The Value of a Good Hoe

Garden Hoe
Garden Hoe

The use of a good hoe can yield far better outcome. A hoe is used to cultivating, removing weeds, or moving up and mounding the earth. It is a valuable tool for any seasoned gardener. It was the first noticeable agricultural tool. The hoe is amongst the oldest agriculture tools, and it is still in use till date. This digging device comprises of a blade set at right angle to a handle. The edges of current hoes are made from metal; while earlier versions had stone/wooden blades.

Hoes have mainly been substituted in cultivation by tractors and plows, but are still regularly used in gardening to slacken dirt and remove weeds. Well, the value of having a good hoe cannot be overestimated, as it makes every task more manageable. Over the years, new varieties of hoes have emerged but picked a good hoe provides the needed value

The History of The Hoe in Agriculture

Hoes are an older technology, preceding the plow and possibly come first only by the digging stick. In Sumerian myths, the discovery of the hoe was accredited to Enlil, a chief in the assembly of gods. The first hoes were forked brushwood. In the fifth era BC, weighty flaked-stone tools straddled with bitumen were used in Mesopotamia. They existed together with flint-bladed sickles and stones for grinding—all of which signifies farm settlements. During this period, Hoe blades were created from animal horns and shoulder blades, and sometimes shells. They were quite some differences on the hoe, for instance, the pick, and plow, look as if the blade developed from stone to bronze, copper, iron, etc. This day, the hoe signifies the garden agriculture that continued through high civilizations, like those of pre-Columbian America.

The Purpose of a Hoe

A hoe has become a handy agricultural and gardening hand tool. The primary purpose of a hoe includes been used to clear soil, harvest root crops, remove weeds, and shape the earth. Developing the land with a hoe consist of piling dirt around the plants base (hilling), excavating thin furrows (drills), and shallow channels for seeds planting. Weeding with a hoe comprises of shaking the soil surface or cutting undergrowth from roots, and soil removal of old sources and plant remains. Hoes meant for excavating, and moving soil can also be used for harvesting root crops.

Type of Hoes

There are several kinds of hoes which vary in the way it looks and purposes. Some hoes serve several purposes while others serve a specific function. There are two general types of hoes, and this includes:

  • Field Hoe
  • Garden Hoe

Field hoe

The Field Hoe is any heavyweight duty hoe that can serve a variety of purpose like breaking soil, clearing small vegetation, cutting roots or removal of heavy weeds. The field hoes are designed for field and massive purpose task. The Field Hoe has an enormously robust and hard-wearing blade that is very sharp. The field hoe is used for cultivation purposes and also putting in a new garden zone. It also functions significantly in taking out big weeds in the field or along the fence row. The handle socket and hoe blade are fused together, so you do not have to fear about breaking.

Garden Hoe

Garden hoe are useful tools for breaking up hard soils, cultivating, and weeding. Garden hoe is excellent in keeping down weeds in any garden. Dependent on the type of job, we also have a variety of Garden Hoes, but not limited to:

  • Long handle garden hoe functions significantly in vegetable gardens for weeding around crops and flower beds where that extra reach is needed.
  • A scuffle hoe, removes weeds at the root, whether pulling or pushing and is excellent for putting the unwanted plant down in an established garden.
  • Heavy duty draws hoes cut through rough unwanted plant like butter.

Common patterns of garden hoes

Making use of the right tools, make any job more comfortable, and garden hoes are no exemption to this rule. There are some common patterns of the garden hoe, and every gardener should at least take note of it. There are several common patterns of garden hoe available, and this profusion can make it hard to select the right garden hoe that meets your desires. You may discover that you need more than one pattern of the garden hoe, which is mostly dependent on your garden hoe needs. If you need a garden hoe only for the removal of weed seedlings, either traditional hoes with the rectangular blade or a scuffle hoe would fit in just perfectly. But if you require a multipurpose garden hoe, a scuffle hoe makes the best choice.

Another garden hoe pattern has a trapezoid shaped blade with a full cutting edge. The sharp edges make them useful for cutting stricter weed roots. Another familiar pattern of garden hoes has a triangular blade. They are also helpful in tight spots, and the pointy edge is advantageous for digging furrows and dragging out weeds. No matter what pattern you like, you would always find a garden hoe that matches your desire.

Care and Maintenance of a Hoe

Take care of your hoes, and it will take care of you! Well, that is easier said than done. After a day of gardening, cleaning your hoe is quite essential.  Hoes last a lot longer if you express little love to them every once in a while. All you need to care and maintain your hoes is taking a short time to:

  • Clean
  • Sand
  • Sharpen
  • Oil

Clean

Gather together your hoes, warm water, and stiff bristle brush. Begin with brushing and knocking off the main dirt, then rinse and let them air dry or wipe them.

Sand

After drying, it is good you sand any hoe with wood handles.

Sharpen

You can sharpen your hoes with a variety of tools, but a more popular option is using a flat file. Before you begin, a word about safety. Please ensure you use eye protection devices.

