Hamilton College Community Farm

Winterbor Kale
Pea Plants
Black Raspberries
Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce
Farm Stand
D'Avignon Raddishes
Red Ace Beets
Washing Chard
Belstar Broccoli
Red Russian Kale
Garlic Scapes
Earth Oven
Lacianato Kale
Chiogga Beets
Ruby Red Chard


Frequent cultivation serves both to prevent weeds from growing out of control and to loosen and aerate the soil. Cultivation should begin as soon as seeds emerge from the soil or following transplanting. For slow-germinating seeds such as carrots, it is important to cultivate well before planting because you will not be able to for nearly a month (although a flame-weeder can be used before the seeds emerge).

The Stirrup hoe and the Collinear hoe are both designed to be used without bending over: a vertical posture is efficient and saves your back. The idea with both is to cut the weeds’ stem at or just below the surface of the ground, which is enough to kill the roots in most plants. Care should be exercised not to cut the delicate stems of your seedlings while attacking the weeds, as both tools are quite sharp.

A metal file or blade sharpener should be used occasionally to sharpen both Collinear and Stirrup hoes. While sharpening, maintain a constant angle and do not take off more metal than necessary. With a file, sharpening should take no longer than 30 seconds. Blades for both are replaceable from Johnny’s Seeds. Do not use the tools if the blade is loose or misadjusted, as this will cause the blade to break.

Return to Farm Almanac Home