From the Farmer's Almanac website...
"The right tool for the right job” is a good quote for anyone who knows what it is to labor at a task with the very wrong tool. This is certainly true for the seasoned gardener with a shed full of assorted hoes, rakes, hand trowels, and spades for every gardening occasion. And there are few things more exciting for a gardener than coming across a tool that just may make cultivating, weeding, or harvesting easier and more enjoyable. While the following five tools may not have a coveted place in your shed just yet, by the time you are through with the
following list you may find yourself making room next to some of your old standbys for these lesser known, but must-have, tools.
#1. Nejiri Hoe
I came across this little gem of a tool my
second year gardening. I was so excited by it that the woman I was gardening for
gave it to me as a gift at the end of the season. Long used by Japanese
gardeners, this strong and lightweight hoe is excellent for weeding. Many
standard hoes behave more like cultivators, stirring up weed seeds and giving
them an opportunity to sprout. The Nejiri hoe’s sharp blade skims the surface
the soil quickly, eliminating shallow rooted weeds without disturbing the soil
or bringing up the unwanted weed seeds. Traditionally a short-handled tool, you
can also find long-handled versions, which will be easier on your back. If you
are looking for a good hoe like the Nejiri that also does some cultivating, the
Homi Korean plow hoe is a good choice. It is sharp enough to slice through thick
stalks, and good for digging, thinning, transplanting and cultivating.
#2 . Circular Hoe
Just a couple of years ago, I was introduced
to a favorite tool of mine called the scuffle hoe, also known as a hula or
stirrup hoe. The open area in the middle, and its unique swivel motion and
stirrup shape, made it great for cutting away weeds without moving soil
especially along edges. Recently, however, I came across something called a
circular hoe or circle hoe. Similar in design the circular hoe is exactly what
it sounds like, a circular metal ring stuck on top of a long wooden handle.
Unlike the hula hoe, the circular hoe doesn’t swivel, but it still cuts off
weeds without moving the soil. It can also be used as a cultivator. It is best
around and under foliage of your plants, and in tight rows. This might be one
advantage of it over the scuffle hoe, which can sometimes be tricky to use in
tight spaces. The circular hoe is easier to sharpen than the scuffle hoe, too.
The circular hoe has been gaining in popularity, and has won quite a few
different awards for its function and ergonomic design. Still somewhat new to
gardeners, it is definitely going to become a favorite in the future.
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