Dibble Templates for Easy Planting1
Ever since I learned about dibbles, I’ve been wanting to make one of my own. A dibble is a tool used to space seeds or seedlings in your garden by poking holes at exact measurements. Exact measurement comes in handy when it comes to Square Foot Gardening (SFG) because the main point of this intensive-planting method is to squeeze as many plants into 1 square foot (SQF) section as you can without hampering the plants’ ability to flourish. (For more on Square Foot Gardening, click here.)
Until recently, all of the dibbles I had discovered were board with pegs (to poke holes in the soil) managed with one central handle or two handles on the edges. I still think these are handy tools, but frankly, I don’t have the skill-set to make one. (However, if you know anything about woodworking at all, making your own dibble would probably be a breeze for you. Click here for a tutorial.) In addition to not being very confident with a saw, I’m also operating my micro-farm on a micro-budget. Simple as a wooden dibble may be, it still requires purchasing materials and I’d rather save that money for other items. Plus, to be most useful for my purposes, I would need four dibbles, each for the following SFG patterns:
- 4 seeds per SQF
- 8 seeds per SQF
- 9 seeds per SQF
- 16 seeds per SQF
Four boards. Lots of materials. Lots of time. I’ll pass.
And pass I have… for a long time… until I saw something that looked like this:
Aha! Thanks to a post from a friend on Facebook (Clementine’s Homestead), I finally met my dibble match! This dibble is made from cardboard, which is cheap, easy to work with and readily available to pretty much anyone. Sure, it’s not as pretty as the wooden variety. And frankly, it’s also a smidge less efficient because you have to poke each hole rather than pushing the dibble down once, but, it still serves the same purpose of evenly distributing your seeds. If you have the skill-set, time and materials, you could make this same dibble with a wooden board (or a sheet of metal for that matter).
Wouldn’t you like to make one of these dibbles for your own garden? I thought you might… And that’s why I created these! Here are five dibble templates you can print at home to create your own dibbles in a matter of minutes. (That’s right, I did all of the measuring for you… feel free to leave a tip at the door as you leave.) Because they are 12″ long, you’ll need to print on Legal Size (8.5″ x 14″) paper. I created the templates in two sections (A & B) so that they are more easily printed from a home computer (which can sometimes only accommodate paper that is 8.5″ wide).
1 Seed Dibble
4 Seed Dibble
8 Seed Dibble
9 Seed Dibble
16 Seed Dibble
Although I think they are pretty self explanatory, here are the instructions.
Dibble Template Instructions
- When printing, under “Size Options” choose the “Actual Size.” Also be sure that Legal Size (8.5″ x 14″) paper is selected.
- Each template has two parts (A & B). Print both parts.
- Cut out the template along the solid outside lines.
- Line up the two halves along the dashed center line.
- Tape or glue the template to your board.
- Using a utility knife, cut along the outside edges so that you end up with a 12″ by 12″ (1 SQF) board.
- Using a drill bit of the desired diameter (I used a 3/4″ bit) drill holes directly above the green circles.
- To use, align the dibble with the corner of your Square Foot Gardening bed. Using a finger or another tool, poke holes in the dirt through each drilled hole. Remove the dibble and align it with the next SQF adjacent to the SQF you just prepared. Repeat this step until you have completed the garden.
And don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten those of you who have traditional row gardens. Check out this easy to make, easy to use dibble…
What do you think? Have you ever used a dibble before? Any thoughts on how to make the cardboard version even more useful? I’d love to hear what you have to say!