What's the Best Small Weeding tool/technique?

Hi all,
I've got a very small 8ft by 8ft garden that has tomato and bean plants. My problem is that for some reason each year thousands of little grass type of weeds pop up. They are difficult to get to do to sheer number and closeness to the other veggie plants.
Is there a small weeding tool that might help? Or do you have any recommendations. It seems I'll weed one day and they have returned the next. :(
P.S. I saw this little tool that looked like a serrated Sickle(sp) that had a fork at the end that is for small weeding. would that amount to anything?
Many thanks!
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A garden hoe will do the job and it will help aerate your garden in the process.
Hoes come in many styles and sizes.
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Thanks, this will sound dumb I am sure, but the hoe I do have is a 3 tine(?) fork sort of device. is that what you mean? Or a flat blade? I am just not sure how to use either to get rid of these things.
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Have you considered mulching? Lay several layers of newspaper on the ground (wet it with the hose to keep it from blowing as you work), then cover with grass clippings or straw. This is very effective, looks neat, and helps conserve moisture in the ground. Then you will only need to weed right next to the plants, and as they grow and shade weed seedlings out, you should have little or no weeding to do.
Cheers, Sue
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On Tue, 25 May 2004 15:28:23 GMT, SugarChile

That's a great idea. I have plenty of newspaper and grass clippings. Must I weed first?
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I like to do some weeding, just to get the big stuff so the paper will lie more or less flat, but it's not crucial. If you have large established perennial weeds, like burdock or poke, it's good to dig them out, as they can sometimes push through. But for the most part, no, you don't need to weed first. Make sure to overlap the layers of newspaper, and if your grass clippings are still green and wet, use thin layers and let them dry so they don't mat up and get stinky.
Sue
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My favorite weeding tool is a good paring knife. This allows me to cut the roots below the soil and lift the weed out. It's very good for small spaces and for weeds growing between bricks or through pavement cracks.
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My favorite when I'm doing stand up weeding is this sort of hoe: http://www.plantea.com/weeding-tips-part2.htm -- called a stirrup hoe or a scuffle hoe. For close-in work, I like something that looks sort of like a hunting knife: http://www.naturehills.com/new/product/accessories_productpage.aspx?proid55 (price is way out of line, though!)

Mulch. A couple three inches of dried grass, straw (not hay) or even multiple layers of newspaper will do it. The secret to not having to weed is canopy closure, and when the canopy is open when your plants are young, the weeds will sprout. Give 'em some artificial shade with mulch.
Classic book on mulch gardening: Ruth Stout's How to Have A Green Thumb Without an Aching Back. Most libraries should have a copy in the system.

Might. Anything that fits your hands and the way you use your muscles and gives you enough control that you're not going to do in your string beans while trying to nab a mile a minute vine will do nicely. In fact, it's good to have several weeding tools and switch off so all muscles get a bit of work, and nothing gets overused.
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I really like this hoe from Lee Valley: http://tinyurl.com/2h4by
With the small blade I have good control and get as close as I want. It's also ideal for weeding large mulched areas with weeds scattered here and there; all the while standing up with a straight back, no stooping.
Max
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On 26 May 2004 07:07:19 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Max) wrote:

I usually pen up a few of my geese (brown china) in my garden after the plants get some size to them, and they dop a mavelous job of ridding all weeds.........after the initial burst of new weeds in the spring, and the geese have things under control, I mulch it heavily before itgets really hot out in this area, and I am pretty well weedfree in the veggie garden the rest of the season. Have yet to have planated plants get eaten by my geese, as they prefer nice young tender greens be it grass or weeds, so once a plant is approx 6" tall in come the geese.
I do use a typical garden hoe on occasion and have tried that stirrup type, but found it cumbersome or awkward, for me at least. I did make a home brew hoe out of an old machette blade that broke ata the handle. Its on a pole attached at about an 80 deg angle and is approximately 7" long, which is great for slicing under the soils and cutting those roots. Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wifes, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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wrote:

plants.
grass
number and

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and
Utilizing the geese is a great idea. And you get the added benefit of them fertilizing your garden at the same time. :)
Brigitte
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On Tue, 25 May 2004 13:24:03 +0000, Blarneystone wrote:

