I just love the Fiskars company! They continue to apply their superb tool-design skills and bring us improvements to classic garden equipment. This time, they’ve hit a home run with their dual-handled Easy-Pour Watering Can. Every garden needs at least one watering can, but when a large traditional can is full, it can be a challenge to balance it while watering. Fiskars has solved this drawback by giving us a can with a traditional handle, plus a second handle that is hinged to allow you to easily tip the spout without wrestling against the weight of the water. And they didn’t stop there. The Fiskars can’s “rose” (the perforated sprinkling attachment at the end of the spout) is adjustable from sprinkling to solid stream, without removing (and potentially losing) the rose. You just turn the rose 180 degrees and it switches from sprinkling to a steady stream. Turn it another 180 and you’re back to sprinkling again. Brilliant work, folks! We look forward to more Fiskars high-quality tools in the future. The Easy Pour holds 2.6 gallons and costs about $20.
High-Quality Tools: A Better Broadfork
Here at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we’re big fans of broadforks for loosening soil before planting, and we’ve tested several models. We found that one heavy-duty design worked OK, but took quite a bit of effort to penetrate hard ground. A shorter-tined version was easier to use but didn’t dig deep enough. We tried a wooden-handled fork, but found the handles weren’t as rigid as we wanted, plus one of the tines bent when we hit roots while digging.
Then, eureka! We found it — the Vashon Broadfork with its sharp, super-rigid, slightly curved 14- or 16-inch tines. This tine design enables the fork to penetrate soil (sort of like how eagle talons work) with less operator effort than any other fork we’ve tried.
The Vashon Broadfork was developed by Bob Powell, whose company, Meadow Creature LLC, also designs and manufactures high-quality hand- and electric-powered tools for small farms and small-scale food processing. (Coming soon are a chicken plucker and cider press!) Part of the proceeds go to community supported agriculture programs and the BURN Design Lab to support the design and manufacture of efficient, non-polluting cookstoves for the developing world.
Vashon Broadforks sell for about $250, tax and shipping included, and come with an iron-clad lifetime replacement guarantee. If this fork breaks, you get a new one.
Both the Fiskars Easy-Pour Watering Can and the Vashon Broadfork are great choices for anyone who enjoys high-quality tools as much as we do.
Cheryl Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a team of editors which produces high quality content that has resulted in MOTHER EARTH NEWS being rated as one North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years. Connect with her on Google+.