Spend less time pulling weeds by using the Straddler, a garden hoe.
The Straddler utilizes the user's body weight and strength.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFFWith full summer almost upon us, a lot of gardeners are likely to find themselves viewing the old cropping grounds with dwindling enthusiasm. The wonderful fantasies of last winter's seed selection are past, and the magical ceremony of planting is only a memory . . . but the backbreaking task of regular maintenance looms bigger and bigger by the day, and there are as yet precious few harvestable vegetables to reward that labor. In fact, it sometimes seems that that the gardener's every free June and July minute is spent hunched over a hoe or a wheel plow — eyes aching with sweat — in the effort just to keep up with invading weeds.
The result of that work is the somewhat odd-looking implement. It consists of a two-part shaft, a "push pad" and a handle-and-suspender assembly all of which can be adjusted to suit the physique of the user.
Several of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' staffers put the Straddler through its paces during the summer of 1981, and all were quite pleased with the cultivator's design, ease of control and light weight. Of course, it would be quite a task to actually plow a new bed with the Straddler (although it could certainly be done, particularly in good soil). But when you're facing the charge of the crab grass or the attack of the amaranth, you might just find that it is, indeed, time to meet that challenge with a step backwards!
EDITOR'S NOTE: The original Straddler is out of production.