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Number four in this new series of posts took a bit of pondering. I wanted to capture the importance of ‘cutting out the competition'(weeding) and at the same time find an object to stand in for all those other tools of cultivation we gardeners use to loosen, till and maintain the soil; for seed sowing, planting, and incorporating stuff to benefit plants- manure and other organic matter as well as inorganic fertilisers. So I went for probably my favourite tool in this category, a hand fork.

The image above also shows my preferred model in this wide range of available hand forks; one with a shaped handle and relatively short, stainless steel prongs.

Apart from the effort to kneel or crouch (my back and knees aren’t what they were), weeding with a hand fork (or by hand) must be one of the most satisfying of gardening jobs. Taking out shallowly rooted weeds and other unwanted growth around your preferred specimens, especially in sandy loam soil like we have here in Old School Garden, it is a relatively easy task too.

And once those rows of veg, stretches of mixed border or pots of spring bulbs have been cleared you can stand back and admire how you’ve improved the presentation of your plants; the finely worked, bare soil also provides a wonderful foil to all that fresh foliage and, later, the hues of the flowers and fruit.

And we mustn’t forget those other cultivation and weeding tools; the forks, spades, rakes and tillers that all help to keep your soil healthy, alive and weed free.

Old School Gardener

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