Farm tool: planting stick (Peru)
The stick was one of the earliest tools used for managing plant biodiversity, both for digging up roots and tubers and for “planting”. Women and men in Latin America still use sticks on their plots, much in the manner which so surprised the first Spaniards to arrive there.
In 1535 Fernández de Oviedo, in his General and Natural History of the Indies, Isles and Mainland of the Ocean Sea, described its use for working cornfields: “5 or 6 Indians stand a pace apart in a wing formation with sticks or batons in their hands, and they hit the ground with the point of the stick and waggle it so that it opens up the earth and pull it out. And into the hole they scatter with their left hand 4 or 5 grains of corn, which they take from a bag hanging at their necks, and then use their feet to cover the corn, so that popinjays and other birds don’t eat it”.
Photo, Joaquín Otero Úbeda