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A garden hoe is a handy tool for controlling weeds and keeping the soil healthy in a garden. There are several types of hoes and each one is designed for a specific job. This guide will show you how to choose the right hoe for the job so managing your garden weeds is a breeze.
What is a Garden Hoe?
A hoe is a garden hand tool used to cultivate the soil and remove weeds. It's an ancient tool that predates the plow. Hoes were used in ancient Egypt and in the Sumerian culture to cultivate gardens. It has a simple design—a long handle with a paddle, blade or stirrup at the end, typically at an angle to the handle.
Types of Garden Hoes
Although hoes have similar designs, there are a few variations. Choosing the right design will make your work in the garden much easier. Here are the main types of garden hoes:
Paddle or Draw Hoe:
- Perhaps the most commonly used garden hoe, it features a rectangular paddle at the end of the handle that is angled at 90 degrees. It is a good general hoe that will dislodge weeds by the root and can mound and shape soil. The paddle hoe is used by pulling it back or making a chopping motion. There are also small versions featuring smaller paddles for tight spaces.
- Also known as a shuffle or loop hoe, this tool has an attachment that resembles a stirrup on a saddle. The stirrup hoe is used with a back-and-forth motion that helps to dig out stubborn weeds without displacing soil.
Collinear or Onion Hoe:
- This hoe features a long and thin paddle. It's designed to weed in narrow spaces. The blade rides parallel to the surface of the soil. It's used in the same manner as the paddle hoe—in a chopping and pulling motion.
Warren or Dutch Hoe:
- This hoe features a flat triangle or spade blade attached at a 90-degree angle. The pointy end of the blade faces out and is used to get into tight spaces or to dig out difficult weeds.
How to Use a Garden Hoe
Hoeing regularly is the best way to manage weeds and keep the soil in your garden from getting compacted. The best time to hoe your garden is when the soil is dry. If it's too wet, the gardening hoe will not be able to shift the dirt and effectively sever the weed's root system.
The draw or paddle hoe works best for slicing off weeds in the garden.
- Hoe your garden early in the morning, before you water the plants.
- Stand straight when you hold the hoe. The tool is designed so you do not have to hunch over. Keep an upright position while using the hoe so it's easier on your back.
- Hold the hoe as you would hold a broom to sweep a floor.
- Angle the hoe so that the tip of the blade will enter the soil just below the surface.
- Use a broad, fluid sweeping motion to slice the tops off the weeds.
- Change hands frequently while hoeing so your hands won’t get sore. Wear gardening gloves to protect your hands.
To weed with a stirrup hoe, move the tool with a back and forth wiggling action. The tool slides just below the surface of the soil, cutting the roots of the weeds.
A Warren or Dutch hoe is perfect for prepping your garden for planting seeds.
- Draw the tip of the hoe handle down the row to create a shallow furrow for shallow-planted seeds such as turnips, radishes and lettuce.
- Use the corner of the hoe blade to create a deeper furrow for seeds that require deeper planting such as corn, beans and squash.
A garden hoe is a versatile gardening tool that will help keep your garden weed-free and the soil properly aerated. Shop The Home Depot for the gardening tools you need to keep your garden healthy. Need a garden hoe today? No problem. Shop online and pick up in store.