Ever the comedian, in Blazing Saddles form, Doug walked around the local farm store asking salespeople, “Where da hoes at?” He was met with eyes lighting up and laughter. I cut down a different aisle. Alas, we live in a small town and everyone knows who I belong to. One salesman turned a corner, saw me, and said, “You hoeing around this weekend?” Laughter. Men. Gotta love them.
Since I dug up the whole front yard and side yard I have over tripled my garden space. I have no desire, nor the time, to hand weed and my small spade just isn’t cutting it this year. I remember reading one my favorite books (which somehow missed the list of my Top 10 Garden Books), “Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology” by Eric Brende. He was trying to weed his extensive pumpkin patch when an Amish fellow showed him how to use a hoe. I figured I needed a hoe too.
The weeds are ever so happy this year, joyous, dancing, that I am watering daily and for the rain. The sun makes them stand up and shout, and I am feeling a bit like the Headless Horseman, or the Queen of Hearts, “Off with his head!”
It really takes little effort to use the hoe. Your frame doesn’t really move, but stays upright and with simple flicks of the elbows the hoe shoots out, chops through the weeds, or in the case of smaller weeds, dislodges them from their soil source. You will have to do this at least once a week because there are thousands of weed seeds because, guess what?, they are the native plants here. Not the heirloom warty pumpkin. Even pulling the weeds from their roots (which is sometimes necessary) will pull up a hundred more of the buggers in its place. The weed battle shall never be won. Much like laundry and dishes.
But that is what organic farming is all about. Weeds love organic farms, so do bugs. So do I. So I lose up to 30% of my seeds to hungry birds. The rest of the Swiss Chard to the leaf miners. Last years roses to grasshoppers. But what I do get is delicious produce that feeds and fuels us and our customers. Packed with nutrients, and not packed with pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides! I’ll opt for the hoe. My biceps are looking pretty nice and I don’t mind being known as the girl hoeing around town.