cedar creek vineyards.

We had so much fun this past weekend at WILDfest at the beautiful Cedar Creek Vineyards. Jesse taught a class on homemade wine, and the day was filled with many other foraging and fermenting workshops, including the amazing Doug Elliot and Sandor Katz. We met lots of wonderful folks, exchanged seeds, and basically felt guilty for spending a gorgeous, sunny day off the farm.

cedar creek vineyards. cedar creek vineyards. wildfest.wildfest. sandor. wildfest.wildfest.


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johnnys hoe.

Since we pretty much only use hand tools in our garden (plowing with a broad fork and grubbing hoe and cultivating/weeding either by hand or hoes), our tools are very important to us. Over the last few years, we’ve bought a few tools from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, but none that we’ve enjoyed more than our latest purchase: the 3 3/4″ fixed-blade collinear hoe. Our soil is tough and rocky at times so having a fixed-blade collinear hoe is a necessity for us. We also own a 7″ “replaceable blade” collinear hoe from Johnny’s that we beat the fire out of in our soil. That replaceable blade collinear is a hoe I would recommend for softer, cleaner soils than we can accomplish here in Bugtussle. For everything else, go with the fixed blade.

It should be said that although I would not necessarily recommend the 3 3/4″ hoe for extensive cultivation as, well, the blade is small and you will wear yourself out. It’s great, however, for precision cultivation, getting between carrots and beets, cut lettuce and arugula. In other words, this is an ideal spring and fall and small garden hoe, when you are not having to get around rows and rows of potato, tomato, or pepper plants. For the bigger jobs, we prefer to employ a larger blade, something 6″ – 8″.

Designed by famed farmer Eliot Coleman, another notable perk to this hoe is the long Maine Ashwood handle coupled with the blade which does not sit perpendicular to the handle like most hoes, but rather at a slight angle. This gives the gardener the unique ability to stand straight up while they cultivate, not only saving one’s back, but a significant amount of energy to boot.

As our farming mentor Eric says, you just can’t beat hand cultivating (as opposed to tractor cultivation) when it comes to effectiveness. And for us, I would say you can’t beat using this 3 3/4″, long-handled, fixed-blade collinear hoe for that hand cultivation.

Sharpen the blade yearly, and make sure to keep the handle treated with linseed oil to extend its life.

- Jesse.

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