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Hoes

Paul's tips on choosing a hoe, that ground-breaking tool for breaking the ground.

The hoe is a time-honored tool. Be it of chipped stone, animal bone, iron or hardened steel, some version of this blade-on-the-end-of-a-stick has been a symbol of working the earth for thousands of years. Here, Paul Epsom shares some tips on a few modern varieties — none really much changed from the ancient original — and all available from a local garden center, through mail order, or the Internet.

Standard Hoe

Standard Hoe

As agricultural techniques have become increasingly fine-tuned, it's been often said that a sharp hoe is good for many garden tasks, but perfect for none. Nevertheless, the hoe is a classic tool with a place in the shed of almost every gardener. Used primarily with a dragging motion, the standard hoe is handy for cutting weeds, loosening soil, and, with the corner, preparing a furrow for planting seeds. The key features to look for are a long sturdy handle and a securely fastened blade — which ensure that you don't break your back or your tool when putting it to use.

Oscillating Hoe

Oscillating Hoe

This labor-saving variety is a favorite of Paul's. It works in both directions, pushing and dragging, to cut annual weeds below the surface of the soil, pulling them up where the sun will wither them away.

Diamond Hoe

Diamond Hoe

Good for gardens in tougher conditions, with perennial weeds and larger stones, the diamond hoe cuts much deeper, pulling up nuisances like dandelions by their roots.

Interchangeable Hoe

Interchangeable Hoe

The interchangeable hoe offers a long handle into which you can slot a variety of different standard interchangeable blade heads according to your specific gardening need. This hoe is particularly good for gardeners with limited storage space, and for transporting a full range of tools with little encumbrance.



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This segment appears in show #2806.

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Published August 31, 2007