Meeting Notes August 2018

August 11, 2018

  • Demo of Rogan Tools, by Mike Rogan
  • Tools for efficient vegetable gardening
  • Turning a lawn into a food-producing garden
  • Tower gardening and container gardening
  • Authenticating gold and silver coins
  • Group Radio Purchase

Rogan Tools – Mike Rogan gave a demo of the tools that he produces. These are very tough, made-in-the-USA, multi-use tools. Each tool is designed to do the four functions shown in the graphic below:

Mike Rogan (left) showing tools to John.

 


Tools for Large Scale Gardening

A well-stocked garden tool shed will make gardening far more efficient.
An American hoe and an African hoe – both of current manufacture, but a world of difference. Two lessons: 1) Quality matters, and 2) It is possible to improvise if you failed to plan ahead.
Gardening tools demonstrated at the meeting

 

Tools to Consider:

  • Note: Be sensible; you don’t need everything;
    start slowly; buy quality
  • Work gloves, leather and rubberized
  • Hat, long sleeve shirt, sunglasses, sweat band
  • Grubbing Hoe – breaking new ground
  • Broad fork – breaking new ground
  • 4-tine Spading fork – breaking new ground
  • Standard round shovel – “everything”
  • Short small shovel – transplanting, digging potatoes
  • Scuffle hoe / stirrup hoe – weeding
  • Wheel hoe – weeding, cultivating, planting prep
  • Earthway (or equivalent) Seeder – row planting
  • Jab seeder – large seeds, more control, slower
  • Landscape rake or iron rake – seed bed prep
  • Speedling trays – seed starting
  • Harvesting bucket – frees up both hands for picking
  • Garden knife – harvesting, general work
  • Pruning shears – pruning and harvesting
  • Garden trowel – planting and transplanting

 

Maintenance:

  • Wash tools after each use
  • Store in clean, dry place
  • Thin coat of oil if needed
  • Keep a file handy to sharpen tools

 

Tool Sources:

EasyDigging.com – excellent source for a wide variety of top quality hand tools for gardening.

Tools:
Meadow Creature Broadfork – as close to an indestructible tool as it gets. Manual tiller for breaking new ground and preparing ground for gardening. Expensive, but your great-grandchildren will probably still be using it.

Hoss Wheel Hoe – The key to weed control is to cut them down when they first come up, and then keep cutting them down. The Hoss Wheel Hoe is perfect for running down between the rows. In our sandy soil, you can weed almost as fast as you can walk.

ProHoe Scuffle Hoe – ProHoe tools are made from recycled disc blades, and are about as tough as it gets. All of their tools should last a life time (or more) if given reasonable care.

Push-Pull Hoe – similar to the scuffle hoe; used the same way.

Harvesting Bucket – An ordinary bucket or basket will work just fine, but these allow you to use both hands to harvest, it keeps the bucket close to you and not swinging around. Well worth it if you have a large garden or more than a couple of fruit trees. It’s also easier on your back since you don’t have to keep setting the bucket down and picking it up to move. Very heavy duty construction.

Earthway Garden Seeder – There are other seeders available, and for some applications, the Earthway might not be the ideal choice; however, for general garden use for average size seeds (most of what is planted in the Central Florida area), you can’t go wrong with the Earthway seeder. They have been around for a long time, replacement parts are readily available, and it is a simple design in a rugged package.

Speedling Tray (72 Cell) – One of the fastest, most efficient ways to start larger quantities of seeds. These are made from Styrofoam.

Seed Starting Tray (162 Cell) – Injection molded plastic from Hoss Tools.

Seed Sower – Easily handle small seeds.

 

Marilyn described how tower gardening works – the advantages and disadvantages. If you are away traveling, this might not be a good choice for you. If you’re usually at home, tower gardening is a good way to grow a lot in very little space. Marilyn does a good bit of traveling, so she is selling hers. Please contact her directly if you are interested (members-only email went out with details on this).

The local source is Living Towers in Eustis.

 

Authenticating Silver coins:

Fisch System – The “gold standard” (pardon the pun) for authenticating most mint-issued bullion coins. It checks circumference, thickness, and weight. If a coin falls outside the specifications for the coin, then it is most likely a fake.

If your plans include the potential for a currency collapse, then having some silver on hand would be a good idea. Keep in mind, though, that silver and gold are not an “investment” – they are simply hard currency.

Mint-issued bullion coins vs. “Rounds” – A “round” is a “coin” made by a private company. There is typically a lower premium on rounds, which is what makes them attractive. The initial purchase price is lower than a mint-issued coin. The problem is that this also means that the over-all value is lower than a mint-issued coin. When a coin is sold or used to purchase something, the added premium that was initially paid is still calculated into the value of the coin. The main point, though, is that a mint-issued coin can be authenticated, where a round can not without additional testing. This is less of a factor for silver than for gold, since the value of gold makes it a high-value target for fraud. Coins and bars sold as “gold” have been found that have a Tungsten core and a thin gold outer shell – yet another reason why gold is not the best choice for economic preparedness.

Summary: Having a means to authenticate silver coins would be valuable capability – even if you only have a small handful of it yourself. Authentication would be a valued service should hard currency become “the new standard”. While gold gets the headlines, it is far too valuable per ounce to be of much practical use – silver is far more useful, and silver coins are still quite recognizable to people.

 

Discussion went well beyond the topic of authentication. How and where to buy precious metal coins was a popular topic. One source that several members have had experience with is True Metals Group (located here in Florida). Others have purchased coins at gun and coin shows, and at store-front coin dealers.

Before buying bullion coins, check to be sure that your bank safe deposit box is currently paid up. If you will need a larger size, then it’s time to upgrade.

 

Gold and Silver Price History
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Group Radio Purchase – Bud described the radios that will be purchased as part of the group order. This is the same radio as the previous group order several years ago.

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