Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Vegetable-Gardening Tools

     There is a tool for every labor. Many of these tools are the products of necessity. Others satisfy the inventive fancy of the American. Foreign writers wonder at the variety of tools pictured in our rural books, but the number of tools which are in actual use far exceeds those which are described in books. To an important degree it is true that the successful American farmer is known by the number and variety of his tools. The man who has many useful implements emphasizes brain above brawn. He is tactful and resourceful. He means to be master of the situation. He is to accomplish the given result with the least expenditure of mere physical energy. He will do his work better and more expeditiously than the man who depends on his hands and his muscles. Good tools educate the man. Their use cultivates ingenuity. They teach him to think.
     On the other hand, the man who is rich in agricultural implements has less intimate contact with his plants than the hand-worker has. The machine is between him and the plant. He depreciates the value of painstaking human care in the growing and the training of the plant.
     In selecting a tool, the buyer should know (a) what labor is to be performed, (b) what implement will best perform it. Many farmers buy a tool because it is perfect as a mechanism or merely because it is an improvement on what they already have. This is well; but it should be borne in mind, after all, that the tool is not the first consideration,—it is not the unit. The unit is the work to be done or the condition to be attained. A farmer may not ask, therefore, whether he shall buy a spading-harrow: he should consider his soil and what he wants to do with it, and then search for the tool which will do the work best. -L.H. Bailey, The Principles of Vegetable Gardening

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