I confess, I am a weed-a-holic. I love weeding because I feel somewhat accomplished when I look back on a freshly weeded bed. It’s clean. It’s neat. And I am able to complete this astonishing feat all while mentally zoning out and grooving to some great tunes. I know of no other task that can be completed as such!
My method of weeding usually entails me pulling every weed out by its roots. But there comes a time when this just isn’t feasible, necessary, and most certainly, desirable. Most weeds are annuals and at times they sprout up all over the place. This is what happened this fall after having weeks of warm, rainy weather. My beds were suddenly covered with tiny, freshly-germinated weeds.
Enter the Dutch Hoe
I recently read a recommendation for a Dutch hoe in a design book and was looking forward to giving it a try, so I was thrilled when the Joseph Bentley Dutch Hoe showed up just in time to tackle the unwanted, fresh seedlings that carpeted my flower beds. Having only used an American standard hoe, I wasn’t even sure how to use a Dutch hoe. But once I got the hang of it, I now have a new favorite tool and weeding will never be the same for me!
A Work of Art
The Joseph Bentley Dutch Hoe is really a beautiful tool.
It has a finished, solid oak wooden handle that has the feel of fine furniture. Because the handle is stained and sealed the oak should last a lifetime.
The hoe’s polished stainless steel blade easily cuts through small weeds, but like many garden tools, it will benefit from an occasional sharpening.
The hoe weighs approximately 2 pounds and measures 61″, making it very comfortable to use without the need to bend over.
With a lifetime guarantee, it looks and feels like an Old World, high quality, expensive gardening tool. Even the tag comes attached with a leather tie!
Using a Dutch Hoe
The idea behind a Dutch hoe is to separate the stems and leaves from the roots of annual weeds. Because the plant will not be able to photosynthesize, the roots will die in place. Additionally, the hoe breaks up the first inch or so of the soil surface.
So how do you actually use this hoe?
Rest the lower end of the blade flat on the ground and gently slide the hoe back-and-forth. The blade will slip under the surface of the soil to break it up and cut the weeds from their roots. By working backward from one end of a bed to the other with a push-pull action, hoeing becomes an easy task. The long handle and easy motion required of this hoe allows you to stand upright without bending over, saving your back as well as time.
It took a few minutes to get the hang of the back-and-forth motion, but I was able to weed a large bed in a fraction of the time it would have taken to pull the weeds by hand. I left the small weed parts to decay right in the bed which made the weeding task even easier. Additionally, I carefully slipped the hoe between perennials and cleared out the weeds there as well. A word of warning…be careful not to cut any desirable plants!
The Dutch hoe is designed to be used on small weeds. Weeds with a tap root and clumps of grasses will still need to be pulled by hand.
Although the hoe worked fine when I encountered rocks here and there, if your beds have very rocky soil, this hoe may not work for you.
On the other hand, I used this hoe to help break up some soil when building new beds, so in my garden, it has multiple uses.
This hoe is a thing of beauty! It feels comfortable and sturdy in your hand and makes weeding a breeze. The long handle and push-pull action will save your back from the bending motion required of an American standard hoe. This is a well-made tool that you will rely on time and again for many years to come.
Where to Buy
The Joseph Bentley website lists a variety of places from which to purchase their products (Joseph Bentley Stockists) but the easiest option is to purchase the Dutch Hoe online from Amazon for about $40.00.
For More Information
The Joseph Bentley website can be found here.
The Joseph Bentley catalog can be found here.
Now over to you – Have you tried a Dutch hoe before? What did you use and how did it work? Let us know in the comments below!