Just in time for the summer weed season, we’ve chosen the wheel hoe as another Tool for Wiser Living. If you have a large garden, this old-time tool can really reduce weeding chores. T. Greiner describes it in his book, How to Make the Garden Pay, published in 1890:
But the tool of all tools, the modern weed slayer, the great labor saver, the greatest horticultural blessing of the age — that is the modern wheel hoe. This above all others frees the gardener from undesirable work, cuts down the labor account one-half, and makes tillage light and pleasant. The advantages connected with the possession of one of these tools cannot be overstated, nor emphasized too strongly, nor told too frequently. This tool reduces the unpleasant task of weeding to a minimum. Now the half-grown boy runs the wheel hoe up and down the rows of vegetables ‘for fun’ and recreation, and accomplishes in one-half hour what a man with a hand hoe could not perform in a whole day.
Most of today’s wheel hoes feature stirrup-style scuffle hoe blades that slice shallowly through the soil, killing weeds without pulling more seeds to the surface.
The wheels support the hoe as you go. Wheel hoes are rare in stores, but we’ve located four brands online, with prices ranging from $170 to $349: Glaser Wheel Hoes, Valley Oak Wheel Hoes, Hoss Single Wheel Hoes, Maxadyne Wheel Hoes.
If you’d like to build your own wheel hoe, check out Herrick Kimball’s Planet Whizbang Wheel Hoe plan.
Cheryl Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a team of editors which produces high quality content that has resulted in MOTHER EARTH NEWS being rated as one North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years. Connect with her on Google+.