We've all seen the commercials for the "miracle hoe" or the "save your back" rake.  The Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County warn you to beware when buying ergonomical tools.

What a boring world it would be if we were all the same.  And that is where the problem begins when trying to purchase tools the promote good posture when using them. Because "each of us has a different body structure, the best ergonomic tool for one person may not be best for another."

The Master Gardeners offer these tips when choosing tools.  Start by holding the tool as if you were actually using it and look at the position of your body.

• The handle of hoes, rakes and other long handled tools should be sufficiently long so your back is in a good position. Hold the tool next to your body. The top of the handle should come to a position between your armpit and the top of your shoulder.
• For hand tools, touch your index finger to your thumb. The handle of the tool should fit into this space snugly.
• When working with tools, your forearm should be positioned so that the thumb is always on the top of the handle.
• Your wrists should be straight when pushing, pulling and grasping garden tools.
• Handles should be cushioned and offer a non-slip surface. Wear gloves when possible.

All your gardening questions can be answered at CCE's Horticulture Hot Line at 736-3394.  It's open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until noon.

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