In your shed, a top tool to have alongside your spade, fork, and rake is a hoe. When it comes to weeding in springtime, you can get plenty of use out of this tool. Use this guide to help you know what, where, and when to hoe in the garden.
What is hoeing?
Depending on the task at hand, there are a few techniques of hoeing.
Firstly, sweeping involves making a sweeping motion towards your feet over the surface to slice the weeds. This isn’t a strenuous method that uses a Dutch hoe.
The Dutch hoe can also be used to create drills for sowing seeds in a grow your own area. To this by turning over the hoe and dragging the tool across the surface to make a shallow trench.
Then, a draw hoe can be used to cover seeds. This eliminates the need to bend down and recover long drills filled with seeds. Use the hoe to move the soil back into the trench to cover the newly sown seeds.
Alternatively, use a draw hoe to slice the top of the weeds by once again bringing the hoe towards you. This is useful for use around grow your own areas where plants have been earthed up because the draw hoe can be angled to suit the incline.
There are long-handled hoes that put less strain on the back. Then, there are shorter handled hoes, or ‘onion hoes’ which are used for areas that are densely packed. These are useful when you need to target a small and specific area without damaging surrounding plants.
Where and when to hoe
When it comes to hoeing, you want to break the top part of the weed away from the roots.
Springtime is a good time to hoe in the garden because this is when annual weeds will be showing up. Wait until there’s a dry day rather than when the soil is moist. This was the weed seedlings will dry out on the surface of the soil instead of getting moisture and nutrients from the soil and re-rooting.
Over the year this tool will get plenty of use, so ensure it’s kept in good nick by sharpening when necessary. For a hoe to effectively slice weeds, it will need to be sharp.
Sharpen the how by positioning the tool with the blade facing upwards using a leg or a vice to keep the tool still. Use a file to sharpen the outside edge of the tool at around 30 degrees.
As well as keeping it sharp, keep the tool clean by cleaning soil off the blade after each use. Also, through winter applying oil to the blade will stop it from rusting.
In addition to the blade, take care of the handle too to ensure the whole tool is in good condition and lasts years. Once again, clean any soil from the handle and keep the head tightly fastened. It’s also ideal to apply some oil to wooden handles to keep them spick-and-span.
Dislodge weeds in the garden using this handy tool. There are different types of garden hoe, so using the best kind and keeping it in good nick will keep your garden growing its best and mean you have well-kept tools in your arsenal.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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