Wheel Hoe

les_neliOctober 5, 2008

I'm looking into getting a wheel hoe and I was just wondering if anyone out there is using one. I'm debating about getting the valley oak hoe, the glaser hoe, or seeing if my Dad and I can make one this winter - the cheap side of me coming out :)

If you use one do you find it helpful? Which attachments do you have?

Thanks in advance for any help.

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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

I recently got the Glaser wheel hoe and the three tined cultivator for it. It's incredible.

I'm not a professional grower but I'm expanding my flower gardens to 3000 square feet, in two beds with 12 rows in total.

I used the wheel hoe to turn the lawn into garden. First I scored the turf with a mantis tiller. