This is a good question from Sharon:
“Hi David, just came across your videos on YouTube, I noticed there aren’t many videos on gardening in the tropics so thanks for making yours! I plan on moving to the Caribbean within the year and plan on gardening, Any tips or advice on recommended books (yours are on the top of the list) of course!! Also tools or anything else I can bring with me when I move. Thank you for any info you can provide. Also I’m part of a community garden in Florida and planning to taking a work for trade permaculture course this month.
Thank you & family for spreading the knowledge!”
I brought some gardening tools with me when I moved since I wasn’t sure what would be available here. Though I live in an area with a lot of farmers, some of my favorite tools are not easy to find.
Here’s what I’ve found to be readily available (will vary by country)
Shovels, rakes, machetes, spades, square grub hoe heads
And these are the tools I never see:
Scuffle hoes, wheel hoes, broadforks, high-quality pruning saws, scythes, sickles, good garden hoes,
My friend Tony packed up my broadfork in lots of cardboard, then I put rope handles on the box we made and taped it like crazy, then checked the tool with the airline. It JUST fit the size requirements. I had to pay and oversize fee on it, but it was worth every penny.
I did not bring a scuffle/hula hoe, however, and I really miss having one. I need to get one brought in eventually. I also left my scythe behind and bought a string trimmer when I got here. The string trimmer works better on the slopes and among rocks anyhow, but if I were gardening in a flat spot, I would want to bring a scythe.
One thing I’ve noticed since moving is that there is very little in the way of good, used tools here. Antique shops and yard sales are nonexistent in my area. You’re not going to find decent used tools and a lot of the new tools coming in are only so-so. The exception is that there are good spades, forks and machetes as well as grub hoe heads. The rakes, normal hoes and other things aren’t that great.
Specialty hoes like you’ll find at Easy Digging are rare as well. They have one big square variety of digging/grub hoe locally and that’s it. I am glad I brought the triangular one with me.
As for books, it’s very thin. There’s almost nothing out there for tropical gardeners. Stick with me for now, I guess. I’ll do my best to help. And ask lots of questions of the locals. Some Florida gardening books might also be a good idea. It’s close.
Hello Sharon! I’m a Sheri who found David when I moved to tropical Mexico. His information from Florida was extremely helpful. Then he moved to the tropics! Woohoo! Definitely amaze the locals with a scuffle or hula hoe. I cut the handle off and bought a new one here and bolted it on. A reciprocating saw (sawzall) with blades for wood, metal and pruning live wood was the best thing I carried down in my suitcase. Have fun!