There are several garden tools you can use to turn the soil of a vegetable bed, but by far the most thorough and efficient way I have found to do it is with a mini auger powered by a cordless drill. This page looks at the three different mini augers I use and what I use them for.
Mini Augers offer several advantages over conventual gardening tools such as forks or spades. They:-
- REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF PHYSICAL WORK REQUIRED TO TURN THE SOIL
- SAVE TIME
It takes less time to thoroughly turn a bed over than with a fork or hoe.
- PRODUCE A FINER MORE EVEN SOIL
Turning a bed with a fork tends to leave large lumps of soil, whereas a power mini auger produces a much finer crumblier mixture. Added manures and fertilisers also mix in more evenly.
- LESS LIKELY TO INJURE WORMS
Worms are less injured as they are flipped out of the ground by the auger’s rotating action.
There are two mini auger manufacturers that I am aware of that produce a range of auger sizes for the gardener to choose from. I have two made by The Aussie Gardener Store, the 207 and 312 Power Planter, and a Sutton Garden Auger (see below for details).
Both these companies offer larger sized augers but I have found that the three I use are perfect for my gardening requirements.
MINI AUGERS THAT I USE
- TOP: 207 POWER PLANTER 5cm wide x 15.5 cm long.
Used to plant seedlings, bulbs and to lightly till around established vegetables.
- MIDDLE: 312 POWER PLANTER 7.5 cm wide x 30 cm long.
Used to turn soil in my raised beds.
- BOTTOM: SUTTON GARDEN AUGER 7.5 cm wide x 45 cm long.
Used to turn soil in the main garden beds, as well as raised beds. As it is taller than the 312 Power Planter it involves less stooping. Of the three augers it is the one I use the most.
Turning a vegetable bed over using a Sutton 7.5 cm wide x 45 cm long mini auger.
Turning such large drill bits puts quite a strain on a cordless drill, so it is important that you use a high-quality powerful drill to ensure that you don’t burn the motor out.
These drill bits can also buck if pushed too hard, especially in heavy soil. To avoid injury it is important to always hold the drill firmly.
These mini augers are not cheap, ranging from around $50 to $110 (2021 Australian prices), but both brands that I use are of a robust construction, so they should last for years.
As well as turning soil in vegetable beds mini augers are also excellent for turning compost in compost bins.