What the devil is a dibble?
What the devil is a dibble?

 

One of our B. 1802 craftsmen has created a slightly more manageable dibble than will make any home gardener’s work easier.  Check it out in the Mercantile by clicking here

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re sometimes a sort of perfectionists. Usually perfectionism creates more work. But sometimes we find a serendipitous approach, or tool, which actually means less work overall.

Case in point is our new dibble. Late last winter I had a little fantasy about dibbles. (Or “dibber” as they are sometimes called.) I wanted to create the ultimate dibble for our raised beds. A dibble is nothing more than a tool that creates a hole in which to drop seeds. Most dibbles only make one hole. Like this fine specimen. They’re used to poke holes in stubborn dirt for bulbs, small plants, and seeds.

But what if we created a dibble that poked dozens of perfectly spaced holes which was designed to be just the right size for our beds? Wouldn’t that make our beds look gorgeous? We would have straight grids of crops so linear that they looked like they were planted by..I dunno…a raised bed garden robot. Plus, with this level of exactitude, we’d save money on seeds…no more thinning!

As is often the case with my fantastical dream projects, the first person I called was my Dad. He gets me. Or at least when he doesn’t, he humors me. This time however, he understood what I was thinking straight away, and wasted no time in designing the perfect solution – a custom made board with 2 inch spaced protruding dowels that would press into the earth to create 187 equal depth holes waiting for seeds.

Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?

At first I thought the dibble should be large enough to do one whole bed in just one press. But Dad convinced me that such a contraption would be too heavy and unwieldy. Plus, we sometimes plant two or more crops in each bed, often at different intervals. So we settled on making a multi-pronged dibble that would cover exactly one quarter of a bed.

Here are some photos he took while constructing it. He’s a pretty darn expert craftsman, but we think you’ll be able to follow along and can probably use his same methods for constructing one of your own.

First cut two pieces of plywood to the size you've designed for your dibble. (you'll see why you need two a little later.)
First cut two pieces of plywood to the size you've designed for your dibble. (you'll see why you need two a little later.) Draw a grid on one with intersecting points at two inches apart. (For seeds that need to be planted one inch apart, the dibble can be pressed down into the dirt, lifted up, moved a little, and pressed down again.)
Use a drill, or drill press to drill holes completely through the board.
Use a drill, or drill press to drill 1/2 inch holes completely through the board.

After all holes are complete, screw your two boards together – the one with holes, and the solid backing.

Next, cut 1/2 inch diameter dowels into 2 1/2 inch lengths. (1/2 inch will be inserted into dibble so that 2 inches are left protruding to make holes.)

Once the boards are screwed together, dip one end of your dowel pieces in a wood glue, and insert into holes. Gorilla Glue works well also.
Once the boards are screwed together, dip one end of your dowel pieces in a wood glue, and insert into holes. Gorilla Glue works well also.
All dowel pieces glued in place.
All dowel pieces glued in place.
Attach two heavy duty handles to the back of the dibble, far enough apart to easily lift the dibble.
Attach two heavy duty handles to the back of the dibble, far enough apart to easily lift the dibble.
To use the dibble, rake and prepare the soil as smoothly and level as possible.
To use the dibble, rake and prepare the soil as smoothly and levelly as possible.
Then press and slightly jiggle the dibble. It helps to wiggle your butt at the same time. Why? Because doing a "dibble wiggle" just sounds fun.
Then press and slightly jiggle the dibble. It helps to wiggle your butt at the same time. Why? Because doing a "dibble jiggle wiggle" just sounds fun.
And voila! Isn't that beautiful?
And voila! Isn't that beautiful?
One bean, per hole. Can't wait to see them sprout all in rows...
One bean, per hole. Can't wait to see them sprout all in rows...

We’ll keep you posted with shots of our dibble doings…

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Reader Comments

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Bonnie Parker-Duke

I'm with Matthew in L.A. Would you please make it and sell it on your website? I have no way to make one myself and would love to have one for the garden…or two or three with different spacing and depth.

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Matthew in L.A.

Would you gentlemen please consider making and selling these in your online store? I'm certain I would not be your only customer of this product. Especially with all the square-foot gardeners out there. If you make a 13"-square board (144 pegs) this would cater to the home gardener on a budget. Please?

Pretty-please?

I CANNOT find an affordable pre-made dibble board anywhere, other than some industrial firms selling uber-technical mechanistic monstrosities. I can't afford such, nor do I want such. 😛

Reply
Matthew in L.A.

I've just discovered the perfect short-cut for making your dibble board: Get yourself a panel of PegBoard (the kind used in the garage or tool-bench) and use that as a guide. The holes are aranged in a grid, one inch apart. Most are about 1/4" thick. (The lazy way would be to glue a panel to a same-size sheet of ply-wood and drill out all the holes.)

Another thing: Some say you need to have three different boards for 3 different seed depths. PFOOEY! Instead, use pegbord panels as spacers. Drill out all the holes (to fit your pegs) and slip on one, two or three panels over the pegs of your dibble board, dependng on how deep your seeds want to be sown.

(I hope I made this clear.)

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Michele Guizzetti

Finally I found this site! I was looking for you dibble board! Lifesaver!

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