How to Clear a Vegetable Garden Full of Weeds Efficiently and Organically

Learn how to clear a vegetable garden full of weeds and then follow gardening best practices so it never gets so bad again.  Weeding organically means you are going to be doing real mechanical work in the garden.  The lazy gardener wants to spray the weeds away, but then your gardens are full of all the same kinds of chemicals as big agricultural farms.

Be efficient with weeding your backyard garden by using a wheel hoe, stirrup hoe, shovel, and rake to make each garden bed look perfect.

Weeding Tools for Backyard Vegetable Gardens

Urban gardeners need a garden tool shed with a few tools for weeding and cultivating the soil.  My favorite tools include the garden wheel hoe, the stirrup hoe, a pointed shovel and a garden rake.  Here is how I use each tool to maintain weed-free garden beds when seeding and throughout the growing season.  Start with a weed-free garden bed and do your best to remove all weeds before they seed.  The worst thing you can do when clearing a vegetable garden full of weeds is to get lax during the growing season and allow the weeds that do appear to fully mature and add to weed seed bed in your gardens.

If you don’t stop the cycle it will never get better.  It won’t matter if you have the best tools for weeds, if you let even a few go to seed every year you will have a never ending battle on your hands.

how to clear vegetable garden free of weeds


There are many types of garden hoes.  Most garden hoes consist of a long wooden handle and a blade implement at the end.  Worked back and forth near the surface of the soil the hoe is perfect for weeding and knocking back unwanted plants in the garden before they get rooted deeply.  Ultimately, if you use a hoe frequently bad weeds will never get a chance to take up space in your gardens.

Wheel Hoe

The best wheel hoe is made by Hoss Tools.   This garden wheel hoe is built with high-end components and is the perfect fit for any serious gardener.  The base consists of two large wheels and oscillating hoe attachment.  The wheel hoe works by pushing and pulling it down the garden rows. The garden wheel hoe utilizes leg power in coordination with the arms for part of the weeding and soil cultivation.

If you talk about your garden in terms of row feet and garden with in ground garden beds, this should be one of the first tools you purchase.   Weeding and prepping garden beds is what a wheel hoe does best. The wheel hoe is made for gardeners to easily eliminate weeds and cultivate the soil for vegetables to thrive.

Make several passes down a garden bed that you are prepping and cleaning for a new season.  Once plants have been planted or seeded, walk the garden wheel hoe along the natural edges created by the plants.  The wheel hoe can be worked late into the season to keep paths in between rows free of weeds.

Using attachments for the wheel hoe enhance s the capabilities of the tool.  Use an attachment to hill crops like potatoes and corn while simultaneously reducing the weeds during the mid-season with these crops.

garden wheel hoe for weeding

Stirrup Hoe

The Hoss Tools Stirrup Hoe also referred to as a hula hoe is perfect for working in between individual plants in a garden row.  Once the beds are seeded or transplants planted you need to be precise in your efforts to keep the vegetables clear of weeds.  This hoe requires more upper body strength than the wheel hoe.

Using the hula hoe to cut weeds from shallow roots as they first germinate means less work later down the road.  When clearing a vegetable garden of weeds that are established for more than a month or two it can be difficult.  Therefore, it will require more work and effort to clear the bed.


Weeds with deep roots need to be dug out.  Pulling weeds and leaving the long tap root will only ensure the weed will regrow.  Use a shovel to make quick work of deep-rooted weeds when clearing a vegetable garden full of weeds.

During the initial bed prep, a strategy that works is completely flipping the soil.  You can do a single dig or deploy the double dig garden method to really mix the top foot of soil.  Use the shovel to systematically flip over the soil for the entire garden bed.  This creates a fresh slate to build your garden upon.  You can then quickly add soil amendments and work in compost to the soil.  Followed by planting.

a long handle garden shovel


The last part of weeding and garden prep is smoothing out the beds for transplanting and seeding.  A large garden rake is perfect for the task.  Smooth out the beds surface.  At this time you can remove any remaining plant matter that you wanted to extract from the bed.

Long Handle Vs. Short Handle Weeding Tools

Long handle tools make short work of big projects.  Cover lots of ground quickly with stand-up garden tools.  If you have a large garden it is essential to own some of the bigger tools such as the garden hoe with wheels and full-size shovels.

A short-handle tool is good for gardeners growing in containers and raised bed gardens only.  If you have a small garden plot a few short-handle tools like a small hoe, trowel, or even a hori hori can get everything you need done.

Senior gardeners need the right garden tools as they age.  Some tools that require lots of physical strength may be difficult for some seniors.  Other individuals may have difficulty bending over to use smaller hand tools.  Senior gardeners should use the right tool for them to keep their gardens free of weeds.

Steps to Clear a Vegetable Garden Full of Weeds

  1. Use a garden wheel hoe or even a double wheel hoe to clear the surface area of all weeds.  The first time may be difficult. When clearing former garden beds it will always be faster than breaking new ground.
  2. Use a shovel to turn over the soil and remove deep-rooted weeds.  The first time clearing ground it may be essential to shovel first instead of using a wheel hoe.
  3. Walk past through the gardens with a stirrup hoe in hand and hit all weeds that may have been missed by the first few passes.  The stirrup hoe is excellent for breaking up the top few inches of soil.
  4. Lastly, hit the garden beds with a rake and form your rows and paths in between the rows.
  5. Add soil amendments and compost.  Go plant some vegetables and flowers.

no weeds in the vegetable garden

Now you should fully understand how to clear a vegetable garden full of weeds with hand tools.  Gardening without the use of chemicals and sprays is hard work, but so worth it in the end.  Keep your homestead free of chemicals and use organic and mechanical methods to keep your garden plots looking healthy and weed-free.