Hoeing between rows of leaf beet with my trusty swan necked hoe, a quick but therapeutic daily practise. Available from

Atlast, the whole garden is planted and crops are growing in their final positions in each bed. I use a swan neck hand hoe bought at the Organic Centre, Co Leitrim, and sometimes a long handled oscillating hoe and another Dutch hoe on a daily basis almost. Preventing weed seedlings taking a hold is the main reason for hoeing regularly. However, even if no weeds were coming up, I would still hoe to deter slug movements. The slime trails laid down by slugs are used again and again by other slugs which generally lead all nearby slugs to your prized salads and other vulnerable crops. The hoe wrecks these slime trails which are virtually invisible to the human eye. Hence the obsession with hoeing even when there are no weeds to be seen.

This year, I had the hoe with me for measuring purposes as I planted out leeks, leaf beet and beetroot seedlings. The rows of each crop are therefore spaced just far enough apart to allow me to hoe each separating corridor of soil. So far, so good, the slugs are getting the message. I expect they are slithering far away to where they will not be disturbed by this obsessive slug-road-wrecker – c’est moi!


3 responses to this post.

  1. I never knew those pesky slugs used slime trails again and again as thoroughfares. Must get me a hoe….


  2. Posted by mary buckley on June 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Hi trevor, I really like your book – I first got it in the public library and liked it so much that I bought my own copy. It is very helpful and attractive to read. Interesting that slugs have trails, I did not know that – will hoe like crazy between my cabbages tomorrow! Veg are doing surprisingly well in the wet weather. But my second early potatoes have brown spots and I think are ailing – is that blight? Bit of a disappointment.
    good luck in your projects – I always enjoy the website. Even if the sun is not shining much this year the backgarden veg growers should have a good harvest
    Mary Buckley


  3. Posted by Kathryn Marsh on July 3, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Two hoes you might like to try somewhere around at Sonairte – there’s a swoe – mentioned by Fionnuala in her column last week – and a cobra head – should be both long and short handled versions of the latter.
    I see the UK now has the super hybrid Spanish slugs. Any word on whether these have arrived in Ireland yet? Which reminds me – it’s torch time


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