Actually, I’ve got two. And yes, I find it hard to use the word “hoe” with a straight face….
Today at the garden store, purchasing what I think has turned out to be far too much compost, I also invested in a pair of hoes–a little one, for any of my small garden assistants, and one for me. We have three biggish beds that are pretty solid weeds at the moment, and are destined for pumpkins, squash and corn, and I had a vague idea that a hoe was something one used in weeding.
Driving home, I realized…I have no idea how to actually use a hoe. Do you? I envisioned sort of digging the weed out with it, like a mini shovel, but a closer look and a little thought made it plain that wasn’t going to work. So I did what any modern gardener would do: I googled it. Not surprisingly, a number of the results I got were .uk, but I’ve read my share of Angela Thirkell and had no trouble translating “allotment” and “sterling”, but still found myself at a loss–there was much information about when to hoe, and how often, and even how to space one’s plants to allow for easy hoeing, but nothing truly definitive until I found this:
Use the garden hoe to slice into the soil around weeds. Raise the garden hoe up, so that the blade is out away from your body (either to your left or right side) and approximately at shoulder-height. Then swing the blade down towards the ground and slightly back towards your body, striking the ground at approximately a 45-degree angle. Ideally, you’ll penetrate the soil deeply enough to get under the roots and lift out the whole weed, roots and all.
So I’m to swing the hoe down, decapitate the weeds, avoid hitting my ankle, remove weed tops, repeat. I have to admit I have my doubts about this. If you leave the roots, won’t the clover, grass and dandelions just pop right back up?
Heh. Go forth and hoe.