“National Weed Your Garden Day” is on June 13, 2021. This seems a strange time to me because weeding in my garden starts shortly after it stops snowing, long before June. This year an especially prolific, nasty but beautiful weed, called “lesser celandine”, covered many parts of my garden. This weed is particularly challenging as it is difficult to remove and it spreads far and wide.
Enter Greg Baka of EasyDigging.com. He is a business owner and a gardener who has done almost every Do It Yourself project that homeowners and homesteaders take on in their yards and farms. He is also an engineer with years of product design experience in the construction and gardening space. So, I called Greg to ask his advice about a tool he would recommend to help with my problem. He answered the phone. He offered me advice and I ordered the shovel he recommended. Before I knew it, the shovel was delivered to my home.
Jeff, who helps me with my garden, was intrigued with the shovel. After using the shovel, he noted that is easy on the back. The design is different than most shovels and requires less back pull. He used it in many ways and really likes it. I do, too. The tools available at Easy Digging.Com are user friendly and different. They would be a great gift for Father’s Day.
Greg shared information about Easy Digging..
1. What led you to begin “Easy Digging” in 2007?
It started with really, really wanting to be self-employed. Then I learned that the grub hoe and grape hoe that I really liked using in my own yard were not being actively sold in the US. So I dove in, learned how to create an online store, and how to source and ship tools, and Easy Digging was born.
2. In the early years how many items did you have available for purchase?
Just four,. They were the grub, grape, pointed, and fork hoes. It took a few years before we started adding the wheel hoes and seeders and shovels.
3. How did you choose and develop the items you have sold over the years?
I do a lot of hunting for good useful tools that are not available at big box stores. The “choosing” part involves finding suppliers that are already making a great version, or are willing to modify their tool to meet our requirements. The “develop” part is much more complicated. We have to design parts that can both be prototyped and also be manufactured affordably. That takes a ton of engineering hours and experience.
4. In what ways has the business changed since it began?
Mostly it grew so much that my wife and I could no longer pack up orders every day and still keep up with the website, marketing, management, and engineering portions. So now we have a warehouse that packs orders for us, while we focus on the other tasks.
5. How do you manage to make the products ergonomic? Do you have people testing the products before you go into full production?
We do test prototypes of our new tools by having local people of various sizes and ages try them out while we watch. But before that, the designs are crafted with a mix of ergonomics training (from my schooling at Purdue), and good old common sense, to match ergonomic principles.
6. Where are most of your customers located? Where was the location of your most unusual order?
Now they are all in the continental US. But in the beginning, when we had more time, we did ship everywhere. I remember shipping all over Europe and also to Australia and New Zealand.
7. I was so impressed with the opportunity to speak with you, Greg. Your guidance was very helpful. How many calls do you generally receive in a week?
Probably eight a day, every day, even on the weekend. Sometimes it is just people making or checking on an order. But the fun ones are people looking for advice on which tool to get, or trying to figure out how to do a tricky job themselves without hurting their back.
8. Aside from customer appreciation, have you received any recognition for the design of your products?
Way back in my corporate engineering days, I did earn a handful of patents. And an award from Electrolux for the design of a RV awning. But we don’t really worry about patents anymore. It is just as rewarding to see people using the hand tools and the seeder and the wheel hoe attachments I have designed over the last 10 years.
9. Is there any weeding wisdom you would like to share with Splash Magazines Worldwide readers?
Sure! “Weed often enough that they never get big or thick.” It is so much easier and faster to scrape off tiny weeds than it is to chop and struggle against big ones. Some of our tools are made to fit that advice. The grape hoe’s geometry is built for scraping. And the Sweeps attachment for the wheel hoe lets you scrape your garden paths as quick as you can walk. Going out and just scraping away the weeds makes your gardening time way more calm, peaceful, and easy.
10. How do customers obtain the products you are selling, only by ordering from you, directly?
We only sell directly to our customers. We do not have dealers and we do not use Amazon. People can order on the website, or by calling us. Then we ship directly to their home.
owner of EasyDigging.com
Photos: B. Keer unless otherwise noted.