Oil

Applying oil to your hoe removes and reduces the chance of your hoes getting rust. Apply the oil liberally all over your hoes, let it sit for few minutes and then wipe off the extra. The purpose using oil is to create a barrier between the metal and oxygen/water.

CONCLUSION

The value of a good hoe has come a long way. This old technology has over time stood firm and shown its importance not only in gardening but also in other agricultural activities as well. There is no limit as to what you can achieve with a good hoe and with proper care, your investment in good hoes will last a very long time.

My Spring Vegetable Garden – 2017

2017 Spring Vegetable Garden
2017 Spring Vegetable Garden

My spring vegetable garden for this year is well underway.  Actually, this past weekend end I have begun harvesting zucchini and bell peppers from the grade.   So, I thought it might be useful to have a list of what I planted this spring.

Vegetables which I grow every year

  • Malabar spinach; on trellises, of course
  • A variety of Chile plants
    • Poblano (Chile Ancho); our favorite eating Chile
    • Bell Peppers (red and yellows); for mixing with the poblanos, salad greens, and to add color
    • Mild jalapeno; for a bit of Chile bite in some dishes and for some garden as they ripen
  • Butternut Winter squash; my own medium variety this year.
  • Old Time Tennessee melon; a large cantaloupe style, which has become a favorite with us in recent years.
  • Tomatoes; only cherry and yellow pear tomatoes this year
  • Green Tomatillos
  • Herbs
    • Fennel; re-growing from last year’s root, which overwintered, and the bulbs are just about large enough to harvest
    • Garden sage
    • Bee Balm
    • Chives
    • Peppermint
  • Pole beans (Portuguese); my own collection, which is not commercially available any longer.
  • Tepary beans; my own variety, which I have been improving over the years. Needs minimal water and thrive in the San Antonio climate

Vegetables which I grow occasionally

  • Egg Plants
  • Zucchini Squash; green and yellow.
  • Runner beans (Ayocote Morado); good eating, but mostly growing for the hummingbirds and the bumblebees
  • Worchester Lima bean; seems to love and thrive in the San Antonio climate
  • Beets (Detroit Dark Red); grown specifically for salad green this year.
  • Armenian cucumber; grows well in Sana Antonio and is great eating when picked small
  • Purple potatoes; plant in a no-dig method using some old large flower pots

Perennial – Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Perennial, Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

This herb plant was first used by ancient Greeks over 3,000 years ago. Largely used for medicinal purposes.  Yarrow is also, sometimes, used as an ornamental flower and as a companion plant.  Yarrow has Fern-like, finely divided leaves. Has tiny florets, about 4 inches wide, which depending upon the variety may be white, yellow, cerise, and red.

Hardiness

  • Perennial

Location

  • Full sun

Habit

  • Upright with some side growth
  • About 18 -24 inches’ height and about the same in width.

Use

  • In dried flower arrangements
  • As a compost simulator
  • Companion plant near aromatic herbs to enhance the production of essential oils.

Cautions

  • May cause an allergic reaction if taken internally.

Attracts

  • Butterflies

Requirements

  • Select a site with full sun and very well-drained soil. Yarrow thrives in hot, dry conditions and low soil fertility, but won’t tolerate wet soils.

When to plant

  • Sow seeds in fall or spring

Season

  • Foliage will appear with warm weather and may bloom from spring until the fall frost.

Related References

Asparagus a great perennial garden crop

Asparagus ( Asparagus aficinalis L.), Perennial, #perennial, Perennial Gardening,
Asparagus

Asparagus (Asparagus aficinalis L.) is one of the great perennial garden crops. Originally, from Western Europe, Eastern Asia and throughout Africa this crop is favored by many. If properly planted and cared for, asparagus can last 25 to 30 years and garden.  So, well care for Asparagus beds can be a lifetime investment with a high-value return. Asparagus has been part of the human diet at least since ancient Greek times which is where the word comes from. The American colonists brought asparagus over with them when they landed and it has been a consistent part of the American diet ever since.

Asparagus is prized by many

Asparagus is prized by many and can be found in nearly any grocery section at your local department store sometimes but very interesting prices. With just a little bit of work, and the asparagus bed can provide for your families table 4 years. So, if you’re looking for a high-value low maintenance long-lasting perennial vegetable to put in your vegetable garden asparagus is one of your friends.

Planting Asparagus

General Guidance For Planting Asparagus

Despite the often touted guidance of deep digging to plant asparagus, asparagus likes to grow approximately 4 inches below the soil surface. So normal cultivation to create your asparagus bed will work just fine. However, when you start your bed, you should mark your bed boundaries and place it in a location that you can live with for the next couple of decades. As far as soil preparation goes, the soil should be well cultivated have plenty of humus and rich manure and compost. It helps some if the soil has a slightly sandy character is not overly compact. As usual, I recommend drip irrigation and plenty of good well-aged garden mulch. The site of your asparagus bed should be a well-drained and sunny location.

