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blacbird
06-15-2012, 07:19 AM
The hoe.

At least where I live. The principal weedy pest is something called chickweed, which is like micro-kudzu, and will simply take over a garden plot unless you get down on your hands and knees and pull each of the bastards from the soil. The hoes does more harm than good, because this scourge of evolution simply re-roots itself in about ten seconds, as near as I can tell. And the microscopic seeds are known to remain viable in soil for centuries, according to studies.

The only saving grace it has is that it is a relative of spinach, and the leaves are edible, good in salads, or cooked. The latter is my revenge.

caw

icerose
06-15-2012, 07:23 PM
One thing you can do is cure your garden soil. It takes some effort but you build a heat box, put a layer of soil in it and cook it for a couple of days. That kills all seeds in the soil. Then you mix it with your compost to get your good bacteria back and put it in your garden.

I can't think of any useless garden tools at the moment, I haven't had my own garden ever so that could be part of it and after trying this year and having my dogs eat it all and discovering I don't have enough decent exposure on any part of my tiny lot, it doesn't look like it's going to happen soon.

backslashbaby
06-16-2012, 01:07 AM
Hoes are useless here, too. With the clay soil we have, all hoes do is leave all the roots to sprout again within the week. Our pesky weeds have roots like a parsnip, and Bermuda grass has an entire maze of underground runners.

I have to wait until there's a really good few days of rain and then pull them by hand. I also spot-use herbicides in bed edges, although I wish I didn't ever have to. The stuff will take over the universe, though, if it stays!

Fenika
06-16-2012, 01:23 AM
Keep in mind herbicides will poison and slow all plants, which is why I'm nominating it for most worthless ;)

Have you tried weed clothes on the sides?

I love getting down and close to my garden so I don't use a ton of tools aside from bed prep. It sure is hard on the back and arms though.

backslashbaby
06-16-2012, 01:34 AM
Yeah, my back problem is a major stumbling block, but I do a bunch of work sitting very close (on my butt) and getting all muddy :D

I haven't found anything that Bermuda grass can't get under :( I do usually try to hand-pull all the invading runners on muddy days. If you get them right, you can pull out feet at a time.

But the stuff is a lot like bamboo. Whoever thought of using it here in the South is just bonkers, I think!

blacbird
06-16-2012, 08:15 AM
One thing you can do is cure your garden soil. It takes some effort but you build a heat box, put a layer of soil in it and cook it for a couple of days.

I have a vegetable garden consisting of five 8X4' and one 8X6' raised beds, and two large flower beds in front of the house. Cooking that soil would take 50X the amount of work it takes to weed it.

No way in the galaxy will "weed clothes" prevent this plant from sprouting.

No, this weekend is major chickweed-extinction work. doused with a gallon of mosquito repellent. But the minor plus is that the stuff is a relative of spinach and completely edible, and good, raw or cooked. I'm cooking some of it with other vegetables as I post this.

caw

Xelebes
06-16-2012, 09:24 AM
I've used the hoe more for landscaping than I have gardening. Although my dad uses the hoe to plant potatoes.

Weeding has always been a by-hand thing. Never tried using a hoe to weed.

Teinz
06-16-2012, 01:02 PM
The hoe useless? I depend on it!

After all my veggies have sprouted, I use the hoe to create a dry and loose toplayer of soils in which nothing germinates. No weeds anymore.

Kerosene
06-16-2012, 01:06 PM
The hoe useless? I depend on it!

Same here.

Having a large garden calls for a tool that can uproot weeds, till the soil, create water spillways and much more. God, I can clear the garden of weeds in thirty minuted rather then five hours with my hands.

RobJ
06-16-2012, 01:13 PM
The hoe is great around here. The most useless thing in our garden is my wife's husband.

frimble3
06-17-2012, 04:02 AM
So far this year, it's been the hose/sprinkler. It's raining again.
On one hand, everthings lovely and green. Including the rocks, the fences, the furniture. I assume the reason the squirrels move so fast is so the moss and algae doesn't get a grip on them, as well. Maybe that's why they scratch themselves so much?

Tepelus
06-17-2012, 05:06 AM
Hey frimble, send some of that rain east. Sure could use some.

The hoe is useless for me, too. I don't have a veggie garden, so if I did I probably would use it between rows. I grow ornamental plants and wildflowers where hand weeding is my only option. I try to pack in as many plants as I can in a bed so they choke the weeds out--less to have to pull. But until the plants grow in, I have to hand weed. And this year the weeds are winning. I just haven't been in the gardening mood this year. At all. Which is very unusual for me. Not even taking pictures of my plants. Even more unusual. Just not feeling it this year, and I know I'm going to regret it.

Xelebes
06-17-2012, 07:16 AM
Hey frimble, send some of that rain east. Sure could use some.

