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With organic gardening gaining momentum and more and more people disapproving of commercialized forms of gardening, sickle has become an interesting tool again.
This tool has been around for millennia and its use dates back thousands of years. Even in Neolithic times, the sickle was still a familiar tool.
When gardeners were harvesting wheat, barley and other grasses, they knew these little tools had their backs. We’ll see why it was such a great choice back then and why you should consider adding it to your gardening routine.
Can a sickle be used for weeding?
Let’s start with the most important point: weeding. Not all weeding tools are created equal. Instead, they are divided into different categories based on their mechanism of action.
For example, bulldozers work below the surface to collect weed roots. These tools work very well on taproots because they penetrate deeper into the soil.
Raking tools work by loosening the soil surface and removing weeds on the soil surface. Some hoes can do this job, but more often people use cultivators that work on shallow, fibrous roots.
Sickles, on the other hand, are cutting tools, just like asparagus knives and hori-hori knives.
As their name suggests, they work by cutting weeds and are better for running, fibrous roots. You hold the tool in your hand and cut the blade.
You can also get vertical tools, like shovels and stirrups, which involve more digging than cutting. Sickles make it easier to work with the plants you want to protect.
For example, if you have an invasive plant, it’s not a good idea to use a lawn mower. However, with a sickle you can remove everything except the protected plant.
So can you use a sickle to weed? Yes and no. For fibrous roots and plants with runners, a sickle can be useful.
But if you are working with long taproots, using a sickle is unlikely to give satisfactory results. The weeds would be back in no time.
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What is a garden crescent?
The garden sickle goes by many names, including bag hook, grass hook, and harvest hook. It is a one-handed tool with a curved blade that can be used for various purposes.
Farmers use it to harvest grain and cut foliage, and its use has increased over the years. The construction of the sickle has also changed over time.
Initially, sickles had iron blades. It is now common to find steel bladed sickles with serrated or smooth edges.
Serrated edges are more common when harvesting grain, while smooth blades work best for cutting green grass or cultivated grain.
How People Use Sickles
We start by building the sickle. The blade curves inward, with the cutting edge away from the outer curve.
As you pull it towards you, the blade cuts through the crop, severing it at the point of contact. Sickles are one-handed and you can only use one hand to swing them at you.
The other hand can grab crops that are cut or left out.
Did you know Sickles are also used as a weapon in some parts of the world. For example, martial arts in Malaysia contain sickles.
These tools have very sharp blades and you have to be careful when using them or you will hurt yourself.
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Why use a sickle?
When it comes to efficiency, it’s easy to rely on machine-operated harvesting or weeding tools instead of a sickle. They are fast and can cover large areas in a short time.
However, if you include the aspect of conservation, they are insufficient. The machines are random and will cut through anything in their path.
So if you have shrubs or plants that you want to save, the only way to do that is to use an organic method of weeding or harvesting, in which case the sickle works wonders.
First, a sickle is easy to use. Plus, you can exercise while working around the plants. What a great way to save money on gym expenses and stay fit.
If you choose the right sickle for the job, you won’t have to struggle either. Note the type of blade and its position in relation to lawns, weeds or vegetable crops. You can also get an angled blade if you want a tighter cut.
Secondly, the sickles are sharp and with a few strokes you can cut the crops. It’s easy to skim one section at a time so you don’t miss a thing.
You can even sharpen them while you’re at it, so you’ll only have to put in minimal effort to do a great job. Of course, your fit won’t be perfect, but it will suffice.
Using a sickle takes time to master. You also need to be patient when learning to hold the sickle for maximum efficiency and minimum effort. So how do you work with a sickle without hurting yourself?
Long pants, boots, and gloves should be your first line of defense when using the sickle. Until you master the knife, and even after that, take cover for your safety.
You should always sharpen the blade to reduce effort when cutting. Carborundum stones work like magic in this case.
using the knife
You can use the knife with either hand and turn it in any direction. To avoid accidents, direct the movement away from the body.
The blade should always be away from your arms and legs. Small swings are always better than large ones because they give you more control over your swing.
Also, when cutting tall grass, use one hand to hold the grass and the other hand to cut the grass with the sickle. Always keep a reasonable distance between your holding hand and your cutting hand.
put the knife away
Keep the blade away from pets and children when not in use. Also, investing in a security bar is always a good idea to prevent other people from accessing the sickle.
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Can you cut the grass with a sickle?
Assurance! One of the main uses of the sickle is to cut grass. Although you can use any sickle to cut grass, it is worth considering the location of the blade.
Those with standard blades are best used for grain crops since harvesting is done close to the ground. Therefore, their blades are slightly raised.
However, grass harvesting sickles have downward facing blades that are much closer to the ground. Therefore, it is easier to mow without leaving too much on the surface and without straining your hand.
Also pay attention to the edges of the blades. Jagged edges are more common on grain crops. Green grass, on the other hand, is easy to cut with a smooth edge.
However, cutting thick, mature grass may be easier with a serrated blade. Therefore, when choosing your sickle, consider the position and type of blade and combine it with the grass you want to cut.
Finally, you need to consider the length of the handle. Working with a long-handled sickle is always easier on the hands and back. Also, it works great for small areas where you don’t necessarily need to mow.
What is the difference between a sickle and a scythe?
Sickles and scythes are similar, and sometimes people refer to them interchangeably. But are they the same? Not exactly.
Scythes have long, curved blades with long handles, while sickles fall on the short side. In addition, scythes have a larger cutting width.
Scythes date back centuries and are often used to cut grass and grain. Also, they are useful when pruning other crops.
Its blades, made of iron, generally measure between 12 and 50 inches. To give you an idea, scythes are pretty much what the Grim Reaper uses.
On the other hand, sickles are best used for harvesting and cutting crops. Due to their short blades and handles, users often have to adopt a seated position when using them. Therefore, its use takes more time.
Let us distinguish these agricultural tools in all their aspects:
- Blade size: the scythe has a longer blade size
- Blade shape: The scythe has a curved blade with an elongated tip, while the sickle has a hooked blade.
- Handle length: the scythe has a longer handle
- Swing: The scythe only works right to left, while the sickle works right to left and left to right.
- Stance: You must stand to use a scythe while you must sit or crouch to use a sickle
- Cut: Scythes cannot cut fodder, but sickles can.
Final thoughts: Can a sickle be used for weeding?
Here’s a tip on how to age your sickle. Modern tools, while effective, often have barely strong blades and are quite difficult to sharpen.
They can frustrate you by falling apart within weeks of purchase. Instead, look for older tools that are easier to sharpen.
Plus, they’ll probably be a lot cheaper. If you can’t find older options, consider modern magazines, but beware of bad reviews.
Good luck weeding your sickle, happy gardening!
Before you go, here are some more related articles that I encourage you to read below to help you solve more of your gardening problems:
Are Corded Leaf Blowers Worth It?
Which hoe is best for weeding?
Review of a Dremel sharpening kit