To hoe or not to hoe

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by sjs, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. sjs

    sjs Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    In our garden, not just on the vegetables, my dad has this habit of hoeing the soil, but very vigorously. He takes the hoe and just goes all around the plants and bare areas uprooting soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches by slamming the hoe into the ground repeatedly. Sometimes to more depth depending on the hoe used. Is this really necessary? Its being done very often like every week. I told him to stop dong it but he wont listen. I think he destroyed several perennials (unknowingly) because they got uprooted by the hoe before they started growing at the beginning of the year. I think its wrong and not necessary, although I'm not really sure.

    Our garden is composed of different types of soil types (clay, sandy, etc. depending on the area and what is growing there) but this action of hoeing is taken everywhere regardless.

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    12,628
    Likes Received:
    8,814
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @sjs, good afternoon, the no dig option has been around for a while now with tests done on TV gardening programs proving that the no dig is beneficial. It did not however talk about weeding, that at this time of the year is a problem.
    Your dad is being extra cautious about weed roots which I can totally understand, it is far better to lift weeds and leave in the sun than use chemicals. I am guilty of using chemicals for fungal treatments tbh, but that is all. I remove all weeds gently by hand so as not to damage my shallow maple roots.
    I can only add that your dad is doing his best to keep a tidy weed free garden to the best of his know how.
    If he will not listen, then sit him in front of a YouTube chanel on how to weed. Perhaps he's a visual learner.

    Good luck!!!!!
     
    sjs likes this.
  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    12,628
    Likes Received:
    8,814
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @sjs get your dad to watch this with a cool drink.
     
  4. sjs

    sjs Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    He says he does it for mixing the soil and also allowing water to go through (he usually uses a watering can that has a flow of water that is quite fast, I suggested using the garden hose instead). From what he was saying he never really mentioned weed control and only he realized that was one of the reasons when I mentioned it. We have relatively few weeds to begin with, almost none, could be due to the excessive hoeing.
     
  5. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

    Messages:
    12,628
    Likes Received:
    8,814
    Location:
    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    @sjs, you have put a big smile on my wife's face. She just said, "they just don't listen".

    He is right about allowing water to penetrate and not run off though. Breaking up the compacted soil will allow water to the roots of your plants.
    As far as mixing the soil, then the no dig scenario comes to mind again.
    There are two schools of thought on this though. If your Dad has always done it this way, then it might be hard to convince otherwise.

    Again GOOD LUCK
     
    sjs likes this.
  6. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,625
    Likes Received:
    95
    Location:
    Brantford,Ontario, Canada
    I never stir the soil after planting. The Sun can harden heavy soil and prevent aeration of the plant roots. The solution is to improve the soil by compost and prudent application of lighter material. Soil has to breathe and hoeing can achieve this, but it also disturbs the roots. Weeds are not an issue since they can be shallow cropped off without disturbing the main plant. To prevent the Sun from making an air impregnable mass, compost layered around he plants is the solution. I now use mass mulching all over the garden with wood chips.

    Loosening the soil was my parents method when I wa a child. It is not necessary. But defeating the weeds is a constant.
    28 May 2018 Mulching
    Posted on May 28, 2018 by Durgan
    28 May 2018 Mulching 28 May 2018 Mulching
    The main garden was mulched by adding four wheelbarrows of wood chips. There is about half the 10 yards delivered still in the driveway. This will be applied to the various bush berries and decorative trees. The boards still in the garden are covering seeds that have not germinated yet.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Heathen

    Heathen Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Victoria
    I'm in the anti-hoeing camp too. It was a hotly debated issue at my last landscaping job, and a major part of why I left that very pro-hoe company. There is an article linked somewhere else on this site, called "Soil Compaction, and What to do About it." That explains how frequent tilling breaks up the soil structure, causing loss of pore space etc. etc.
    Unfortunately, we humans love the look of freshly turned soil.
     
    Durgan likes this.

Share This Page