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Story | Oct 6, 2005GARDENING books are great at telling us what to do. Occasionally they tell us how. Rarely do they descend to specific information on the subject of tools: which, where, why, when. Gardeners could cripple themselves carrying sacks of manure and compost from driveway to garden before discovering a wheelbarrow, by which time they would be past caring whether to rototill or use a pick and garden fork. So, in the course of considering my own recommendations, I went to a selection of California gardeners to ask what their favorite tools are, when they use them, for what and why. Among the 10 of us, a fascinating pattern of preferences emerged, along with enough gimmicky brand names (surely E-Z-Chore is an oxymoron?) to drive an English teacher to violence. For every tool there was a purpose. The most repeated observation: If it hurts to do a job in the garden, you are probably using the wrong tool.