The weather has finally turned drier this past few days and my father can get to do what he really finds most satisfying: hoeing. He has always said this is his most rewarding job in the garden so I have had a few attempts over the last few weeks to see where the pleasure lies.
The ground definitely needs to be devoid of dampness to make sure that those pesky weeds are left high and dry. When conditions are conducive I can easily see why this is such a rewarding exercise. You are basically buffing up your garden without getting on your hands and knees to do it. But you do have to be careful: that hoe is a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands and in the wrong bed. At the week-end he decided to hoe some of the herbaceous borders, without realising that we had sowed some seeds in parts of them. And for myself, when hoeing around the vegetables I am in constant fear of taking off a healthy broad bean plant at ground level through my enthusiasm.
Our good old traditional hoe is a fine and trusty looking tool. A blade securely attached to a solid pole by means of two sturdy metal arms with a crescent top. This is a hoe that has seen many a row of beans and borders and the pole is looking increasingly rotten while the blade is a dull rust colour. I had a go with it, and had some success, but then discovered my dad’s new hoe which is a light sabre compared to the dull claymore that is the old one. This one has a shining steel blade – or should I say blades, as it is secured only on side, while the other side can be used to deliver a lateral swipe. This is both useful and intimidating, as I now have the opportunity to destroy my bean crop with forward, backward AND sideways swipes.
I used it around my runner beans and broad beans. In recent years we have been picking veg while trying to dodge nettles and I do not want this to happen this year. My main weapon in this battle is the Vorpal Blade that is the old man’s hoe.
And what joy it brings. My borders and rows are looking dry and weed free with the soil nicely turned and friable, showing the plants at their best. That is something to bring a smile to one’s face. Perhaps even a little chesty chortle of joy.