On a farm there are always weeds and with them comes the job of weeding. Manual weeding is labour intensive but for organic vegetable growers it’s still one of the most commonly used methods of keeping weeds down. This can mean hand weeding – that’s right, on your hands and knees, pulling up plants by hand. Perhaps even cursing the mulch that simultaneously reduces weed pressure and make it more difficult to pull the weeds out as the mulch has to be lifted out of the way first. It can also mean flame weeding – nothing like a tank of propane on your back and a burner in your hand while you apply heat to the surface of the planting beds to kill any newly germinated weeds. Otherwise there’s my favourite, hoeing, it may be old fashioned but it’s still effective and satisfying once complete.
There’s a lot of choice in the hoe department and in addition to the wheel hoe (which is exactly that – a wheel with a hoe) there were slim draw, diamond, collinear and stirrup hoes to choose from. Personally I favour the diamond hoe if an entire bed has to be done or the stirrup hoe for finer work around seedlings.
So, what kind of hoe are you?