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Time for a Hoedown

Time for a Hoedown
Posted on 07/06/08 | Posted by The Fat Gardener

They stalk the earth ruining gardens, infesting cracks in walls and patios, spreading their seeds and multiplying quicker than we can destroy them. No, this is not a warning regarding a Martian invasion or a newly germinated superbug, but the humble garden weed!

Hoes are one of the weapons we have in our armoury to fight this hardy and recurring foe. They are not designed to entirely remove the whole plant, rather to remove the foliage before seedheads can form and mature. When you also consider that they can be used for breaking up topsoil, make seed drills and backfill, they have to be one of the most useful garden tools available.

Over time the shape of the hoe has changed and evolved to more efficiently perform the different tasks they are used for. Long gone are the times when the hoe was the sole preserve of the allotment gardener; making seed drills and removing weeds between vegetables. The Dutch hoe and Swoe are now very popular amongst gardeners who often find that regular hoe use is much easier (and quicker) than getting down on the knees and removing all a weed’s roots with a hand fork.

Hoeing, is not however just for those of us short of weeding time. A Warren hoe is a perfect hoe for those of us who plant a large amount of annuals by seed directly sowing into the border. The sharp point of the hoe makes a perfect seed drill, whilst turning the hoe on its side gives an edge with which to backfill. The Clarice Flower hoe is also much in demand as a great miniature hoe that works on a push/pull action and is small enough to remove weeds from between individual stems. For those gardeners who prefer to use a ‘chopping’ motion when hoeing, then a Scotch or a Draw hoe is the perfect choice. These are also great hoes for building up mulch or compost around the base of ornamental shrubs and roses.

So whether you grow vegetables, have flower borders, (or a bit of both) then one or two good hoes should never be far away!

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