slow garden tool for slow gardener

I was running late. It was nearly 9am. But I hadn't once been in the garden all day. Then I noticed there were some veggie peelings in the compost bin in the kitchen...

Walking along the path to the compost heap I noticed a weed. Not just any weed, but the supremely efficient and clever oxalis with its multiple bulbs and bulblets loosely attached to the roots, just hoping you'll pull on the leaves aboveground so they can drop off and start new lives separate from their parent plant.

I didn't really have time to walk to the shed and get the tool I usually use to carefully prise the earth away so weeds can be lifted holus bolus. I looked around and saw lots of mulch consisting of partially decomposed leaves and twigs.

That was my ah-ha moment when I became a garden tool forager, no longer mindlessly dependent on the commercial garden tool industry!

I picked up a stick and used it as a digging stick, just as countless Australian Aborigines and other people in the world have done for centuries.  And it worked. That particular specimen was removed successfully, with none of its smartypants bulblets left to continue the battle for survival of their species.

painted digging stick...
 bought on a visit to Finke Aboriginal Community in the Northern Territory. 
Finke Aboriginal Community is also known as Atapula.
one of my digging sticks


  1. Great idea - I love the practical with the symbol in your lovely garden.

  2. Well done, Catmint! So many times I've been in the same situation: the thing you need isn't in reach, so you adapt. We're all inventors, not just consumers.

  3. My oxalis is springing back nicely now. It's such a wonderful and pretty plant. Next time I pick up a strong stick, I would be reminded of the pics here... it's a good way to paint and use as a garden tool.

  4. I think we must all have used digging sticks at one time or another to either dig things out or maybe to pop a bulb back in that has come to the surface. Well done for getting all your bulbils out with your stick. Love the Aboriginal sticks, they are real works of art.

  5. Oh cat, I have to be honest, your stick doesn't have a look in.

  6. We have so much Oxalis in our garden, I'm grateful I'm not trying to remove it. But as soon as the weather turned warmer, the leaves shrizzled up and went to rest until next autumn's rain.

  7. The basic ones usually more friendly and durable to use than the advanced tools sell in the shop. Like that digging sticks!

  8. Your opening remark of this post indicated that you are usually out in the garden before 9:00 a.m. and that totally put me to shame. Frankly, I don’t remember the last time I was in the front or back yard before 10:00 a.m.

    Then you were speaking about using twigs and sticks and a few of your other commenting visitors confessed to occasionally doing the same. Well, I’m not one of them. However, I have been known to dig in with my bear fingers when more appropriate tools are not conveniently accessible at the spur of the moment.

  9. The Old ways are the best ways but did you defeat the oxalis?

  10. Dear Hermes, thanks for the visit and comment.

    Dear Faisal, so good to share our adapting thoughts and feelings ...

    Hi Steph, it sounds as if oxalis isn't the dreadful weed in Malaysia that it is here in Australia.

    Dear Pauline, yes I do love that Aboriginal digging stick - there is just one, I photographed it from different angles.

    Dear Alastair, I suppose you may be right. I thought it was wonderful but it is just possible I was so emotionally involved that I was a tad subjective.

    Hi Diana, yes! and it was free!

    Dear Wendy, thanks for the visit and comment.

    Dear Hanna, I'm not always a morning person and I've also used fingers but I find the stick more reliable.

    Dear Catherine, I managed to defeat this oxalis plant but I think it was a battle won not the war.

    cheers, catmint

  11. Plants provide so many things for us! This year I used a stick to prop up a rhododendron and get it off the ground, and I also used a stick to space two branches on a Japanese Maple. I like working with what's around me. Another way to say it is, I'm lazy!

  12. Hi Elaine - let's not say we're lazy - just unmotivated??????? cheers, catmint


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