To Hoe or not to Hoe: Pimp Your Hoe



It is easy to think during this month that you are on top of things. The vegetables have got away and the flowers are doing what they do best, flowering but be wary because this is the month that will catch you out. You’ll stop and admire your growing garden or allotment, you will pat yourself on the back, others will pat you on the back but all the time things are growing, fast. Plants know before you do that there is only a short time to do what they need to do, grow and set seed. They are powering up for a positively randy summer, taking on all bees and pollen. 


Remember that plants are not just vegetables and flowers, they also include weeds. Weeds are more geared up, rampantly sexual; the village bikes of the garden. 

This month will throw everything at you, rain, wind, late frosts and baking days. Do take advantage of those warm days and get those weeds when they are mere seedlings and slice down the annual weeds with a sharp hoe, watch them wither in the sun. There are two types of hoe, the draw and cutting hoe also known as the Dutch hoe. There are some great producers of hoes from a high end Dutch hoe (http://www.burgonandball.com) to a cheap but cheerful workhorse draw hoe (http://www.tooled-up.com). You can also find second hand garden tools on car boots, and with a bit of elbow grease they polish up beautifully.

My advice is to grub out the perennial weeds with a fork or a daisy grubber (£8.95 from Burgon and Ball). Do dead head the dandelions before digging them out and make sure you get all those roots or they’ll just come back. A word of warning, don’t compost perennial weeds, you will just have a compost heap full of these little darlings just waiting to get out into open soil and spread. For those of you who don’t know, perennial weeds are weeds that come back year in year out and they are bullies, they take over a garden in a matter of a season, whereas annual weeds live and die in the same season but still spread quickly and are still bullies. One weed ignored for one summer becomes a thousand next summer.

All is not lost though. Try dumping the freshly dug out perennial weeds into a bucket of water, cover and leave for a fortnight and use the liquor you find as feed. All you need to do is fill a watering can as you normally do from a tap or water butt and top up the final quarter with this weed liquor, normally a foul smelling brown colour so be warned! It does make a great feed. Afterwards place the spent perennial weeds in your council green bin or burn.


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