The Joys of Weeding

On Thursday Sarah and I did a spot of weeding in the Entrance Field. I love weeding. It’s like the gardening equivalent of sewing your stitch in time, or clearing your e-mail inbox, and I gain the same elusive sense of fundamental satisfaction from performing it. It seems to make the difference between living and surviving.

I especially love hoeing: its primary care as opposed to fire fighting, and the simple grace of the hoeing action seems to embody that fact. Walthamstownians of old loved hoes too: OrganicLea’s office, distribution and outreach “hub” is situated on 458 Hoe Street, a thin ridge of a path that they thus read as the gardening work of some giant or goddess.

We have a fine selection of hoes: “English” draw hoes; “Dutch” push hoes; 2-for-1 push-pull hoes; oscillating hoes; onion hoes; wheel hoes and even the paradoxically titled digging hoe. All have spent the spring and early summer hung up in the tool shed like forlorn pub decorations, whilst we plant out everything at precise hoe-width spacings in the – at times  optimistic – belief that one day we might find time to go back and administer after care. Only this week can we begin to feel vindicated.

How fitting that the hoes are drawn in time for the summer solstice, that time of perfect balance and poise, and the occasion of our evening of celebration here at Hawkwood. We’re throwing a party for all our workers, supporters and associates, with horticultural games, solar cooking demonstrations, a feast, elderflower champagne, and a traditional barn dance in our straw-rammed warehouse. I think for the first time I am really going to appreciate what it means to have a proper hoe-down.

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