San Diego Floral Association
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Favorite Tool: Chopsticks
Reprinted from: May/June 2010 Volume 101, Number 3
Photo: Rachel Cobb
What item, widely available for free (with purchase of a meal) or very inexpensively (in your local Asian supermarket), is a garden tool with great versatility?
I use mine for a myriad of tasks, and because they’re so handy in the garden, I always ask for them when I get Chinese take-out, even though I’m hopeless at actually conveying food to mouth with them.
I use chopsticks to poke a hole in the soil for seedlings I’m transplanting. They make excellent short stakes for new plants, and you can use a twist-tie to attach the plant stem to the chopstick. If I’m starting seeds, I can use a chopstick dipped in water to pick up small seeds and put them onto the soil and then cover them lightly with soil to the required depth. Want to tuck a small plant into a tight spot? Use the larger end of the chopstick to gently push the roots into place.
Chopsticks make excellent temporary markers for bulbs – I poke one into the soil above a newly-planted bulb so that I can space the next bulb properly. If I can’t complete planting bulbs at one time, the chopstick can stay in the ground so I can easily pick up where I left off. Being a light-colored wood, they’re easier to spot than a tree twig, which could also be used for this purpose.
Since they’re free – or nearly so – they’re also great disposable stirring sticks when mixing up any kind of garden concoction. Being wood, they’re generally non-reactive to chemicals, too. Use a #2 pencil or a marking pen to draw lines 1-inch apart and you have a cheap ruler for measuring planting depth or spacing lettuce seedlings the correct distance from each other. –Susi Torre-Bueno, president of the San Diego Horticultural Society
Photo: Rachel Cobb
Mission: To promote the knowledge and appreciation of horticulture and floriculture in the San Diego region.