We are.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e395/mpower4life/Picture1.png

[Credit: edm_guy from Skyscraperpage (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=5735299&postcount=2057)]

frimble3
06-17-2012, 07:59 AM
Yeah, the trick is getting it over the mountains to Edmonton for re-shipping.
Nice picture, that's why my sister loves Alberta, those big clear skies. She doesn't seem to mind the sub-zero-ness of it, but the gray, drab months (yes, I'm talkin' 'bout you, June!) out on the Coast drive her crazy!

kikazaru
06-17-2012, 08:49 AM
If you want a completely safe, non-toxic weed killer, try boiling water. Fill up a carafe of boiling water take it to where you need it and pour it on, it will kill the weed and it's root.

My dad has a steam cleaner that I keep thinking might work as well and may have to borrow sometime, although I think that the creeping charlie has me defeated.

Xelebes
06-17-2012, 09:34 AM
Yeah, the trick is getting it over the mountains to Edmonton for re-shipping.
Nice picture, that's why my sister loves Alberta, those big clear skies. She doesn't seem to mind the sub-zero-ness of it, but the gray, drab months (yes, I'm talkin' 'bout you, June!) out on the Coast drive her crazy!

June has been gray too. Probably a few more storms and tornadoes than you guys, though.

frimble3
06-17-2012, 11:52 AM
June has been gray too. Probably a few more storms and tornadoes than you guys, though.
"Any" is more tornadoes than us. :D

sulong
06-17-2012, 07:26 PM
If you want a completely safe, non-toxic weed killer, try boiling water. Fill up a carafe of boiling water take it to where you need it and pour it on, it will kill the weed and it's root.

Yeah, boiling water works well. I use it on my driveway, walkways, and places where pin-point accuracy is needed.

I'm not sure how it would work in a broad-cast type environment though. Likely sterilize the whole area if it did work.

I generally pour about 12oz or so on each target. But I have no idea if smaller amounts of the boiling water would be just as effective. Maybe I'll give myself a project to determine just how much boiling water is actually needed to be effective. - or maybe not.

AndreaGS
06-27-2012, 11:19 PM
Ooh! Boiling water! I'm going to have to try that. We have some odd type of (bright green) grass that keeps popping up in our mulch, and it is really difficult to pull. It has a hollow stem with several layers, so if you don't grip it hard enough or low enough, you just pull off the outer layer and it's free to pop up again later.

We don't own a hoe. Definitely useless.

Shadow_Ferret
06-27-2012, 11:27 PM
Yeah, I thought the hoe was for turning and loosening soil. It's not designed to dig weeds.

backslashbaby
06-28-2012, 12:39 AM
We use pick-axes on our soil, seriously :ROFL:

Actually, I could see a hoe in the garden rows, where the soil is already cultivated and mulched. So that's why my grandmother had them, huh? I sit, not stand, so it's still pretty useless to me :)

CalebJMalcom
07-27-2012, 07:37 PM
I use my hoe to break the soil for planting. For weeding. I pull the weeds out, break off the roots and throw the plant back down. Eventually I build up enough dead weeds in between rows that it mulches (thus repressing seeds) and helps replenish the soil.

PorterStarrByrd
07-27-2012, 07:46 PM
Hoes are great ... my candidate is any tool that costs less than three bucks. It'll tease you by doing its job for a short while before the Chinese implement breaks off of the Chinese handle.

eeplants
08-03-2012, 02:25 AM
For me I use my bare hands in pulling out the weeds. The hoe doesn't really do much of a help than making the situation even worse.

Jamesaritchie
09-26-2012, 10:10 PM
I love a hoe. You just have to be willing to use it long enough and often enough. I've never found anything a hoe can't keep out of a garden, except for people willing to actually use a hoe.

Depending on the size of the garden, you just put in time, and the hoe does the trick. One hour every evening keeps our garden whistle clean.

blacbird
09-27-2012, 12:57 AM
You live in Indiana, James. I grew up in Iowa. Soils there are exceptionally easy to work, highly fertile, and the major weeds are easy to get up.

Not anything like that here in Alaska. Unless you grow everything in pots, you have to deal not only with the prolific vining chickweed, there's also now the invasive and even worse Siberian crown vetch, and raspberries, which produce underground roots tough as high-tension wires. Those you have trouble cutting with a sharp shovel and a lot of work. I have at times used hatchets on them.

In my garden, a hoe is as useless as a plastic spoon. No, wait, I can use plastic spoons for plant markers.

caw

Teinz
10-01-2012, 09:12 PM
You live in Indiana, James. I grew up in Iowa. Soils there are exceptionally easy to work, highly fertile, and the major weeds are easy to get up.

Not anything like that here in Alaska. Unless you grow everything in pots, you have to deal not only with the prolific vining chickweed, there's also now the invasive and even worse Siberian crown vetch, and raspberries, which produce underground roots tough as high-tension wires. Those you have trouble cutting with a sharp shovel and a lot of work. I have at times used hatchets on them.

