Weed Pullers – How they work & why you need one.

It’s often said that a weed is a plant out of place, meaning that it is a plant growing in such a position and under such conditions that it is interfering in some way with a cultivated crop, making a lawn or a gravel drive unsightly, or in some other way making itself objectionable. Let’s just say that a weed is any plant, of whatever nature,which is found growing where the gardener has not placed it and does not want it to grow.
Although it is true that in some special cases weeds have their uses, it is generally agreed that they are a nuisance and all good gardeners are bent on getting rid of them.

Weed Pulling
Any gardener who has ever taken on the task of pulling weeds knows that it is back breaking work. Although some weeds are “weaker” than others, all of them present different challenges when it comes to their removal. Simply pulling on a weak weed often results in the weed breaking off. This presents two problems. The first being that bits of the weed can this way be scattered around nearby areas of the garden, thus not only meaning more work to clean up, but also increasing the chance of the weed spreading; The second being that the only way remaining to get to the root of the broken weed is to dig and retrieve it.
Ironically, stronger weeds are less likely to break off when being yanked out, but this generally depends on the consistency of the soil. In order to strive in hard, compacted soil, weeds need to be stronger. But now the challenge the gardener faces is the soil itself. Compacted soil that has rarely been worked can prove almost impossible to deal with without a proper tool.

Weeding Tools
The simplest incarnation of weeding tools is the simple hand weeder. Although these now come in a wide array of shapes and sizes, their basic form is that of a large two-pronged fork. The idea is to insert the tool in the ground, attempt to center the root of the weed between the two prongs and then push down in a lever motion to extract the root. Using this tool means getting down on your knees, and hope that you can grab the whole root on the first try, otherwise the job can get more complicated. The other problem is leverage. These tools are simply not long enough to get proper leverage, so the root may end up only partially torn out, and can re-sprout later on. Another hand weeder is a sort of long scoop with serrated edges. It is used by driving it into the ground two or three times around the weed, making indentations around it. Then, one scoops the weed out. Pretty efficient, but it still means getting down on all fours.

There are weeders that are simply sharp blades at the end of a stick. These are easy to use, but they are really weed cutters. The root remains in the soil, ready to sprout again.

The Weed Puller
A real weed puller actually grabs the weed and its root, and extracts it from the ground, with little effort on your part. We want the tool to do most of the work. A great weed puller should have a tall handle. This allows us to stay standing up when we weed. It should also have a protruding piece that we can push on with our foot. This means we can use our own weight to drive the tool into the ground, instead of using our arms. The head of the weeder should be driven in at the center of the offending plant. Once in, the very piece that we used to push the tool down is used as part of a large lever, and a grabber at the same time. By simply pushing down on the long handle, the prongs tighten around the root, and truly pull it out.

Weed puller example:

weed removing tool picture
Weed puller pictured: Fiskars 7870 Uproot Lawn and Garden Weeder


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Small Gardeners Will Find the Woven Two-Inch Mesh Valuable. Takes Place of Stakes.
Many vegetable and flowering vines can be successfully grown on chicken fence wire. In the fall the wire can be taken down and used for succeeding years for similar purposes. It will enable the small gardener to raise more vegetables and flowers than if they were allowed to lie on the ground and spread out over valuable space.
Cucumbers, lima and climbing string beans, nasturtiums and numerous other vegetables of spreading variety, as well as almost any vine-flowering plants can be successfully trained on the wire trellis permitting of the use of the ground space ordinarily covered by vines being used for something else. Give the vine plants plenty of air and sunshine, and water when needed, and they will give an excellent accounting of themselves on the wire.

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Growing Rhubarb

Early Spring Vegetable Responds to Liberal Supply of Best Soil Available
PLANT IN OUT-OF-WAY PLACE: Along Garden Fence Where Roots Will Not Be Injured in Cultivation of Rest of Garden Is Good Location.
Rhubarb, or “pieplant,” as it is sometimes called, cannot be grown universally, but is limited to certain definite sections. Information as to whether rhubarb will or will not grow in a given locality can be obtained from the local seedsmen or from neighbors who have had experience in growing it.
Rhubarb Is propagated by planting pieces of the roots secured by dividing older hills, and six to ten hills will usually supply plenty of rhubarb for the average family, states the United States Department of Agriculture.
Rhubarb should be planted exactly the same way as asparagus, that is, the roots or crowns should be covered four or five inches in deeply spaded and well enriched soil; there is little danger of having the soil too rich for rhubarb. The hills should be three and a half to four feet apart, if more than one row is planted.
This wonderful staple of the family garden can generally be planted along the fence where it will be out of the way of cultivation.
The thick leaf stems are the part used, and none should be pulled from the plants the first year after seeding, but a large supply will be available the second season, and the hills will, as a rule continue to produce satisfactory crops of stems for several years, after which they should be divided and reset.
Rhubarb should receive the same attention and treatment during winter as asparagus, and the plants should never be allowed to ripen and seed. The roots may be brought into the greenhouse, pit, coldframe, or cellar during the winter and forced.
By placing a barrel over a rhubarb plant much longer and tender stalks may be grown. This is one plant that does not thrive in warm climates. It is most popular, especially in the sections where it is grown, in the early part of the spring.
The use of rhubarb is principally for making pies and sauces, and many people can the stems for winter use.

