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Not a weapon of Medieval Warfare but my new gardening tool: a long handled sickle

I took one of my 20cm (8 inch) Tramontina Grass Sickles and attached it to a bamboo pole.
I had been using the sickle previously with its short handle to good effect by slicing vertically into the topsoil.(See video below).
Now the extension offers me efficiency plus.
Rather than uproot what I may choose to be weeds among my mulch, I get to slice and diced them -- separating them from their roots so that they join the mulch or are collected and fed to the chooks.
The device may seem counter intuitive but if you check out hoes they are designed to dig and move the soil. This tool doesn't. The 'cut' is very shallow and very slim. This keeps all those microbes happily in situ.
It's sharp serrated blade slices into the soil and when you pull it towards you, it pulls any weediness with it.
You can slice close to plants you want to keep as it is such a very narrow head.
Indeed standing and holding the pole offers almost the perfect angle for dislodging the weeds. You can also cut obliquely without entering the soil.
Because I don't slice deep and only scratch the surface I'm not cutting earthworms in two. They be tipped to the surface when the weeds tumble up, but the patch is very soon back to normal.

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Comment by Dave Riley on April 16, 2020 at 23:24

I used MY LONG HANDLED SICKLE again today to clear a space in the mulch  to plant out some radishes. It worked so well. There were a couple of running weeds which I had to pull out by hand, but the rest of the business was easy peasy.

This tool suits my patch and the way I want to garden. Beds. Mulch cover. Feral Scurvy Weed ground cover.

Previously I had to get down on my hands and knees to drag the sickle vertically so it scraped the earth. Now I just stand upright and pull it towards me.

I've looked and cannot find a tool like this but I'm starting with good quality steel  serrated blade and the classic C sickle curve.

The world of sickles is huge and various, especially with the influence of Japanese and Korean farming practices.

And scythes are back in mode for aficionados. The Swiss light blades being the Rolls Royce of scything.
But if you want to protect the soil microbia  from incursion and keep root environments  in situ, this instrument works a treat.

Maybe not if you have heavy or clay soils or a lot of gravel. I'm on sandy loam and is like slicing gritty jelly.

In comparison, the Korean homi (pictured at right) I use is cumbersome and brutal to the soil. That turns over 10cm of soil depth -- whereas the sickle-on-a-stick doesn't turn over the soil at all.

Mind you I have spaded over my garden beds in years. I've just kept throwing mulch at the soil.

I've also had enough Vetiver to seriously mulch over my beds. You can see the yellow straw in the photo above. Great stuff. Teases up beautifully. Long lasting. Easily moved about. Dry rather than rotting. Free.

After years of being lawn clipping dependent I can't wait until I move fully to Vetiver mulch. Slugs, Cane Toads  and snails hate it because it is so hard for them to traverse all the ups and downs. Skinks love it. As do I. The Vetiver also serves as a great cushion for fruiting bodies like cucumbers and tomatoes. Keeps them out of the dirt and mould.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on April 13, 2020 at 12:42

Dave, this looks like one of those hooks they use to get the comedians off the stag when the audience has heard enough, perhaps we could use it on some of our politicians and newsreaders when we have heard enough of the Corona Virus.  

Comment by Dave Riley on April 12, 2020 at 18:19

No. That's a scythe. You cut horizontally with a scythe.

You usually cut horizontally with a sickle too, but my adaption is that you mainly drag it vertically ....or obliquely. 

A scythe would not work at all in the context of my garden.

Comment by Christa on April 12, 2020 at 11:49

Looks like grandads garden tools are back in vogue.  I wish we had one for the yard next door the grass is about 1 metre tall and full of seeds. Here is a newer version -

Comment by Dave Riley on April 12, 2020 at 11:00

Same principle, but you get to stand: better ergonomics too.

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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