In the Garden:
Lower South
December, 2007
Regional Report

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An oscillating hoe is one of several great designs that makes gardening work easier and faster.

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe for the Holidays

I don't need to tell you that weeds are part of gardening. Weeds and I ... well, we go way back. I recall childhood days when I was assigned the task of weeding as punishment for misbehaving (let's just say that we had the most weed-free garden in town).

In the past few years I have discovered some really nifty hoe designs that make weeding a lot easier. My collection has grown to a dozen or more different styles, with each having its best use for working the soil surface to remove weeds. A few cut on the push stroke, some on the pull stroke, and others cut on both strokes. Here are three of my favorites.

Oscillating or Scuffle Hoe
This hoe has a stirrup-like strap of metal sharpened on both edges that pivots back and forth at the point of attachment. You can cover a lot of ground quickly using this hoe in a push and pull action. It's great for cultivating as you weed.

Swan Neck Hoe or Half Moon Hoe
A curved arching neck, a fairly narrow blade with a curved top, and a straight cutting edge help this hoe get into tight places to remove weeds. It is also used in a sweeping motion alongside your body with the handle upright.

Diamond Hoe
This hoe has a wide diamond shape with sharp edges on all four sides and long narrow points on the left and right ends of the diamond shape. It is used with both push and pull action in a sweeping motion as the blade moves just below the soil surface.

There are many other great specialty hoe designs on the market including collinear, circle, Korean, and cavex. Any of these unique gardening hoes would make a nice gift to the gardeners on your list. There are long-handled versions as well as designs with short handles. Don't skimp on quality; a cheap product is soon broken while a quality gardening tool can last for decades.


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