How to Make a Dibble

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How to Make a Dibble

See that funny looking tool pictured above? It’s what’s been missing from your life. It’s called a dibble, and it makes planting your garden a breeze. Just stamp it into the soil, and it gives you holes that are the perfect depth and spacing for what you’re planting. Pretty spiffy, eh?

I have a bunch of onion sets that I need to plant, so I asked my husband to make me a dibble built to their planting specs – it makes holes that are four inches apart and two-inches deep.

If you’re a square foot gardener, you can cover all of your planting with just three dibbles: a 4-hole, 9-hole and 16-hole.

Here’s what you can plant with each one:

Printable Dibble Planting Guide

Dibble Planting Guide

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Have I convinced you of your need for a dibble? If so, here are the instructions:

How to Make a Dibble

What You’ll Need:

(2) 3/4″ x 1′ x 1′ boards
(1) 3/4″ x 3′ wooden dowel
(4) 1-1/4″ wood screws
Wood glue
A drawer pull

Measuring Tape
3/4″ drill bit
A pen, pencil or marker
Mitre box (optional)

What You Do:

Mark the Position of Your Dowels

Place one of your 3/4″ x 1 x 1 boards on your work surface. Find it’s center; then mark where the dowels will need to go by measuring out from this point. I wanted a dibble with four inch spacing, so we ended up with nine marked spots.

Drill the Board

Drill all the way through the board at the marked spots.

Cut the Wooden Dowels

Cut (9) 2-3/4″ wooden dowels.

Attach the Boards with Wood Screws

Attach your board with the holes to the other 3/4″ x 1 x 1 board with wood screws.

Glue the Wooden Dowels in Place

Put a generous amount of wood glue on the ends of the dowels; twist them into the holes; wipe off the excess glue; and let dry.

Attach the Handle to Your Dibble

Attach the handle to the back of your dibble, and it’s ready for use!

To Use Your Dibble

Holes Made with a Dibble

Loosen the soil in the section of the garden that you’re ready to plant, stamp your dibble into the freshly worked soil. Then, drop your seeds, bulbs or sets into the awaiting holes; cover; and you’re done!

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  1. Since each of the items on the list are not planted 2 inches deep, how do you use your dibble’s to plant at a shorter depth?

    1. Good question, Jennifer. I should probably add a note/clarification about that. If you’re planting something on the list with a shallower depth, you can mark the inch, half-inch point, etc. on the dowels, so you know how deep to go.

  2. Holy guacamole!!! This is a pretty awesome idea. This spring will be my first go at SFG… I did a huge veggie garden last year, but it went pretty feral by the end. I figure SFG will be much easier, and less hoeing weeds and wrangling things. This dibble idea is genius!

  3. I love the dibble idea and plan to make a set for my daughter who likes to garden.
    I have a question on the dowel spacing. Should all of the dibble boards be the same 1ftx1ft size and spacing change to match the number of dowels?
    4 hole = 6″ spacing or maybe 8″ spacing
    9 hole = 4″ spacing
    16 hole = 3″ spacing

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