To some they are eco-capitalists. To others, they are die-hard hippies. The truth might be somewhere in between. Up until the so-called “Green Revolution” of the 1970s, many farmers grew crops as organic market gardeners do today.
Granted, the learning curve couldn’t have been easy. Farmers learned to manage soil nutrients without synthetic fertilizers. They controlled weeds and pest populations without herbicides and insecticides.
Why would any grower today choose to go through such difficulties when easier options are available?
We could say organic market gardeners do it out of concern for the health of consumers. Or we could say they do it because they genuinely care about the environment. Both assumptions can’t be too far-fetched.
However, the simplest – and probably the most accurate – answer would be money, of course. Organic food sales increase by double digits each year in the US.
The annual increases far outstrip the growth rate for the overall food market. The US organic food industry was valued at around $50 billion in 2019 alone.
An Organic Market Gardener’s Toolkit
Now, the sizeable revenue stream might lead you to think that organic gardeners must necessarily use sophisticated, hi-tech tools. The truth – again in this case – is a mixed bag. Some do. Many don’t.
Below are four simple implements you’ll likely find in an organic market gardener’s toolshed.
1. Precision Seeder
Precision seeders allow you to make a much quicker job of sowing seeds in beds. The simple devices use a cog system to automatically distribute seeds at various distances and depths.
You’ll find many precision seeders online. We favor the Earthway Precision Garden Seeder. With this garden seeder, you get seven seed plates for planting 38 types of small and large seeds.
You can use the seeder to plant hemp, sweet corn, beets, peas, radish, and leeks among others. The large seed hopper can hold seeds for a ½ acre garden.
2. Wheel Hoe
The humble wheel hoe has been around for quite a while now. Wheel hoes are tools you push through the rows of your garden to weed, till, cultivate, or plow. They have one or two wheels in front, a tool-mounting area in the middle, and handles in the rear. Depending on the attachment you fasten to it, you can use a wheel hoe for a variety of gardening tasks.
The Hoss Double Wheel Hoe has become one of the most trusted implements in the organic market gardener’s toolshed. This wheeled implement is small enough to maneuver areas that motorized tillers can’t reach.
The extra wheel provides added stability even as the overall design lets you straddle a row when plants are small. This allows you to weed both sides in one pass – a great time-saver for growers with busy schedules.
3. Oscillating Hoe
The oscillating stirrup hoe is among the simplest, most inexpensive – yet effective – weeding tools available to gardeners. Their function makes them doubly important to organic growers, who do not use herbicides on their plots.
We like the Truper Action Hoe for its simplicity and all-around usefulness. Similar in design to a scuffle hoe, this oscillating hoe works on a hinged action. The blade allows you to cut weeds in both a forward and backward direction.
You use the hoe like a broom as you move up a plot. The sharpened blade easily slices through soil and eliminates weeds in its path.
4. Gardener’s Multi-Tool
With so many things to cut, trim, and prune, organic gardeners often need to lug around all sorts of tools. This can be cumbersome and exhausting. The solution? A sturdy and compact multi-tool like the Gentleman’s Hardware 7-in-1 Garden Multi-Tool.
This clever implement is a pruner and accessory toolset designed for the gardener. From clearing small branches from trees to pruning bushes, and weeding, this multi-tool does it all.
This tool contains pruners, a root remover, a knife, a saw, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, and a weeding utensil. When not in use, each tool folds into the wooden handle for easy transport and storage, too.
These days, more and more consumers are eating organic food to reduce the pesticides they consume and protect the environment. If you are one of them, then you know that buying organic can get expensive.
Fortunately, you can always grow your own organic produce – or perhaps even start an organic market garden.
Organic gardening means you won’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Of course, that doesn’t mean your plants will fend for themselves.
You’ll need an array of tools to ensure plant health and ward off pests. The list above can be a good place to start.
But if you’re new to organic gardening, it would be better to start small. Experiment with just a few initial plants in the backyard. Don’t worry if things aren’t perfect right away, too. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough.