Monday, December 19, 2011


Put together a tool kit...before the Spring digging/planting season hits PART 2:

This week, we look at some alternative tools, some that you may never have heard of before! We will start with the mini-shovel. These are the downsized versions of the full-sized shovels that we profiled in the last blog post. A tiny sized shovel like this makes it possible to carry a shovel on you at all times when exploring the countryside for your next guerilla gardening site. One of the first priorities of a good guerilla garden is a halfway decent starting topsoil. The only way to determine the soil situation is to dig a couple of 1x1 foot holes at least 8 inches down. This allows the guerilla grower to view a cross section of the onsite topsoil. Compared to a full sized shovel or spade, it is definitely easier to carry these lightweight shovels across the countryside.

1.) US Army folding entrenching tool/shovel: HERE This is a handy little mini-shovel; about 2.5 feet in length, including the 8 inch blade, with a locking collar on the handle that allows the user to fold the blade at a 90 degree angle to the handle, and lock it down, securing it to form a sort-of pickaxe and trenching tool. This handy device is used by US soldiers to dig foxholes, latrines, garbage pits, and the like. The old-school model has a straight, wooden handle, making it hard to grip when digging in tough soil. This tool works the best when digging in decent topsoil, or in sandy soil, and can also be used for cutting roots and prying rocks out of a hole. It is very hard to break one of these shovels; they are made for the armed forces, after all. Still, when busting through tough, overgrown sod, I would much rather have a full sized shovel or pickaxe to start the hole initially, then using this tool to add finishing touches, like cutting corners, etc. These shovels can be found used and surplus everywhere.

2.) M-1910 T-handle entrenching tool: Another military issue shovel, issued during WW2. Instead of a simple, straight wooden handle, this shovel adds a T to the end of the handle, vastly increasing digging leverage. If funds are scarce, the guerilla grower can look for world war 2 army surplus T handle shovels; they are everywhere. A little more expensive, but of a much higher quality is the M-1910 T handle replica shovels; manufactured using modern technology.

Gerber E-Tool model 22-01945: My personal favorite, at least as far as "mini-shovels go". This is a folding spade which folds in two places, as opposed to the two prior mentioned shovels which only have one folding joint. Because of this, the 01945 folds down from an overall, extended length of 23.75 inches, to a folded length of only 9.25 inches. Lightweight, and small enough to hang on the belt when exploring. The ability to carry one of these small tools when exploring allows the guerilla grower to pre-dig prospective grow sites, in order to determine the type of soil found there.

This tool has a forged, carbon-steel, blade that is serrated along one side, and has a nice point on the end for sod busting, and actually has a hardened pick attachment on the other end. The guerilla grower can use the pickaxe to chop, and the blade to scoop, with no changes or adjustments needed. This shovel has a D-handle for superior grip, and leverage, when digging and chopping. The entire handle is made of glass-filled nylon, so the entire shovel weighs in at only 2.3 pounds.
SOG Entrenching Tool F08: another nice choice in a mini-shovel. This one is smaller, and lighter, than the 01945 profiled above, but still packs a punch, with plenty of functionality. The SOG entrenching tool can be used as a shovel, or a pickaxe. Because the handle is made of steel, it is a very durable and sturdy tool. It also has the pick attachment on the opposite end of the serrated shovel blade, just like the 01945. Fully extended at 18.5 inches,with a folded size of 7.25 inches. This one is even easier to carry at only 1.5 pounds.
Chinese Military Shovel WJQ308: if you want to get a real good idea of what these mini-shovels are capable of, check out the Chinese military shovel WJQ 308 in the youtube video here. This is the state-of-the-art mini shovel design on the market today. At 80 to 90 dollars, it is on the high side as far as cost goes, but it is really unbelievable. Just to give you some idea of what this shovel, or any of the shovels covered today, are capable of: shovel, pick, ax, pickaxe saw, hacksaw, machete, potato slicer, barbed wire cutter, grappling hook, weapon, shield, hammer, nail puller, bottle and can opener, oar, boat anchor, and it even has a ruler on the wooden handle.
What happens when the guerilla grower hits what seems to be an impenetrable barrier while attempting to dig a garden in the great outdoors? This is a job for a spud bar!

Spud Bar: A glorified, oversized crowbar that weighs 15 pounds. A spud bar is a 6 foot long, digger/tamper constructed of forged steel with a hardened chisel point; better described as a giant chisel! Used as a lever to move heavy, or immovable (with a shovel), objects. Typical uses include breaking up clay and hardpans, frozen ground, and other hard materials. Used for digging, prying, or cutting through rocks, roots, or frozen soils. Used to move or break up large tree roots, and other obstacles, and also used to dig pilot holes for fence posts. A spud bar is often used where space limitations will not allow the use of a pickaxe. Everyone should have a spud bar for those "impossible" digging tasks!
Root Jack: No, not the Portland, Oregon rock band...what I am talking about here is a tool that is an old time favorite in the herbicide free organic garden. Quickly and efficiently uproots small trees, bushes, roots, blackberry, sumac, suckers, and manzanita. Use the head to grip the unwanted plant at the base, then use the handle to "lever" the plant out of the ground. This tool yanks the plant out of the ground, root sand all. Great for clearing areas that have a very good topsoil base, but are covered over with scrub plants and small trees. Makes an almost impossible job (using normal hand tools) easy!

Good Luck,
Vinnie Kaz

Author: Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets: Hints Kinks and Tips for the Clandestine Cannabis Grower

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Put together a tool kit...before the Spring digging/planting season hits:

A good set of digging tools will make all the difference in the world when you go to dig out your cannabis cultivation garden. When the guerilla grower is using the proper tools, the job goes much quicker, and the digging/cultivation of the soil is much easier. Using the proper tools allows the guerilla gardener to dig for a longer amount of time before becoming fatigued, resulting in a larger garden than could normally be dug. A faster digging time also means less time at the garden site, which helps with security concerns. Always remember this very important cannabis cultivation rule; the more cubic feet of cultivated soil in the marijuana garden, the higher the final yields.

Your choice of digging tools will be dependent upon the type of soil that you are starting with. Starting conditions for your soil can be any of the following, or a combination of the following:

1.) decent topsoil that is overgrown with grasses, roots, and weeds, making it hard to penetrate and dig out.
2.) decent topsoil, good drainage, filled with roots and tree branches.
3.) sandy soils: almost pure sand to a blend of sand and soil/organic matter.
4.) soil with a very high clay content, or a 'hardpan' soil.
5.) rocky, hard packed soil/gravel combination

Depending upon the starting conditions in your guerilla cannabis garden, the existing soil will either be cut up and completely removed and replaced, or it will be broken up into a crumbly soil and combined (usually half and half) with a peat, coir, or topsoil based grow mix. Compost and other organic amendments are then added to the soil mixes.

The aspiring guerilla grower will first want to choose a decent pair of work gloves. The areas that you will be breaking up have probably not been disturbed for decades, if ever. Unless you dig for a living, your hands will be blistered and skinned after any period of guerilla digging. Not only does this hurt like hell, it will keep the grower from excavating additional gardens until the hands are healed.

A good pair of work gloves is a must, usually a pair made of high-quality, premium cowhide leather. These leather gloves do a very good job of shielding your hands from blisters, slivers, and abrasions. I usually use the premium leather work gloves for the hard digging and prying chores, but I switch to a decent cotton, or canvas, work glove when the going gets a little easier. The leather does a much better job of protecting your hands, but it can become very hot after a long period of digging. Do not use rubber work gloves because they will heat up in the sun and become very hot and sticky.

After the gloves have been selected, it is time to stock up on the digging tools that will be required for your type of garden soil. There are many different types of digging tools out there, but we will start with the simplest one, the shovel:

1.) Long handled round-point shovel: My personal choice is the Union Pro long handled round-point shovel. Long Handled Shovel It has a 9 inch round point blade, and a 48 inch wooden handle. A long handled shovel gives tons of leverage when attempting to pry roots or rocks out of a hole. Shovels of this type are available with either wooden or fiberglass handles. Fiberglass should be used if the tools will be stashed out in the woods because a wooden handle can dry-rot if left out in the elements for too long a time. The fiberglass handles are usually yellow in color, and will have to be painted camo colors for use in the deep woods.

2.) Short handled mini round-point shovel: This is the short-handled version with the same size, 9 inch, round point blade at the end. Short Handled Shovel Good for getting into tight spaces: cutting stubborn roots and squaring off the sides, and the edges of grow holes or water reservoirs. Usually an 18 inch, wood or fiberglass, handle.

Both of these shovels have a sharp point at the end of the blade, along with a sharp, cutting edge for slicing through tough sod, roots, and hard clays and topsoils. When using these shovels on undisturbed, hard-packed, or root-filled soils, take a file, or a grinder, and actually sharpen the point and the cutting edges of the shovel like a knife. This will allow the blade to easily cut thru roots and other obstructions, and will generally make the digging chores much easier. Be very careful with a sharpened shovel though, do not cut a piece off of your foot, kneecap, or your shin, or your partner! These things can be made very sharp!

In the case of a garden where all of the existing soil is going to be removed, relocated, and replaced with a growing mix, these sharpened blades are used to cut the soil into 8-10 inch squares, about as deep as the shovel blade, which are then easily pried up fom the hole, and tossed off to the side.

If the existing topsoil is going to be reused in the cannabis garden, but there is a thick layer of wild grass and weeds on the soil surface, use the sharpened blade to cut out squares of soil/grass to a depth of 8 or 9 inches, prying them up, and flipping them over. At this point, the topsoil can be knocked off of the roots of the grass/weeds, and the leftover grass/weeds can be tossed into a pile on the side of the hole.

If a thick, tough root is encountered when digging the marijuana garden, use the sharpened shovel blade to cut the root. First, cut the root in half with the shovel blade where you first encounter it. Grab each end of the cut root and pull it out of the ground, using your hands, until you reach the perimeter of the hole. Cut the root off at this point, and it will not bother you any more when you are digging. Do the same with the other half of the root, cutting it off at the other edge of the grow hole. No need to pull and remove the entire root, just the part that travels through your chosen garden area.

These shovels are perfectly fine for digging in sandy soils. A garden spade is also a good choice for a sandy soil. The spade is a long handled shovel, but it has a square blade, as opposed to a pointed blade. Either one will work fine, but the square blade seems to hold more sand per scoop than the round pointed blade.

Digging in a high clay content soil, or a hardpan soil, with these round, or square bladed spades will quickly lead to a gooey, sticky mess! Hardpan is a very thick, and very sticky, (much stickier than pure clay) layer of claylike material found below the surface of topsoil in certain areas. This sticky, gooey mess actually adheres to the surface of your shovel. Sometimes the shovel can be knocked into a tree trunk to knock the gunk off of the shovel, but usually a second, smaller shovel must be used to actually scrape the goo off of the digging blade. Areas like this can be dug out, but it is extremely time consuming and back breaking to do so. Most cannabis cutivators will move on to a different area instead of having to deal with this sticky mess.

3.) Pickaxe or Mattock: the traditional pickaxe HERE is used to chop, pry, or shred anything that gets in your way when digging out your guerilla cannabis cultivation site. The mattock is simply a pickaxe with an extra wide (3.5 inch) blade on one side of the pickaxe blade, that can be used as in the same way as an axe blade. Cutter Mattock The extra wide blade gives the guerilla gardener added leverage when chopping, prying, or shredding materials. The pickaxe or mattock, is used when the guerilla grower comes across a large stone, or a thick root, that the shovel will not budge. Use the mattock as a lever, for prying rocks out of the ground, or for breaking roots and chopping them out of the ground.

My personal choice when it comes to the pickaxe vs mattock argument is the Union Tools 5 pound Cutter Mattock with a 36 inch heavy-duty fiberglass handle. The blade head on this thing weighs 5 pounds, and is very solid, while the fiberglass handle is splinter proof.

I have been guerilla growing for about thirty years now, and I have personally used all of these tools. The ones that I mentioned have a pretty high price tag, the are definitely not the $5 shovels that are found at wal-mart, home depot, menards,etc. but they are manufactured for the professional landscaper, firefighter, and forestry service worker. Your investment will last you a very long time, and it will save you a lot of hard work.


Good Luck

Vinnie Kaz

Author: Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets: Hints Kinks and Tips for the Clandestine Cannabis Grower

Friday, December 2, 2011

Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets: signed serial-numbered copies available now!

CHECK OUT a REALLY COOL flash viewer preview of Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets here. Vinnie Kaz has allowed you to preview almost 80 pages out of the 400 found in the book!
The first 500 copies of Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets: hints kinks and tips for the clandestine cannabis grower, are off the press, perfect bound, and now on sale at the website: 

The first 500 copies are assigned serial numbers (1~500) and signed by the author, Vinnie Kaz.

Soon to be a collectors item, these original, signed, serial numbered manuscripts will make a great stocking stuffer for the "gardener" in your life!

Bottom line: the guerilla grower desires to double, even triple, current yields of the outdoor cannabis garden, while reducing risk, and the amount of back breaking labor involved.

This is a book about outdoor, guerilla-style, marijuana cultivation, written by the very professionals out there in the fields doing the growing, risking their asses to supply the country with high-grade, connoisseur quality marijuana. Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets is written in the form of an internet growers forum: questions are presented, then answers and solutions to those problems are provided by experienced marijuana growers.


Because of the very illegal nature of the cannabis plant, it is very hard for experienced growers to get together and compare notes. It ain't like brewing beer! It can be done, using the various growing forums found on the internet, but the researcher would have to sift through tons and tons of misinformation, and old wives tales, before stumbling across that one grower out of 100 that can actually provide the solution to his or her marijuana growing problems.

"Budding" author Vinnie Kaz has solved this problem for you, distilling the business of clandestine cannabis cultivation down to its' most important techniques, tactics, and procedures. The drive, and the creativity, of the modern day marijuana grower is clearly demonstrated throughout the almost 400 pages, and 34 chapters of this book.

"Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets: hints kinks and tips for the clandestine cannabis grower" has been described as "the Marijuana Growers Guide meeting up in a brutal, head-on collision with Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. This book is written from an engineering, as well as a logistical, viewpoint. Each and evey page of this book contains a multitude of novel and ingenious marijuana growing methods and techniques.

Until next time,

Vinnie Kaz