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Why Get Rid of Weeds

-Weeds take up space which should be occupied by crop. Both the farmer and the gardener are aware that their crops require plenty of space to enable each individual plant to grow, and this is quite plain when we observe the space allowed for a turnip, an onion, or a potato root. Space is needed to “single” roots and other crops and flowers. Two plants cannot properly grow on the spot of ground intended for one. Under ideal conditions the whole of the cultivated area should be occupied, even if not covered, by the planted crop.

-Weeds rob cultivated crops of food and light, air, heat and moisture. When we see a garden crowded with weeds we may be quite sure that these not only take up much space, but that they also rob the cultivated crop of food, light, and moisture.

-A large crop of weeds not only takes up much carbonic acid gas from the atmosphere, but needs a considerable quantity of mineral food, which can only be obtained from the soil and from the manures applied for the sown crop. Weeds absorb soluble ingredients from the soil in considerable quantity.

-For the most successful growth of any ordinary crop an unrestricted amount of light is needed, green crops being unable to develop the green colouring matter, or chlorophyll, necessary for their nutrition, except in the presence of sunlight. This may be clearly seen when a patch of grass is covered with a board or a sack, the grass which grows beneath being of a sickly yellowish-white colour. Further, even if the green colour is developed, light is necessary in order that the process of food-making from the simple substances which the plant takes in may go on. Some crops can tolerate the absence of a free supply of light better than others, but as a general rule the more light the better. A large crop of weeds tends to restrict the light supply, and has therefore a bad effect on the cultivated crop. The supply of heat to the soil and crop is also restricted, and the free circulation of air is prevented. Ripening corn crops especially suffer in this way from a profusion of weeds, both as standing crops and when stocked to dry.

-Weeds also absorb from the soil and “transpire,” or pass off into the atmosphere, large quantities of moisture which would be of great service to the growing crop. If the ground be covered with weeds it is certain that much of the moisture which would be of value to the crop will be lost in the manner indicated. Weeds are especially harmful in this way in a hot summer, and the loss is most felt by the cultivated crop on light sandy soils.

-Weeds hinder proper and thorough cultivation. When a cultivated crop is infested with a multitude of weeds, proper and thorough cultivation is largely hindered. “Singling” of root crops, earthing up of potatoes, even ploughing, cultivating, and harrowing, are all rendered more difficult and costly by their presence.

-Weeds harbour injurious insects and fungi. The harm frequently done by weeds in sheltering insect and
fungoid pests is considerable. Besides merely acting as hiding-places for insects, they may be intermediate host plants for both insects and fungi. Many insects and fungi are sheltered by weeds, not only in the open, but in corners of fields and gardens, in hedgerows and ditches, and round buildings.

-Weeds may be parasitic on certain crops. Some weeds are actually parasites living on the crop under cultivation, feeding on the juices elaborated by the crop for its own uses. Such weeds as these may do great damage.

-Climbing and binding weeds drag down the cultivated crop and prevent proper growth. When they once gain a footing they are difficult to eradicate, and may do much damage.

-Stoppage of drains. It must be remembered, too, that the growth of roots and underground stems is sometimes responsible for the stoppage of drains, and may, therefore, cause considerable expenditure in correcting this trouble.

From what we have seen, it will be gathered that weeds are a source of great loss owing to the harm done to cultivated crops.

However, the persistent destroyer of weeds will find that as time goes on his expenditure on this score becomes less and less, until the weeds are kept down effectually in the ordinary processes of good cultivation; but both preventive and remedial measures must be closely and faithfully followed, and no slackness or negligence allowed to creep in: “One year’s seeding means seven years’ weeding ” is a motto which should be well engraved in the minds of all cultivators of the soil.

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