Wednesday 15 May 2013

In The Tool Box: Cobra Head Weeder and Cultivator

I am a child of consumerism. I wish I wasn't. I'm a smart person. Smart enough to know when I'm being advertised too, smart enough to know that I'm being sold a disposable life style practically all the time and smart enough to know that it isn't a good thing. I'm as self aware as I am smart though and I have to admit that part of me wants it to be true. Part of me want to believe that this product will revolutionise my life. Okay, not the whole of my life but the bits of it that the product is relevant to at least.

Sometimes I've been right: there's the Vitamix, MAC lipstick, a flattering overcoat, the iPad. Mostly I'm wrong as evidenced by Urban Decay nail polish, interchangeable knitting needles, and about half a dozen lifestyle books that I bought before I gave up buying lifestyle books.

I'd given the Cobra Head had a big mental build up. I saw it. I thought I must have it. I imagined all I could do with it. I grumbled at every task I had to do without it. I begged Stephen to buy me one. For the good of the allotment! And he ordered me one. From America. A whole other country.
It's covered in mud or it isn't a tool.
Therefore the question that this review seeks to answer is does the Cobra Head live up to the hype that I piled upon it. The answer is yes, hell yes. You could stop reading now and just order one but if three words aren't enough to convince you after suffering through my long rambling opening paragraphs read on.

The Things At Which I've Found My Cobra Head To Be Very Good At

I've been using the cobra head for almost everything since I got it but yesterday I set aside a test bed around 50 cm by 50 cm to display what the Cobra Head is awesome for.

This bed, in between the grass path and the wood that is holding some horticultural fleece down is full of weeds. It wasn't two months ago. The weeds are mostly annuals, young annuals, with one or two perennials that escaped the last weeding.

I could dig this over but I want to disturb as little of the soil structure as possible. Digging that small of a space would be awkward anyway. I could hoe but some of the weeds have gotten large enough to make that a pain, and I'd loose track of the perennials before I could get their roots out. Along the back are some willow cuttings that I need to be delicate around so large tools, again, aren't going to be ideal.

What I'd do ordinarily is take out the perennials, probably with a fork, take out the larger annuals with a hand fork and then hoe over the rest. Using three tools, a quite a bit of time and a lot of the energy I don't always have to spare. Instead: Cobra Head.

First the docks and dandelions. The Cobra Head is built for this, it's sharp end tunnels down and dislodges the root. At least enough for me to get my hands down there and pull. It is an efficient tool, disturbing as little of the surrounding area as possible which is great for my poly-culture hodgepodge of a planting scheme.

Then the larger annuals get plucked out, grab hold of the tops and the cobra head goes in just enough to pull the roots. After that I just scuffled the weed seedlings out as if I were hoeing, leaving them there to die in yesterday's harsh wind.
Then I dropped a pile of dead grass on it, which kind of screwed up the after shot and had no horticultural benefit as far as I know.

Finally I used the cobra head to put some new plugs in there. When the weeds pop up back around them the cobra head will be perfect for taking them out without harming the plants I want. All of that took twenty minutes or so, could probably have done it in less had I not been messing around with a camera.

I'm in love with my cobra head and I'm sure the more I use it the more uses I'll find for it. Unfortunately the only way you can get one in the UK is order them direct from the manufacturer, it's a bit of a pain but even with shipping with the US it works out fairly cheap. At the very least check them out, but you really will want to buy one.

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