Friday, July 4, 2008

The perfect wheel hoe

This morning I felled some trees and bucked up the wood for splitting, eventually to burn this fall in the woodstove in the old store. I'll have to do this again a few more times. Then in the afternoon I hoed the rows of dry beans, nearly 500 feet of row all told. For years I'd used a stirrup hand hoe, which was effective but tedious; and then one year at an auction I got a wheel hoe cultivator for five dollars, and for some years used that. It was a lot faster and easier, but it didn't do as good a job on the weeds. Then a few years ago at another auction I spent ten dollars and bought a wheel hoe with two slicing blades, and this is the tool I wish I'd had all along. It goes fast, it slices off the weeds just below the ground, and it takes almost no effort to push. The fancy garden tool catalogs advertise "collinear" hand hoes and stirrup wheel hoes at high prices. The collinear hand hoe probably gets a little closer to the plant stems but it would take an hour to do what takes me ten minutes now. I will post a photo of this tool on this blog sometime soon. After the hoeing, I shelled out some more dry beans from last year, Black Coco, and filled about four quarts. It's getting a little dry, which is stressing some of the potatoes, as they have reached the blossom stage and need moisture. The days have been very pleasant, mostly sunny and in the 70s.

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