Tuesday, December 30, 2014

@The Brilliant Homestead: The Top 5 Best Garden Hoes

The following post was originally published over at TheBrilliantHomestead.com.
Unfortunately, thanks to the decline of Western Civilization, even saying the word “hoe” now evinces smirks and winks.
We’ve left our agrarian roots and have immersed ourselves in the cesspool of the inner city.
Yet for us who have left the city and sought out simpler lives connected with the soil, our hoes are comforting tools that fit nicely in the hand and lead to clean rows, stronger crops and a healthy mind.
However, not all hoes are created equal. Today we’ll take a look at a variety of different types of garden hoes and how they’re used.

Garden Hoe #1: The Gooseneck Hoe/Paddle Hoe/Garden Hoe

This is the classic garden hoe in North America.
Unfortunately, modern models don’t consist of a single forged head and handle mount like the antique model above. Instead, the gooseneck portion is welded onto the blade and then fits into a hole in the bottom of the handle where it’s held in place by a cheap stamped metal collar.
Look around for an old one – you’ll appreciate it. The cutting steel is remarkably fast compared to the modern metal. It’s like the difference between a cheap stainless butter knife and a good carbon steel blade. You’d choose the latter for food prep: do the same in the garden with your hoe.
The swan neck on the hoe should be adjusted to maintain a good angle with the ground the gardener stands and hoes his garden.
This is a good, quick blade for tougher hoeing jobs and larger weeds, as well as little weeds. If you find yourself chopping at the ground, you’re doing it wrong. Sharpen up your blade and ease into your work.

Garden Hoe #2: The Scuffle Hoe/Hula Hoe/Stirrup Hoe/Oscillating Hoe

The Swiss oscillating hoe sold by Johnny’s Selected Seeds. We want one.
Yes, there are a lot of common names for one hoe. Hoes need to be given Latin names. Let’s just call this one Marra oscillatus.
This hoe is a country housewife’s favorite and for good reason. Rather than scraping the weeds in a repeated scraping stroke-and-lift as you would with a regular hoe, you scuffle this hoe back and forth, letting the oscillating blade snip through the weeds, effectively decapitating them.
The scuffle or hula hoe is a major time saver that makes cleaning up weeds a snap, provided they’re not too entrenched. If they are… you’ll need the next hoe.

Garden Hoe #3: The Grub Hoe

The grub hoe is an earth chopping monster. Unlike the previous two hoes which are created for lighter weeding projects, the grub hoe is an earthmoving tool consisting of a heavy forged head that points at a little less than a 90 degree angle from the handle. This is the primary cultivating tool in much of the undeveloped world. It’s easy to use than a shovel for digging, plus it’s more than strong enough to chop through tree roots, smash through hardpan and till new ground.


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At December 30, 2014 at 9:33 PM , Anonymous Andi said...

I have a stirrup hoe but it doesn't have an oscillating head. I bought one having heard many places that it was excellent for weeding. I have yet to use this hoe and not really tear up the soil- frankly, I think I'm doing it wrong.

At December 30, 2014 at 11:21 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

I know the type you mean. Those can be monsters. Too deep.


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