Starting From Asparagus Seed

If planting seed, start transplants about 80 days before last spring frost. Sow 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in a sterile growing medium, water and keep temperature 65 to 80 degrees. Germination can take up to 21 days. Transplant to a well prepared, fertilized bed after danger of frost, deeply dug with lots of organic matter. Set plants 12 inches apart in a 6 inches trench, 2 inches deep. Fill in the trench as asparagus grows. Begin harvest in 3 to 4 years.

Starting From Asparagus Root

If Planting Roots. Planting roots reduce harvest by at least 1 to 2 years. Plant roots shortly after receiving them in a well prepared, deeply cultivated, fertilized, garden bed with plenty of organic matter. Asparagus Prefers light, loose soil. Set roots in trenched rows 12 inches apart, in rows 3 to 5 feet apart. The trench should be 4 inches deep. Cover roots with 2 inches of soil. Backfill the trench as asparagus grows. Keep moist. Fertilize again next spring. Begin harvesting in 2 to 3 years.

When to Plant Asparagus

Asparagus roots can be planted in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked in your area.  Dig a trench 4 to 5 inches deep and space the plants 18 to 24 inches apart in the row. Then cover with a good mix of your local soil, compost, and manure. If you go easy on it, a little bit of slow release fertilizer won’t hurt.  If more than one row is planted, space the rows 4 to 5 feet apart. This wide spacing is necessary because of the vigor of the fern growth during the first season and promotes rapid drying of the fern in the fall to prevent disease problems.

How much Asparagus to Plant

You will need 8 to 10 plants per person.

Care and Maintenance of Asparagus

Asparagus requires little care once it is established. The biggest problem faced by gardeners is weed control. A weed control program should be started early. Weeds can be kept under control by carefully hoeing, cultivating, or using a rototiller. Cultivation deeper than 2 or 3 inches can damage the roots.  Also, the use of a nice deep layer of mulch between rows can aid significantly with the reduction of weeds in your asparagus patch.  In the spring when the spears begin to appear, a nice fresh layer of compost mix with a slow release balanced fertilizer is very beneficial. Also after applying the fertilizer, a new layer of protective garden mulch should be applied. Stop harvesting when about 3/4 of the spears are about the diameter of a pencil. These should be left to replenish the food supplies to the roots.  Because the tops of asparagus plants produce and transfer food to the roots, they should be allowed to grow all summer. The tops can be removed when they die after a killing frost in the fall.

Harvesting Asparagus

During the first year after planting, you should be able to harvest several times,  depending on temperatures. There is no need to wait until two years after planting before you harvest. In fact, harvesting the first year after planting will stimulate more buds to be produced on the crown which means greater yields in later years. Spears can be harvested for a period of 2 to 3 weeks the first year. In succeeding years, the length of harvest increases to about 4 to 6 weeks, or for as long as the spears are large.

Select spears that are 6 to 8 inches tall with light tips. As the tips begin to loosen, known as “ferning out”, the base of the spears will begin to get tough. Stop harvesting when about 3/4 of the spears are about the diameter of a pencil. These should be left to replenish the food supplies to the roots.

Asparagus is harvested by cutting them off with a sharp, well sanitized, knife just below the ground. Care should be taken not to damage other nearby spears just below the surface. Asparagus should be used as soon as it is harvested, but it will remain fairly fresh for up to a week if kept at 35 degrees to 38 degrees Fahrenheit with the cut ends in water.

Climatic Considerations for Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Climatic Considerations for Winter Squash and Pumpkins, c. pepo, c. maxima, c. moschata, C. argyrosperma, C. mixta
Pumpkins Outdoors in Fall

Squash is a warm-season crop. It should not be planted until the danger of frost is past. In the list below, note the species from which each variety has been selected. Some do better in certain climates and have different growing season lengths.

  • C. argyrosperma and C. mixta grow best in hot arid climates like the Southwest United States
  • C. maxima grow best in cooler northern climates, especially along coastal areas of large lakes or oceans where the growing temperature may be more consistent
  • C. moschata are best grown in southern humid climates
  • C. pepo does best in areas in climates which provide even rainfalls and temperature ranges, such as, coastal regions and the midwestern United States.

Related References

Choosing the Best Squash and Pumpkins for Your Family

Choosing the Best Squash and Pumpkins for Your Family
Pumpkin being grown Vertically

When deciding what Squash and, or Pumpkins to grow in your family’s garden consider:

  • Growing types that your family eats regularly, there is no point in growing something that may go waste. Especially, when you consider the time, water, and garden space used to produce your squash and, or pumpkins.
  • How you use the squash if you want a few squashes and/or pumpkins to eat or to be used to as a decoration. Then, perhaps growing a variety that grows to a 1,000 pound might not be the best choice.
  • How you intend to grow your squash or pumpkins. If you have limited space you may want to consider bush types, which use less space, perhaps some of the smaller varieties that can be grown vertically on trellises or incorporated into the landscaping of your home.
  • Your garden site, for example, does it have deep soil or should consider raised beds.
  • The pests and diseases common to your area and buy resistant varieties, if available.
  • The length of your growing season. If you live in a short season area purchasing an early producing variety, may improve your success.

Related References