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A hoe is an essential tool for the gardener; learning to use it correctly is important.
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Since the hoe is a cutting tool, it performs at its best when sharp. Sharpen the blade with a file before each use. File the hoe by hand instead of using a grinding wheel. This is the best way to keep the edge on the hoe straight and level.
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The hoe is most effective when the weeds are young and small, before they have gone to seed.
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This is a stirrup or oscillating hoe. Use this hoe to shear off weeds just below the soil surface. If the blade is sharp, it's easy to sever the tops of the weeds and leave the soil beneath undisturbed. These young weed cuttings do not need to be removed from the garden. Let them wilt and decompose in place.
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After using the hoe, clean off the soil and wipe with an oily rag to prevent rusting.