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.