Garden Maintenance Methods: Weeding Tools for the Herb Garden

| August/September 2011

Excerpted from Homegrown Herbs©2011, by Tammi Hartung, with permissions from Storey Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.  

There are several tools that I feel are invaluable in the task of weeding:

Hori hori. Sometimes called a Japanese weeder, this is a 6- to 8-inch narrowly tapered hand spade with toothed edges. It easily digs, pries and saws weeds out of existence. It is our primary tool of choice. It also doubles as a planting trowel and harvesting tool for roots and whole plants.

Winged weeder. I have a hand-size winged weeder and one on a long handle to use as I would a hoe. This tool has a triangular blade that looks like a kite at the end of a curved neck. The long sides of the triangle are sharp. You work this tool just on the soil surface, going into the soil ½ to 1 inch. The shape enables you to get very close to the base of garden plants, and the sharp edges cut off weeds as you go. This is a fast-weeding tool that also cultivates the soil a bit to keep it nice and loose.

Hands. By far the best tools for weeding are your hands. Nothing is more efficient, because they can perform a great variety of functions.

Traditional hoes and stirrup hoes are also useful for weeding. A traditional hoe has a long handle and a flat metal blade on a curved neck. As the tool is moved across the soil surface, the edge of the blade (which is usually sharpened) cuts off the weeds at the base of the stem. Stirrup hoes work in exactly the same way, but they are lighter because their metal blade isn’t solid. This makes them a bit less tiring to use. All types of hoes do double duty as they also break up compacted soils.

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