Low tech but extremely versatile, hoes have been used by agriculturalists around the world for literally thousands of years, if there isn’t one in your garden tool box then getting your hands on one would be seriously worth your while.
Available in several different types and about as many shapes and sizes as you can possibly imagine, hoes probably also have just as many practical uses in the garden. Which type you choose will depend on your individual requirements and preferences.
In general hoes fall under two broad categories
- Pull or draw hoes, use a dragging action to move material towards you.
- Push or thrust hoes, use a pushing motion to dig into the ground and agitate the top level of soil, typically at a shallower depth to pull hoes.
Within these categories there are hoes with different shaped blades, blade sharpness, weight, handle lengths and so on. Before purchasing a hoe it is a good idea think about what you’re likely to use it for. For example:
- If you plan to use your hoe to cut away weeds, then opt for a collinear hoe. These have a sharp blade and are used in a sweeping motion similar to a scythe to slice the roots of weeds just below the soil. Collinear hoes are unsuitable for moving soil.
- If you plan to create furrows for planting seeds, or piles of soil around the base of plants then a heavy agricultural hoe is best
As mentioned there are many other variations on the basic hoe design which I won’t cover here, what’s more important to you is knowing which are the best hoes on the market, and from there you can decide which will be best suited to your requirements.
Burgon and Ball Carbon Steel Japanese Razor Hoe
For weeding in a confined space this superior quality short length hoe is almost without parallel, it’s razor sharp Japanese steel blade will make short work of just about anything that finds itself in the way. Complete with a hardwood handle and a hanging strap, with care this hoe will be a handy addition to your garden tool box for years to come.
Wilkinson Sword Stainless Steel Swoe Style Hoe
Wilkinson Sword, it’s a name the oozes history and prestige, and having made their name in the eighteenth century making swords and bayonets they’ve gone on to be world leaders in all manor of sharp things from razors to garden tools. In this case the beautifully crafted head of the hoe is designed to be both elegant and durable, with no weak points that could break through over rigorous use. The angle of the head is designed to make it as easy as possible to push and pull the soil with the minimum of effort, couple that with the comfortable feel (and not to mention great look) of the ash handle and you’re onto a winner.
Draper 88799 Carbon Steel Dutch Hoe
From great British tool manufacturer Draper comes this excellent value Dutch hoe, designed to remove weeds just under the surface of the soil. Featuring a carbon steel blade that can be sharpened time and again means you’ll get years of use out of this thing, and comfortable use at that, thanks to the moulded plastic hand grip on the end and light weight tubular steel handle.