PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
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September 1, 2020

I’m a big proponent of organizing job-specific toolboxes so that whenever a project comes up, everything you need is at your fingertips. For example, I have one toolbox specifically organized for repairing fences.

This time-saving convenience can’t be truly appreciated until you give it a try yourself.

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Yet I’m also keen on compiling more generic collections of commonly-used tools. You never know what job you might wind up tackling in a given day. Tractor toolboxes, I believe, should be stuffed full of as many small hand tools and supplies as they will hold. This includes a hammer and multi-in-one screwdriver.

But not every tool fits inside a handy toolbox. That’s why I’ve taken my organization to an ever greater level. I stock an entire wagon with my favorite tools.

Yes, my trusty red wagon—so frequently used for hauling tree debris, compost, rocks and more—doubles as a portable toolshed for most of the year. Virtually every day through the spring, summer and fall, I’ll fire up my garden tractor, hook up my red wagon, and travel the farm on missions of maintenance and improvement.

The contents of my wagon shift with the seasons, but the goal is always the same. I want to have every tool I might want available when I need it, regardless of where I am.


Keeping your farm tools organized saves you time and effort.



For Example

To give you an idea of how useful a wagon filled with larger tools can be, consider the following sampling of items I typically haul around in my red wagon at any given time:

Digging Spade

A digging spade is useful for transplanting desirable plants and digging holes or ditches, perhaps to improve your driveway drainage or check the underground moisture content of a prospective orchard. The possible uses are endless.

Snow Shovel

In addition to its intended use, I use a snow shovel during warmer months for moving large amounts of dirt or compost.

Digging Bar

Primarily a tool for prying loose large rocks when digging, a digging bar is also good for chipping ice and even weighing down tarps. Sometimes you just need a heavy object to pin something in place against the wind!

100-foot Cloth Tape Measure

A 25-foot metal tape measure is useful too, but I prefer my 100-foot cloth tape measure. I constantly find myself measuring extended distances, often to determine the best location for planting orchard trees.

35-gallon Leg Tank

I use this for hauling water to my orchard trees and pumpkins. A 35-gallon leg tank pretty much lives in my red wagon for three seasons, along with its accompanying hose.

Pruning Loppers and Hand Saw

I don’t go anywhere without my pruning tools. Young trees are constantly popping up in less-than-ideal locations (on the edges of fields, along fencelines, etc.), and sometimes the branches of mature trees start sagging too low.

By keeping my pruning loppers and hand saw handy, I can quickly tackle these light pruning jobs as I spot them, without making a special trip. Even better, I can toss the debris in my wagon and haul it away without delay.

T-posts and T-post driver

Yes, I try to keep a few T-posts and a driver around. If an apple tree branch is sagging under the weight of its own load, I can quickly prop it up. If I’m traveling through tall grass and come across a rock or other obstacle I don’t want to hit with a mower or haybine, I can easily mark the spot.


Here are some tips for fixing a fruit tree branch that has been broken.


Task Ready

The point is, when tackling general farm maintenance tasks, one job tends to prompt another. Before long you’ve seamlessly transitioned into a completely different project than you’d originally intended to tackle.

Having a wide variety of tools available will save time, increase your productivity, and help you make the most of every precious daylight hour.

So why delay? You should organize a wagon full of tools, too!

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