The right tool for the right job

As day and nighttime temperatures rise, so too does the population of weeds in the garden. Frankly, it is not the ones in the lawn that frustrate me much, but rather the unwanted plants in the flower beds. Aside from being an eyesore, they compete for nutrition and moisture that is rightfully meant for the cultivated plants. In fact, in quite a few of our of flower beds, clusters of wild onions and garlic, some fairly tall, are trying to overshadow the shorter plants, while the low-growing weeds, like the chickweed, seem to have no bounds and, unless eradicated from the root, come right back!

Although fairly time consuming, as well as strenuous, except for an occasional use of Round Up, I prefer to tackle the weeds manually, because, in addition to giving me a chance to get some fresh air and exercise, I find the mundane task of weeding – believe it or not – a way of calming the mind.

For the wild onions, garlic and other deep-rooted weeds, my old-yet-dependable dandelion tool has still proven to be very effective, as it removes from the ground the entire bulb or the root, as the case may be. For the shallow-rooted ones, I have discovered this year a new tool that might very well change my perspective towards weeding. Sold by a vendor at a master gardener’s mini-college I attended recently, the tool listed as the “Japanese Hand Hoe” is not a bargain by any means. But, upon using it, I am convinced that it is definitely worth the price.

Somewhat different from the usual hoes, the blade of this one, which, by the way, is quite sharp, is attached at a right angle to the handle, making it possible to scrape the weeds off the ground. Moreover, the pointed tip can be used to aerate the soil around the plants; needless to say, I am excited about being able to perform two tasks at the same time with the same tool!

Tools, obviously, play rather an important role in a gardener’s routine; therefore, it is necessary every now and then to inventory the tool shed and discard those that are either defective or have become worn during the course of time. Not only are such tools inefficient, but they can be unsafe to use.


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