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Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:28 PM

Let's Talk Weeding

Every year I plan to stop weeds before they start. Sometimes I get it done, other years I tear my hair out for not taking the time early in the season. It is a worthwhile investment of time because small weeds are a picnic compared to when they're grown.

As idea starters, I put together this list and would welcome the experiences of others.

(short-handled)

Cape Cod weeder
Asparagus knife
onion hoe
hori-hori-knife
trowel

long-handled:

collinear hoe
Cobrahead
Weed Hound
Fiskars UpRoot
stirrup hoe

Other tactics:

Mulch (leaf, cardboard, grass, etc.)
Corn gluten
Organic weed sprays

I recently lucked into a stirrup hoe at an estate sale: $3. I was thrilled, as I have heard gardeners rave about this hoe.

I went out to try it today. I didn't even know how to use it, so I consulted a video on youtube. Easy. Pull toward oneself, then push away. The two-stroke action pulls out the weed and (the other stroke) polishes it off. Seems a lot easier and less strain on the neck than a regular hoe.

Here's a pic of my $3 bargain:




Cher

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Let's Talk Weeding (Original post)
NJCher Jan 2013 OP
dmosh42 Jan 2013 #1
Curmudgeoness Jan 2013 #2
NRaleighLiberal Jan 2013 #3
Le Taz Hot Jan 2013 #4
Kaleva Jan 2013 #5
jambo101 Jan 2013 #6
NJCher Jan 2013 #7
Agony Jan 2013 #8
Kolesar May 2013 #9
NJCher May 2013 #10

Response to NJCher (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:56 PM

1. Yes, weeding is maybe the most time consuming part of my gardening....

since I stopped using a tiller near the rows where I plant my veggies. I do the laying of cardboard and leaves, which by the end of the summer is a black compost layer. But, usually, , the weed seeds somehow get themselves right up against whatever plants I have, and need to be pulled by hand or hoe. In the beginning and end of seasons I use my nurseryman's hoe, which has a nice long handle, with the head not too big, but can handly move or dig some pretty weighty soil. During the season, with plants having grown, I use my collinear hoe, which cuts to the roots, but not to move much soil. Over the years you can become pretty proficient using these tools, so cover quite an area in a couple of hours. Then maybe do it again in another day or so. But, never let yourself get behind without doing it for a week or so. If only my plants grew as strong and fast as some of these weeds! But I guess it's all part of the gardening thing, and probably better than flogging yourself!

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Response to dmosh42 (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:06 PM

2. Actually, I think it is about the same as flogging yourself.

Ugh. Weeding!

As long as I get out early enough in the year, my hoe (sorry I don't have a special name for what kind it is, I call it a garden hoe???) works well and breaks the soil up nicely. In the early spring, the soil is still moist and workable. Now, if I miss that window of opportunity, it is like breaking up concrete----and that is painful.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:10 PM

3. I used a really effective method last year....

Of course, you still have to hand pull some weeds in the exact rows where the stuff is growing - beans, lettuce, beets, etc but if you keep on top if it, it isn't all that bad. But - between the rows, I put down double layers of newspaper and covered it with fresh grass clippings to a 6 inch depth. It lasted all summer and I had essentially no weeds between my rows. And that left time for hand pulling the weeds growing in the midst of your "good stuff" - each time we mowed, we just kept adding it to the garden. (we don't treat the lawn).

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:05 AM

4. One of the advantages of Square Foot Gardening

is the reduced weeding time. I spend MAYBE 10 minutes a week weeding (by hand) 3 square foot gardens (4' X 4') and about 30 - 35 pots. Just another perspective.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 10:45 AM

5. That's the method I'll be using this year.

I used it before years ago and did find that weeding was a much easier task.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:30 AM

6. I gave up

I had a plot 20X20 in a community garden.The weeds became so prolific and consumed so much time i just gave up the garden and now use just pots on my balcony for growing vegetables, weeds are no longer a problem,my back is thankful..
If a garden is small enough i have seen some people cover the area with a black plastic product,cut small holes and plant their produce,no weeds'
to get my plot looking like this required 6-8 hours a week of weeding..

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Response to jambo101 (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:54 AM

7. aw, jambo, don't give up

there is an easier way. Here it is:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2004-02-01/Ruth-Stouts-System.aspx

Now, of course, the problem is where to get all that mulch. Here's what I do, although I admit this is not for everybody. I think about mulch all the time. i am always on the lookout for materials for it. Unless it's inclement, I spend a little time each day generating mulch and compost. I have all kinds of tricks.

But that's basically what I do: generate lots of mulch and compost and then heap it around the plants. If a weed pops up, I throw more compost on it. It helps to put a brown cardboard layer over the soil, then the compost. Another poster mentioned this upthread.

BTW, that's a nice looking garden, despite the weeds.


Cher

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:29 PM

8. weeding arsenal

I find the collinear (Eliot Coleman) and stirrup hoe most efficient for hand weeding. The collinear is most precise and the replaceable blade version is better because the blade is thinner/sharper. This is great for getting into the beds early while the plants are small and getting a jump on the weeds.

Where less precision is necessary the back and forth motion of the stirrup hoe is a nice rhythm that is easy on the back. I sharpen it with a file or belt sander pretty regularly cuz it works so much better being sharp!

Two techniques you didn't mention are using a flame weeder and my newest favorite - my Lehr propane weed whip!

The flame weeder is different in that you can use it before your seeds emerge to go right over the top of the row - timing is critical - but if you get it right, since you are not disturbing the soil and turning up new weed seeds it is effective for much longer than cultivation. The technique to get the timing right is to put a piece of window glass laid flat right over your newly planted seeds and watch it carefully... the minute you see your vegetable seeds have germinated, flame right over the top of the whole bed (row). The glass acts like a mini-greenhouse and accelerates the germination of your seeds so you can flame weed just BEFORE they will be destroyed. This works best for seeds that are NOT planted shallowly and have a longer germination time. You can also use flame weeding after your crop is emerged by directing the flame away from the plants by walking down the row and directing the flame across to the opposite side just past the plants.

The weed whip is great for recovering from weeds that have gotten out of control and are so large that pulling them out will disturb the veges. It is amazingly accurate, making sure that you are using just the very tip of the trimmer line and with a steady hand you can cut the weeds off right at the ground close to the crop. Pretty hard to describe... just try it. start out slow. Wear goggles!

Of course, I'd prefer to use the tractor and cultivator but there is ALWAYS lots of hand weeding necessary anyway.

Have Fun!
Agony

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Tue May 7, 2013, 02:14 PM

9. Dutch Dewit diamond hoe makes fast work of the weeds

You set the blade down parallel to the soil and slide it around just under the surface of the soil. You hold the handle with a thumbs-up grip and stand up straight. No bending or back strain. I cover 500 square feet of planting beds in about thirty minutes.

The other hoes are shaped for mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow.



http://essentialgardeningtools.com/dewit-dutch-diamond-head-hoe/

I don't pick every weed out and throw it in the aisle. That's wasted work. If that little weed is going to try to regrow, I will hit it again next time.

I also have a dandelion digger for those deep rooted plants that show up. I roto-till the aisles two or three times per year. That old tiller gets harder to start every year, though. Sometimes I hack at the aisle with a cultivator, or throw down cardboard if the vines cut off the aisle. Cardboard is slug habit, so we are careful not to overwater the beds.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #9)

Tue May 7, 2013, 05:40 PM

10. hmmmmm

The tip of this might be ideal for weeding between bricks.


Cher

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