Imho the bestlittle weeder tool is a hula hoe hands down. With regular use most all weeds will be gone. Takes little time and effort to use. I use one in my business everyday. Here's what they look like:
http://www.seedsofchange.com/garden_center/product_details.asp?item_no=S12394
Cheaper ones can be found other places.
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Thanks again all for the great suggestions! I'm going to look around town for some hula weeders and such.
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wrote:

After reading all of the advise in this thread, I decided to purchase a stirrup/hula hoe. Someone mentioned sharpening it. The one I purchased, and all the ones I looked at were not at all sharp. Rather dull and more of a rounded surface. Is this how they are intended to be? Seems it would work much better if it were sharp. I should I sharpen it? I have a large file, would that work?
Thanks, Brigitte

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Hi,

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purchased,
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No. You should not sharpen it.
I do not use hula hoe before, but for what I know, all tools that work in the soil will become dull in no time. Sharpening just a waste of time.
Instead of the sharp angle, the blade should be round, especially when there is some small stone in the soil. This work best for soil tools, also are the shape it will develop itself after using sometime.
Regards, Wong
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On Sat, 29 May 2004 11:23:37 -0500, Brigitte J. wrote:

I sharpen all my weeders and shovels. To sharpen the hula hoe, flat sharpen the bottom of the tool and angle sharpen the inside edge of the tool. Do not give the tools too sharp of an edge. This will only dull with use and the thin edge will chip and bend. I also suggest that you sharpen your shovels. A light edge on the schoop side of the shovel will make it a lot easier to dig with.
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Low-tech method: wet the ground thoroughly, then rip them up by their little roots. Or maybe combine the two methods? zemedelec
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purchased,
more
a
What should I sharpen the tools with?
Brigitte
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On Sun, 30 May 2004 17:22:00 +0000, Brigitte J. wrote:

When I'm out in the field and away from the shop, I use a flat file. A medium to fine file will do great. When I can't find the flat file in the tool bucket (employees never put stuff back where it goes...) ,I use my rat tail file (chain saw file). When I'm at the shop, I use my angle grinder or bench grinder. What ever works better for the tool.
I would suggest that you do an experiment with your hula hoe. Buy one and weed a little with it. Put a bit of an edge on it and weed again and see the difference for yourself. It maynot be a big difference for you and you may choose not to sharpen it in the furture. I also suggest that you do the same to your shovel.
When using the hoe, push forward for the first cut and pull back for the second cut. The second cut should be a little deeper if you can. Work a few square feet, stop hoeing and get your bow rake out. Rake up your weeds and look for the few that didn't come out or for the ones you missed. In a veggi garden, I tend to dig a two foot deep (if space allows) and I dump all the annual weeds into it and cover. Ya got to feed the worms, right? lol
Good luck and enjoy the hula hoe.....
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On 5/29/04 9:23 AM, in article mM2uc.13715$ snipped-for-privacy@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com,

Hi Brigitte I'm sure there are several different styles of stirrup hoes (also called push-pull hoe, scuffle hoe). The one I recommend is fairly sharp and the stirrup and blade move a little on the wooden handle. (The blade and holder 'rocks' a little). I have seen this one used on farms and bought one just recently. It works! If the one you bought is not sharp I don't think it is the one I have described above. But then just what is 'sharp'? Someone mentioned a site http://www.plantea.com/weeding-tips-part2.htm There is a picture on this site of the hoe I, and someone else, recommend. You have to scroll down to find it. It is under the heading "More Cool Tool Tips". It is clearly identified as a scuffle or stirrup hoe. Does the hoe you bought look like this one? If not, keep looking. You won't be sorry. Good luck Gary Fort Langley BC Canada
PS: You can subscribe to a newsletter from Marion Owen (on site mentioned above). I find it very informative...the info for the newsletter is on the bottom of her site.
To reply please remove...yoursocks...
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