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July 14, 2010

Me And My Hoe: A Love Story

Don't worry, I'm not going to get all Pretty Woman on you, I just have to take a minute to mention one of the most useful garden tools I've ever had. This hand forged half moon hoe has been a godsend when it comes to weeding (my least favorite chore), making routine garden maintenance a breeze.


The sharp blade slides under the soil's surface, uprooting and slicing weeds. This one is on a long handle (about 5 and 1/2 feet), so I can stand while weeding, saving my back.


You can find similar hoes for less money, but according to Steve Solomon, it's worth getting one made of forged steel because the blades are stronger and can be kept sharp with a wet stone, unlike the cheaper versions which are dull and tend to chip. There are other kinds of "scuffle hoes" with different styles of blades, and I'm sure they all do pretty much the same thing, but the key is to find one that is sharp and can be kept that way, as that will make the job easier in the long run.

I find that the hoe works best when the weather is hot and dry. I run the blade through the garden beds, exposing the weeds' roots, and let the heat of the sun finish them off.  I make sure to do this when I know I won't be watering for a day or two, as this gives the weeds less of a chance to re-root. Most things can be left in place as long as they haven't gone to seed, but anything too pernicious (such as morning glory or creeping buttercup) should be removed completely and thrown in the garbage. Repeating this process every couple of weeks has kept my garden well aerated and weed free. Apparently, if I do this regularly, I'll eventually have fewer weeds to deal with, as most of the seeds in the top layer of soil will have been sprouted and subsequently murdered.

I hope I still get at least a few.

3 comments:

freelearners said...

We're living parallel lives right now: we just received our Rogue Hoes in the mail last week. We ordered them after reading Solomon's book and seeing rave reviews of them in Mother Earth News. I tried my hand at it for the first time the other day and was amazed how easy it made weeding. I love my hoe! ;-)

Cheryl said...

The Rogue hoes look amazing! Which one did you get?

Nick said...

I'll second your recommendation of forged hoes. They are so much better than those stamped sheetmetal tools. Rogue Hoe makes good tools too. Another place to check out is EasyDigging.com since they sell hoes from around the world that are used for different things like digging, tilling, and weeding big areas. They also have this new wheel hoe that I would really like to try in my garden.

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