Combine preventive measures such as mulching with the suggestions listed below to dispatch weeds in a hurry.Try the two-fisted grab. You can pull twice as many small weeds if you learn to use both hands at the same time and grab weeds between your thumb and forefinger with a pinching motion.Get 'em while they're small. Frequent, short weeding sessions are the best way to stay on top of weeds. Not only does this eliminate a long, tiring weeding session, it also lets you dispatch weeds while they're still small and easy to eliminate. Seedling weeds can be quickly pulled by hand or chopped off with a hoe. Large weeds are another matter: They're tougher to eliminate because of deeper, more established roots and larger top growth.Weed wet. Weeding goes faster and easier when the soil is moist than when the soil is dry. Arm yourself. A hoe is a great tool for chopping the tops off a great many weeds. For deep-rooted weeds such as dock and dandelions, use a dandelion fork, also called an asparagus knife. Follow the taproot down with the blade of the dandelion fork, and rock it back and forth a few times to loosen and dislodge it.Thumbs up while hoeing. To turn your hoe into an effective tool for weed control, use it to slice the tops off weeds just under the soil surface. For best results with this technique, you'll need to hold your hoe differently from the way most gardeners do. Instead of gripping the handle with thumbs pointing down toward the blade, and bending over while you hoe the soil, try using a "thumbs up" grip," which is easier on your back and more effective. Hold the hoe with your thumbs pointing up on the handle, and pull it toward you using your arms, not your back.Sharpen your arsenal. Keep hoes and other weeding equipment nice and sharp (you can sharpen blades with a metal file). A sharp blade will cut through weed roots with less effort, making the job easier and quicker for you.Reprinted from The Veggie Gardener's Answer Book Copyright 2008 by Barbara W. Ellis, with permission from Storey Publishing. Creative Commons photo credit: K.W. Sanders
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