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Doomsday machine for weeds? it's still a hoe.

If you were a weed, you'd probably encourage gardeners to continue using the traditional American garden hoe. Although this popular hoe can be an effective weeding and cultivating tool, the gardener who uses it often ends up with an aching back, sore arms, and a grumpy disposition.

This tends to discourage frequent forays in the garden. The result: weeds get a chance to send down sturdy roots and produce seeds before the gardener starts whacking at them again.

For help in winning the weeding battle, you might want to consider adding one or more of the hoes shown here to your garden-maintenance arsenal. You will also find that a more specialized hoe can ease such chores as cultivating compacted soil, clearing large overgrown areas, making furrows, and weeding in tight spaces. If you can't find the hoe you want, you can order by mail. For sources and prices of the hoes shown here, see page 220. A scuffle in time

A key to gaining the upper hand over weeds is to nab them before they're big enough to fight back. The scuffle-type hoes pictured on the opposite page are excellent for this. You push or pull the blade to slice off young weeds and to dislodge emerging seedlings. Since these types require no back-wrenching chopping motion, hoeing is less onerous.

Stand fairly upright and keep the hoe blade parallel to the soil surface. Use short, light strokes, slicing just under the soil surface. When chopping works best

Once weeds have reached a hefty size, your best bet is a heavy-duty chopping-type hoe such as the eye hoe (he's swinging one in the large picture opposite).

For best performance in weeding and cultivating, swing the floral and American garden hoes in a smaller arc, slicing into the soil at about a 30[deg.] angle. To get the best results from your hoe

If you're using your hoe for cultivating, be sure the soil is only slightly moist before you start--if it's soggy, it will dry to rock-hard clods. In bone-dry soil, the hoe will probably bounce back with each blow. To avoid walking on the just-cultivated area, walk backwards as you hoe.

Most hoes are sold with dull blades, so you should sharpen them before using them for the first time, and later to maintain the edge (we show how to do this on page 220).
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Date:Jul 1, 1984
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