Who knew a post hole digger could be so useful! Sometimes – the simplest of tools can make all the difference.

Post Hole Digger
Old But Good. I still like using my dad’s old post hole digger at planting time

When it comes to planting our vegetable garden, for us – it’s the Post Hole Digger!

Whether you have raised beds, raised rows or a traditionally tilled garden – getting your plants off to a good start can make for smiling faces come harvest time!  That includes the entire process of creating proper planting holes as you prepare to plant all of your seedlings into the garden.

The key is to make sure the area right around your new plantings is loose, friable – and teeming with nutrients to feed your plants through the growing season. (See: 5 Ways To Use Compost)

If it’s too hard and rocky or of poor quality – the roots of young plants will have a hard time expanding – as will the plants themselves!

How We Plant – The Post Hole Digger Method…

post hole digger
One full shovel is about 8″ deep and 5″ inches round

Once we have mapped out the garden and spacing for plants –  we simply go along and cut out perfect unified planting holes with the post hole digger – digging down one complete spade full  (about 8 to 10” on the typical post hole digger) for each hole.  It’s as easy as dropping the blade, closing the handles – and then lifting out the dirt.  In one fatal swoop – we have removed enough soil to create the perfect planting hole.

The wider hole left behind from a post hole digger is perfect for adding in compost and organic matter to the garden soil – and allows for loose soil to let roots expand easily during the first few weeks of their outdoor life.  A good root system is the key to healthy plants!   (See: How To Grow Amazing Tomatoes)

The depth of the hole allows us to bury plants like our tomatoes and peppers a little deeper into the soil  (we like to plant down to the first two leaves) – allowing for great root structure to develop.

It’s also easy on the back – you can dig all of your holes while standing up – which is a far cry better than bending and stooping over the soil with that little hand trowel or spade! It also eliminates trying to create a manageable hole with one of those big spade shovels!

As for time – we can usually have  the 100 or so planting holes for all of our tomato and pepper plants dug in 15 to 20 minutes!

post hole digger
Filling in around the plant with loose soil

As an additional benefit, unlike a traditional shovel or spade – you are simply lifting out a section of the soil without compacting any of the soil below  – making it even easier for those roots to expand.

So this year –  when it comes to planting – put away that little trowel shovel and grab a post hole digger.  It will make perfect planting holes in record time – save on your back – and get your plants off to a great start!

Oh, and as a little extra tip – we mix a few tablespoons of coffee grounds and a few crushed egg shells in every planting hole. It adds a bit of calcium and nitrogen to the soil as they break down – helping to feed your plants.

Happy Gardening – Mary and Jim

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