A garden plastic or wooden dibble or dibble is the most basic tool imaginable, but one of these could save a lot of time if you plant lots of seeds or bulbs.
Essentially a stick with a sharpened end the dibber has changed little in the centuries it’s been in existence. The sharp end is pushed into the soil to create a hole into which seeds or bulbs can be planted.
What Types are there?
Dibbers are made from different materials and not all will be suitable for various types of soil.
These are good when used in loose soil but will struggle on stony, compact or clay.
However they are virtually maintenance free with just a quick wipe down needed when dibbing is finished.
These have a wooden ‘T’ handle with a steel point for penetrating into hard soil or clay.
It has depth markings on the side which are especially helpful when planting various bulbs to different depths.
When dibbing is finished wipe away any soil with a damp rag paying particular attention to where the steel meets the wood and allow to dry before storing. Wipe the steel over with an oily rag to prevent corrosion.
Make your own Dibber or Dibble
Because of the simplicity of the design, making a wooden dibble is quite simple especially if you have a broken fork or spade handle.
‘T’ handles are best as you can exert a twisting action quite easily if needed but a ‘D’ handle
will also do the job. The overall length of the wooden dibble is up to you but they are usually around 10” or 250 mm long up to the handle.
Simply saw your handle shaft to the overall length and then whittle or using a disc sander sharpen the end. The length of the point on manufactured wooden dibble is 5” or 125 mm from the tip of the point to the end of the taper.
If you have lots of bulbs to plant to the same depth you can stick a piece of electrical tape around the shaft of the dibble which can be removed when you have finished or moved when planting a different variety of bulbs. It is also possible to mark the side with depth measurements in inches or cm using a saw and a permanent maker to highlight the saw cut.
For seed planting a piece of thin dowel sharpened at the end or a pencil will be fine.
Tips for Dibble or Dibbles
If you suffer from back pain a longer version of the home made wooden dibble can be made using a broom handle. This means you can make the holes from an upright position.
If you are planting seeds take a length of plastic hollow pipe or copper pipe which enables you to stand upright and place it into the holes. Drop the seeds down the pipe into each hole and then rake the soil over the top.