Weeding out weeders
June 6, 2012 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Gardening newb question: nejiri gama vs. ho-mi vs. three-prong hand cultivator vs. Cape Cod weeder - which weeder for flowerbeds and a small raised garden?

I have a new house with lots of beautiful landscaping - flower beds, shrubbery and a raised garden. The flower beds are very small, tucked against the house and around shrub and ornamental tree arrangements and into the various nooks and crannies of the hilly, boulder-strewn yard and lining the driveway. So lots of small, densely planted plots.

I already have a hori-hori for attacking dandelions and saplings taking root in the lawn, and will be getting a scuffle hoe for the larger areas near the front door, but what's the best bet for getting in and around my plants and rocks?

The tools that seem to attract the most rabid loyalty are the nejiri gama (Japanese hand hoe), the ho-mi (Korean hand hoe) and the cape-cod weeder, but the hand-cultivator is more ubiquitous. Does anyone have experience that could help in comparing these against each other, or other solutions I should be looking at?
posted by Slap*Happy to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was raised with a Cape Cod weeder (aka The CLAW!), but now prefer a type called an asparagus weeder. It looks like an overgrown screwdriver with its head incised with a V. It is good at getting into smaller spaces and weeding.
posted by sciencegeek at 10:00 AM on June 6, 2012

I'm partial to a little mini hoe for weeding around plants, I keep the edge sharp and it cuts through weeds like no bodies business. As I've gotten older and less bendy I have one on a long handle and it's great for my raised beds. For really narrow spaces I have a knock off Cape Cod weeder.
posted by wwax at 12:10 PM on June 6, 2012

The most respected gardener I know says that you should only weed with you hands, to avoid damaging the other plants.

I, of course, do not follow this advice and use the aforementioned asparagus weeder, a Weed-Hound, and a lot of strategic mulching over landscape fabric.
posted by lstanley at 12:49 PM on June 6, 2012

I tend to use hands, and a little fork to loosen roots, but my mother (a much better gardener than me) likes her ho-mi. You might have to try and see what you like best.
posted by grueandbleen at 3:13 PM on June 6, 2012

For the raised garden using the hori-hori and hands to prevent weeds from getting established should be sufficient; if you don't think you'll be able to do frequent regular maintenance, I'd recommend a pronged hand cultivator. For the flower beds and weeding around shrubs, though, a tall daisy grubber or something like this will fit into tight spaces and save a lot of bending and stooping.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 6:24 PM on June 6, 2012

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