Tools of the trade: 7 essential farmer-florist tools to cut, snip, chop, prune and lop
I have a pretty laid back approach to most things, but there are a few hard and fast rules the team and I abide by when it comes to the tools we use for day-to-day operations. One of them revolves around the importance of using the right tool for the job, especially when it comes to sharp objects and anything used to cut, chop, snip or lop.
I learned it the hard way. In the early years, I was pretty sloppy with our tools. I would grab whatever was closest to harvest flowers, trim stems, and snip wires. I ruined a lot of expensive clippers in the process. And I also almost ruined my hands. I was young and felt invincible, but after hours of repetitive work, day in and day out, carpel tunnel slowly started to creep in. The pain was a real wake up call and I knew I had to make some serious changes in how I operated.
The experience definitely made me appreciate the fact that my hands are one of the most important tools for farming, designing, writing, and well, just about everything I do, so keeping them safe and healthy is essential. I now have some pretty strict rules about what cutting tools are used for each job. No more shortcuts. No more cutting chicken wire with my floral snips. No more oversized, heavy clippers for harvesting. No more excuses.
Here are my top seven tools I use on a regular basis to cut, snip, chop, prune and lop: Wire cutters: Chicken wire is essential to most of my floral designs–I use it almost exclusively to support the stems of my flowers and give the designs a more natural look. I also use standard floral wire for boutonnieres and a few other floral design elements. Cutting all that wire can be quite a job—a job for a good pair of wire cutters! Flower snips are, as their name suggests, great for clipping flowers. They are NOT, however, made for cutting wire. Sure, a great pair can do it. But they really shouldn’t do it. And trust me when I tell you: just don’t do it. Using flower snips to cut wire is a surefire way to –at best–dull your blade–or at worst, bust it. Save your hands and your tools from a lot of stress by investing in a good pair (or two) of good wire cutters. I use large, industrial-strength wire cutters for chicken wire and smaller wire cutters for boutonniere work.