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29 October 2014

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Weeding your garden

by Tony Gipp
My wife, Barbara, and I garden organically so weed control is a huge problem especially with a large lawn. Moles make lots of molehills and after the mounds are levelled many weeds such as dandelions emerge.

Speedy weedy

Barbara began lifting dandelions with a 'speedy weedy'. It's very effective and is easy for many people to use, as the job is done without the need to bend. Simply push the metal prongs into the ground, and a couple of turns of the tool is all that's needed to extract the weed.

Barbara rids her lawn of weeds.
Barbara rids her lawn of weeds

When the weed and its roots is lifted from the ground aim at the barrow or other container then press the plunger to eject.
Last year, Barbara took seven barrow-loads of dandelions from the lawn using the speedy weedy. Because of her arthritis, she was not able to use the tool for very long without discomfort.

This was remedied by producing add-on handles with soft grips allowing much more leverage, with ease.

The add-ons were made using pieces of dowel rod, six and a half inches long, with two pieces of pipe insulation 4in long. The 4in fits over one end of the dowel, leaving two and a half inches to insert into the hollow T-handles of the speedy weedy.

Weed root extractor

This year when we looked at the new crop of dandelions in the lawn, we discovered that many of them had grown from stumps of tap roots, which had been broken off and left in the ground last year.

The weed root extractor.
Tony Gipp devised the root extractor

I decided to make a tool with longer tines which would go further down in the ground to take out more of the tap root.

The tool I devised is more robust than the speedy weedy but has no mechanism for ejecting weeds.

The three tines were taken from a broken garden four-tine fork and they were welded to a round metal tube which was about 5in long with the appropriate diameter to fit into the aluminium handle of a scooter - bought from a council recycling centre for £1.

In the future, I will weld a foot pedal at the top of the tines to help when pushing into the ground.

Circle hoe

There is a relatively new hoe, which is superb, from the USA. It's been designed to prevent damage to seedlings and plants especially when working between and around plants that are close together.

Damage to roots is virtually eliminated as the blade always cuts away from the base. The hoe is easy to use and is ideal for both cultivating and weeding - its design allows it to touch the plant without cutting it.

The circle hoe.
The circle hoe prevents plant damage

This design feature makes the hoe useful for those with sight impairment or who are unsteady or unco-ordinated in their movements.

There are three models of hoe - each a different size. We have the smaller hoe which is recommended for using with seedlings and in small containers.

The small hoe is about 11in long and weighs less than 4oz, light enough for most people to use without difficulty.

The next size up is 15in long, which is recommended for using in large containers, raised beds or weeding while sitting. I have heard good reports but have not tried this one myself.


The third is long-handled at about 5ft and more robust. I do not have one of these hoes but have handled them at horticultural shows and have no doubts as to their merits.

last updated: 20/10/05
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