by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
What do monks and gardeners have in common? They spend much of their time on their knees.
Where monks spend this time in prayer gardeners spend this time battling weeds and often the only way to do that is, simply, by doing it by hand and kneeling is part of this exercise.
While some weeds are beneficial and many even are edible others are a nuisance and thus must be removed if our plants, especially our vegetables, are to thrive and, as said, often the only way to do that is removing those plants in the wrong place, aka weeds, by hand.
The fingers may be able to do some of the work there are definitely times, and I know that for certain, when weeding tools are called for. Many gardeners will use trowels or hand forks to loosen the ground and then pull the weeds by hand and, yes, that does work. Others, on the other hand, and pardon the pun, swear by the use of a weeding claw, much like the old-time cultivators.
To a degree, as with many gardening tools, it is a case of horses for courses but, as far as I am concerned, the best tool for hand weeding plant beds of any kind is a wire weeder, sold under the name of Wonder Weeder, but which can be made by easy DIY, or substituted with a hoof pick.
I have made my own wire weeders and do, more often than not though, use an old hoof pick for this purpose.
The advantage of a wire weeder or hoof pick to loosen the soil and pick out weeds is that you do not have to lay the tool aside when picking the weeds up with the hand and disposing off them into a trug, for instance. The tool just rests inside the palm of the hand while picking and then is ready for use again straight away. Saves time.
There are, no doubt, times when you have to remove a larger weed, or one with a deep root that has become rather established and other tools are required, whether this the hand fork, trowel, or a weed removal tool such as Grampa's Weeder or the Fiskars Weed Puller W52 or W82.
In general, however, a wire weeder is all you need, with the other tools as a back up