Zero Emissions Weed Cutter Makes For Happier Vegetable Gardening

hand tools squash

Lakota squash just harvested from vines which had recently become overgrown with weeds. Image credit:J. Laumer

This time of year, garden pathways and borders can become over-grown with weeds in a matter of days - especially if it's been raining a lot. The first challenge is to keep weeds in these areas cut low enough to enable passage and to prevent them from going to seed.

Food growing areas of the garden also may have to be 'wacked' at this time of year to prevent weeds from taking over plots used for early crops like spinach and to prevent weeds from shading out early producing vines such as Lakota squash (pictured). For these tasks, I once relied on a gas powered 'weed wacker.' But there is a hand tool alternative for both jobs: the Bow-Knife Weed Cutter. It's not really a scythe. And it's not really a knife. It's in between. Works fine on just about every garden weed except dense stands of sedge grass. It looks like this.


Bow knife weed cutter laid on it's side. Note: both edges are sharp; and the tension wire used to bow the blade is loosened in a single motion after each use. It is easy to sharpen the blade with a flat file in that un-bowed condition.

And like I emissions.

I would not recommend it for yard edging or for clearing around decorative shrubs.

If you don't own a flat file and have never learned to sharpen a tool, you are going to be frustrated with maintaining the bow knife. But, it's certainly easier for me to deal with than a spool of plastic weed-wacking wire that constantly needs untangling and replenishment.