Let’s face it. Every gardener and farmer worth his or her salt will readily acknowledge that as growers we’re only as good as our tools, which is also why almost every gardener and farmer that I know is also a tool geek/freak. So “Tool Drool” is going to be my occasional subsection of the blog which focuses specifically on some amazing piece of equipment that makes great growing possible. I guess you could say that my post on steel was the first “Tool Drool”, and that simple yet effective piece of steel represents the more basic end of the spectrum. Today’s feature, while not as complicated as, say, a combine harvester, is more complex, both in form and function, but, is it ever a beaut.!
I first encountered this tool under its more poetic name of “Tie ‘Em Up Taper” (the apostrophe alone puts it in a special category along with Li’l Abner, Guns N’ Roses and Bit O’ Honey), though I have since learned that the official name, which suffers from beaureaucratic poverty of imagination, is the Duratool Tapertool. Here is the tool from a functional viewpoint:
It consists of a spool of stretchy, green vinyl tape fed across a gaping jaw and held in position by a hooked tooth. The tool is held in one hand and used to quickly fasten a tomato vine (or cucumber vine, or dahlia stem…you get the idea) to a stake, and I do mean quick, as in one second of your precious garden time. Once both stake and vine have been encompassed within the thing’s jaw, firm pressure on the handle makes it close up, staple the tape together and neatly cut it. The tooth pops back into open position, and before the next tie up, all that is required is a half-pressure squeeze, lightly closing the jaw and allowing the tooth to snap closed around the free end of the tape. It then stretches it out over the open jaw as the user relaxes his or her grip, and it’s ready for another go. Here’s a link to a video about how to load the tool and, at the very end, a visual on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT6nLJxK8Ao
Plus you can also order one from the video maker, Grow Organic Products, which is one of my go-to suppliers for just about everything gardening.
So here’s the tool in its natural element. What’s great about this thing is that it’s so quick and easy to use, I actually take it out on a weekly basis and make sure all my tomatoes are continually fastened to their stakes. No falling vines, no end-of-season mess.
Once you have used it a bit, it will quickly become indispensable, and then you will go from having the normal, pedestrian view of this tool (as in the first picture, above), to seeing it as an exalted extension of your gardening personality, and here’s what it looks like when that happens: