Implements





When herbs are grown upon a commercial scale the implements needed will

be the same as for general trucking--plows, harrows, weeder, etc.--to

fit the soil for the hand tools. Much labor can be saved by using

hand-wheel drills, cultivators, weeders and the other tools that have

become so wonderfully popular within the past decade or two. Some

typical kinds are shown in these pages. These implements are

indispensable in keeping the surface soil loose and free from weeds,

especially between the rows and even fairly close to the plants. In

doing this they save an immense amount of labor and time, since they can

be used with both hands and the muscles of the body with less exertion

than the hoe and the rake require.



Nothing, however, can take the place of the hand tools for getting among

and around the plants. The work that weeding entails is tiresome, but

must be done if success is to crown ones efforts. While the plants are

little some of the weeders may be used. Those with a blade or a series

of blades are adapted for cutting weeds off close to the surface; those

with prongs are useful only for making the soil loose closer to the

plants than the rake dare be run by the average man. Hoes of various

types are useful when the plants become somewhat larger or when one does

not have the wheel cultivators. In all well-regulated gardens there

should be a little liberal selection of the various wheel and hand

tools.



Only one of the hand tools demands any special comment. Many gardeners

like to use a dibble for transplanting. With this tool it is so easy to

make a hole, and to press the soil against the plant dropped in that

hole! But I believe that many of the failures in transplanting result

from the improper use of this tool. Unless the dibble be properly

operated the plant may be left suspended in a hole, the sides of which

are more or less hard and impervious to the tiny, tender rootlets that

strive to penetrate them. From my own observation of the use of this

tool, I believe that the proper place for the dibble in the novices

garden is in the attic, side by side with the "unloaded" shotgun, where

it may be viewed with apprehension.



In spite of this warning, if anyone is hardy enough to use a dibble, let

him choose the flat style, not the round one. The proper way is to

thrust the tool straight down, at right angles to the direction of the

row, and press the soil back and forth with the flat side of the blade

until a hole, say 2 or 3 inches across and 5 or 6 inches deep, has been

formed. In the hole the plantlet should then be suspended so all the

roots and a little of the stem beneath the surface will be covered when

the soil is replaced. Replacing the soil is the important part of the

operation. The dibble must now be thrust in the soil again, parallel and

close to the hole, and the soil pushed over so the hole will be

completely closed from bottom to top. Firming the soil completes the

operation.



There is much less danger of leaving a hole with the flat than with the

round dibble, which is almost sure to leave a hole beneath the plant. I

remember having trouble with some lily plants which were not thriving.

Supposing that insects were at the roots, I carefully drew the earth

away from one side, and found that the earth had not been brought up

carefully beneath the bulbs and that the roots were hanging 4 or 5

inches beneath the bulbs in the hole left by the dibble and not properly

closed by the careless gardener.



I therefore warn every dibble user to be sure to crowd over the soil

well, especially at the lower end of the hole. For my own part, I rely

upon my hands. Digits existed long before dibbles and they are much more

reliable. What matter if some soil sticks to them; it is not

unresponsive to the wooing of water!





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