In my garden, a hoe is as useless as a plastic spoon. No, wait, I can use plastic spoons for plant markers.

caw

Our soil is a heavy clay, which is hard to break up, but a breeze when maintained properly. The only really unclearable weed we have is Balsam, an invasive species.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himalayan_Balsam

Once you get that shit garden, be prepared to move to another house.

Old Hack
10-02-2012, 10:40 AM
Heat-sterilising your soil is going to kill off all the bacteria and little animals which keep your soil friable and alive: it's really only a good idea for compost, and not for soil beds. It's not the best way to proceed.

And the most useless gardening implement? According to my boys, anything that's not a digger or a tractor. They like their machinery.

Jamesaritchie
11-12-2012, 09:18 PM
You live in Indiana, James. I grew up in Iowa. Soils there are exceptionally easy to work, highly fertile, and the major weeds are easy to get up.

Not anything like that here in Alaska. Unless you grow everything in pots, you have to deal not only with the prolific vining chickweed, there's also now the invasive and even worse Siberian crown vetch, and raspberries, which produce underground roots tough as high-tension wires. Those you have trouble cutting with a sharp shovel and a lot of work. I have at times used hatchets on them.

In my garden, a hoe is as useless as a plastic spoon. No, wait, I can use plastic spoons for plant markers.

caw

I've used hoes in a lot of states, and on some seriously hard ground.

The trouble, I think, is that too many buy those cheap, light, WalMart type hoes. They're useless for early season work. You use them after the garden has nothing left but the plants you want. Few understand that a good hoe is heavy, and that you have to keep the blade sharp. A good hoe, properly sharpened, can cut through a tree root, which is something I've had to do many times when first clearing a garden. I've also cleared a lot of raspberry roots with a hoe.

The real trick, however, is not letting anything take root in a garden that you don't want there. A good garden is de-weeded below root level before you plant anything, and it's then worked twice per day to keep everything out that doesn't belong there.

My garden starts with a tractor, which cuts out anything and everything. Then the disc, then the sifting, and there isn't much left. Work the garden twice per day after planting, and nothing has a chance of taking hold.

Even in Indiana, if you let some things take root, or let more than a day go by without clearing, you can run into problems.

Mr Flibble
11-13-2012, 04:17 AM
Which type of hoe are we talking here? Dutch hoe or drawing hoe? (by which I mean this (http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?hl=en&client=firefox-a&sa=X&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&biw=1366&bih=596&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=6g1XYiGPmY4EbM:&imgrefurl=http://www.cyprusupdates.com/2011/04/robbery-by-gardening-hoe/&docid=91NgUUoLoC18JM&imgurl=http://www.cyprusupdates.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Garden_Hoe-546x387.png&w=546&h=387&ei=R5GhUJmhOMSm0AXVyYHoDA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=117&vpy=260&dur=416&hovh=189&hovw=267&tx=162&ty=58&sig=102800415412649872156&page=3&tbnh=135&tbnw=180&start=44&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:31,s:20,i:226))

A drawing hoe is pretty handy and, like James say, if it's sharp it can cut through a lot and is great for digging drills, turning over soil etc even in heavy soil (I live on clay that only has to see a raindrop to get clogged). I've taken out pretty well grown bushes with one of those. Dutch hoes are good for light soils/taking off newly rooted weeds in well worked soil.

blacbird
11-13-2012, 09:37 AM
My garden starts with a tractor, which cuts out anything and everything. Then the disc, then the sifting, and there isn't much left. Work the garden twice per day after planting,

In other words, you're a farmer, not a gardener. Not many people have time, space or equipment to work at this level.

At this point, however, my garden would require dynamite. In another month, maybe something thermonuclear. Meantime, below, those raspberries are putting forth roots about half-an-inch a day, and Alaska raspberries are tough sonsabitches by spring thaw. Like I said, I've used a hatchet on some of those roots.


and nothing has a chance of taking hold.

And obviously you have no familiarity with Alaskan chickweed.

caw

Bushrat
11-14-2012, 06:38 AM
Not anything like that here in Alaska. Unless you grow everything in pots, you have to deal not only with the prolific vining chickweed, there's also now the invasive and even worse Siberian crown vetch, and raspberries, which produce underground roots tough as high-tension wires. Those you have trouble cutting with a sharp shovel and a lot of work. I have at times used hatchets on them.

Hey neighbour, we're on the BC/Yukon border and have raised beds lined with vapour barrier. Won't get anything creeping up from below that way. Also, we're religious mulchers, so between that, the vapour barrier and weeding when stuff is still small, I don't find weeds a big deal :)

Patrick.S
03-08-2013, 05:30 PM
I use either a stirrup or collinear hoe on the morning of a hot day. It cuts the weeds off at the base rather than uprooting them. The sun wilts the weeds that are uprooted and they don't re-root. I never hoe on a wet day, only hand weed into a bucket.

Liralen
03-09-2013, 07:30 PM
For most useless garden tool I nominate the Mantis tiller. It's so lightweight that unless the soil's already broken up thoroughly it simply bounces up and down. It is effective, though, for beating the hell out of the operator.