Of all the garden chores, hand weeding—yanking weeds while bending, squatting, or kneeling—is the most onerous. It is such a miserable job that the California legislature has banned farmers from requiring it of their workers.
Fortunately, most of us don’t have to endure endless days stooping beneath a sizzling California sun. But we do have weeds that require removal by hand. I know gardeners with considerable strength, skin like leather, and the pain threshold of a pit bull who take great pride in weeding by hand. They are not, however, afflicted with arthritis, sciatica, or the dreaded “unspecified neuropathy” that physicians refer to when the rest of us hobble into their offices seeking pain relief after a day of vigorous weeding. We, the ungifted ones, need tools that take the toil out of weeding, giving us more time to enjoy the garden.
Options abound for the gardener seeking an easier way to weed. The files of the U.S. Patent Office must contain six trillion designs for weeding tools. Hundreds of those designs are on the market at any one time. Some are absurd and useless. Most are indifferently useful. A few are remarkable in their effectiveness. Here are five from the last category.