tools to get your food forest started and maintained. The following are some of the tools we use in our edible landscaping systems:

 

Lopper

A lopper is a tool with long handles and two sharp blades. It is designed for cutting and pruning branches and twigs that are a bit higher. We use them for chop and drop purposes. They are also ideal to use when cutting and shaping the branches of trees, shrubs, and hedges.

Rake

Rakes are an indispensable and multipurpose gardening implement that are mainly used for landscaping and garden bed maintenance. It is commonly used to collect fallen leaves, grass clippings or other debris. It can also be used in soil preparation and spreading mulch or compost as well as grading and leveling the ground to make it smooth.
Rakes are available in several designs, each suited for a particular activity, such as garden rakes, leaf rakes, and landscape rakes. Which rake is best for you will depend on the particular landscaping or gardening work you need to complete.

Pointed Shovel

Digging, moving, and handling dirt, plants, and other materials in a garden are the main uses of a shovel, which is a multifunctional and necessary gardening equipment. It is commonly used to dig holes for plants, trees, flowers, shrubs, and much more. It is also used to remove weeds with deep roots that may be stubborn. Here at Grow Inn Homes, we use it to take out yucca, remove bigger banana pups, prep before planting, and more.

Trench shovel

This kind of shovel, sometimes referred to as a trenching or drain spade, is made specifically for activities involving trench excavation and tight places. It is used to dig narrow and deep trenches. We use it to take out smaller pups.

Hand Saw

In the garden, a hand saw can be a useful instrument for cutting through woody plant material such as branches and stems. It is also used for pruning trees and shrubs, removing dead and diseased branches, or cutting large or overgrown branches.

Rice Cutter

A rice cutter was created as a tool used for harvesting rice crops. It is sometimes referred to as a rice knife or rice sickle. Although it is not frequently utilized in conventional gardens, it can provide a particular function. It’s a more manual way to prune clumping grasses if you don’t have access to power tools. We use it mainly to prune bananas. Side note: it’s important to keep your bananas clean. We’ll link a video here showing you the rice cutter in action:

DeWalt Hedge Trimmer

Like other hedge trimmers, a DeWalt trimmer is useful for gardening tasks involving trimming of clumping grasses and thinner branches. We take all the freshly trimmed yard debris (chop) and drop it around our bananas and fruit trees.

Machete

A machete is a multipurpose gardening tool that is quite useful. It can be used to clear tall grass, weeds, and underbrush as well as help to prepare a space for planting and creating pathways through our food forest. This is another tool that can be used for pruning and trimming due to its sharp blade. It is also used for harvesting bananas, sugarcane, and coconuts.

Pruners

Pruners, sometimes referred to as secateurs or pruning shears, are crucial gardening hand tools used mostly for cutting and trimming plants. They are made for precise cutting and have different varieties, each appropriate for a particular need. It is used to selectively remove branches, stems, or growths that may form on the plants. It can also be used to shape and train plants into your desired form. Pruners are useful tools for removing unhealthy or damaged branches, which help to promote the growth of healthy tissue and stop the spread of disease. We use them on our younger fruit trees to help establish a good shape.

Garden Gloves

Garden gloves are essential when planting. They serve to protect your hands from various elements such as thorns, splinters, and prickly plants, insect bites, stings, and much more. Wearing gloves can shield your hands from cuts, scrapes, and abrasions that can happen when working with rough or abrasive objects like wood, pebbles, or gardening tools. It also keeps your hands clean and free from dirt, mud, and plant sap which makes it easier to clean after you’ve finished working on your food forest. Wearing gloves helps lessen pressure and friction on your hands, reducing the risk of calluses and blisters, particularly while performing repetitive or extended gripping jobs. Some of these gloves have textured palms that can help improve your grip on tools that make it easier to handle.
Garden gloves are optional as some people prefer to work without the use of gloves and be one with the earth. It is all a personal preference.

Safety Glasses/Sunglasses

These are useful to protect your eyes from flying debris like branches, mulch, dirt, grass blades, and more. From experience: we’ve had things clank off our safety/sunglasses that otherwise would have hit our eyes.

These are the tools we use at our Grow Inn Homes Headquarters. Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see us in action with some of the tools mentioned above.

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