My Favorite Tools for Weeding
Happiest Monday to you! If you've been following along for the past few weeks, you know that I have been talking endlessly about weeds. Ugh! They are taking over. Such is life when you have a brand new plot for planting and refuse to use any weed killers. They're just going to happen, and that means mechanical control methods are your best bet to beating those pest plants. Now, I am a firm believer in preventative measures first before even having to look into weeding tools. Things like mulch or landscape fabric are great at helping keep the weed population down. Sometimes that just doesn't happen! Ground covers can be expensive and a lot to deal with. For our farm, we chose to go with mulch this year. It was cheaper than all of the fancy farm tools I want and less of a hassle than using landscape fabric, though not by much. You can read more about why I love mulch here.
The reason our weed growth was out of the park was because I am really the only one out there working for a majority of the day. I honestly don't think it would be this bad if the spring hadn't been so late for us, with the long winter and the fact that we had to cut out the entire plot, too. If I could have planted earlier, than I would have had more time to get my foot in the door on those weeds. Instead, I just finished - I mean just finished - planting the last of my crops. Phew! It's already June. My plan was to be done by mid-May. Note to self: plans always go wrong!
But it happened. The weeds came, and we picked them all. I wanted to share with you some of the new tools that I've bought this year to help manage the jungle as well as some of the tools I really want to get in the future to help cut out the weeds and prevent them in the first place. The ones that I want are pretty pricey - but that's okay. They're an investment! Tools are great. But I still think that bare hands are the best tools for weeding. I don't use gloves out in the garden. They're a pain. Bulky, clumsy, and anything but precise.
Cape Cod Weeder
I have had this tool for two seasons now, and I still love it! The cape cod weeder is a small hand tool that's perfect for precision weeding in tight spaces and small gardens. It was my best friend last summer in my smaller garden. I honestly think that it probably fits better in that setting over where I am at now. But I do like it for a field operation if I am out making rounds and spot a stray weed in between some vegetables. It works, too, if you don't feel like getting super dirty and just want to do a bit of short work. The sharper it is the better, and I will say that about all of the tools ahead. Get yourself a sharpening stone to keep this thing like a knife. If it becomes dull, the blade will not work as well. This particular weeder is by DeWit, and I think all of their tools come ready to go once they arrive. If you go for a cheaper option (this tool is pricey) then you'll want to sharpen it consistently. I would just bite the bullet and get this one because it lasts for a long time and has a warranty! To use it, just scrape underneath the root and slice forward. It should pull the weed up or cut it off at the head. If the weeds are thin, I just leave them behind and throw mulch on top. They become mulch themselves!
Narrow Collinear Hoe
That's a mouthful! I was not sure what to call this particular hoe, and I don't even think the one I am using is specifically that. There are too many fancy names for me to keep up with! In my mind this is called the "Small Precise Hoe" (heh) and works so well. I borrowed a similar one from my good friends and neighbors, Red Barn Organic Farm, and fell in love. Theirs had a much thinner head than mine, which was the closest thing I could find in town. It looked a lot like this version from Johnny's Selected Seeds! This hoe needs to be so sharp to work well. Get a grinding stone or sharpening stone for it! Because it is small, it can weave in and out between plants. The sharpness acts like a blade in slicing weeds right off. For big coverage areas, I like a long handled tool much better than a hand tool, and my back likes it too. If you want something that you can use standing that works as well as the Cape Cod Weeder, then get this one! Small, precise, sharp. Works great!
Stirrup hoes are amazing! They make weeding faster and extremely efficient as you can push or pull. With the open hole through the center, like a saddle's stirrups, it cuts weeds just below the soil surface and pulls them up. This ensure that the plant fully dies and does come back. I like that! The only thing I don't like about the stirrup hoe is that the soil has to be completely dry, at least a few days dry, to work well. As you can see, we just took these photos to showcase the tools. I would never weed with this tool the day after it rained! It just gets muddy and gross. Even two days from now it might still be too wet and soft out there. I also find this tool bulky in comparison to the collinear hoe. You can really get in between plants with it! But if you are looking for something that's cheaper than a motorized tool/fancier tool and can weed bulk areas than try this!
Flame Torch Weeder
MY FAVORITE! Now the glasses are coming on! I shared on Instagram that I had bought a flame weeder a few weeks back, which is what inspired this post. So many of you wanted to know more information about the flame weeder! It's a handheld torch (though there is a really cool push version that I want for next year!) that connects to a small propane tank, which I pull on a dolly. My weeder is the Red Dragon Vapor Torch, which I bought on Amazon. It was the best quality for a lower priced one. There are some out there worth hundreds. I think this one works really well for what I need it to do, and I have not had any issues with it.
What is a flame weeder? Basically you light it (mine came with a squeeze valve) by connecting to the propane. Turn the flame up, which can get up to 2,000 degrees F. It uses pure fire to burn weeds that whither and die within 24 hours. This works best if you flame weed in the evening/early morning and let the sun fry the plant for the majority of the day. It will turn brown and fall over. Flame weeding can really trick you because it only take 1/10th of second to kill the plant. It becomes shiny, dulls out, then falls over. It will, however, still be green. This makes you feel like it didn't work! Oh, it did! Just give it a day or two. Once it dries up then you can either leave it there or hoe it up. I just leave them there to act as a natural carbon source unless the weeds are really thick. This is an all natural way of bulk weeding large spaces and is organic. Yay! It does take just as long to do this as it does to weed by hand, sometimes longer, because you have to pay more attention and if the weeds are thick then you'll be spending a decent amount of time in one spot. But that doesn't bother me at all - I don't have to use as much physical labor! Plus in a bulk situation, my knees are usually killing after 30 minutes. At most, I have to go over an area twice within the span of a week before the weeds are gone for good!
There you have it! All of the weeding tools that I love using. There are a few on the market that I would like to invest in. Of course, there a bit on the expensive side and are also geared towards large fields and market garden production. As a home gardener, a simple and well-made hand tool can be just as amazing. Here are a few of the tools that I am looking at for next year:
I hope you are having a lovely season in the garden! Are there any weeding tools that you swear by? Let me know in the comments!