One of the ways a Food Forest is sustainable is to be able to maintain and manage it with only hand tools.
This is my quiver of tools that I have been using recently.
The mattock (actually an adze) is to remove support species plants that are too close to a fruit tree. The smaller “digging ” tool, as I call it is to remove grasses that have snuck in to the system. The machete is the main tool for chopping off and chopping up of my main carbon plants which at the moment are mugwort and a large basil that I have been calling Tulsi however it may be a different species as it gets to 2 meters tall. The straight blade “bush knife” comes from Vanuatu and I like to use it however it could be heavier to pack more punch. The folding hand saw is not my prefered however I recently broke my favorite one so I’m a bit grumpy about that. This is to prune and trim fruit trees that need a neater precision cut. Not hacked with a machete. The secateurs are to also prune and shape the fruit trees however I also use them to cut back my legumes which can be needing a bit more delicate work than a bush knife. The smaller legumes are short term plants in the system so the longer I can keep them going the more benefit they can be and they are susceptible to disease if roughly cut. The rice knife I use to cut back a legume vine we have and sometimes I use it to cut back the roots just under the soil surface to kill this vine when it is becoming a bit dominant. It is also nice to use to cut out grasses by the roots if the soil is soft enough so that I disturb less soil than if I use the digging tool.
As the Food Forest grows bigger I will need to add a larger hand saw to address larger limbs or even an axe. There are already a few ice cream bean trees Inga edulis that have already gotten to the stage of needing a heavier tool and I have been using a hatchet which didn’t get to have its photo taken.
I hope this was of interest to you. We really enjoy using the hand tools and I am a firm advocate of “using the right tool for the job”. And also have quite strong feelings of “who’s been using My tools”!
catch ya later, Tom
©2016 Tom Kendall; diyfoodandhealth.com, incorporating Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, simplicity, permaculture, self reliance and homesteading, hand tools.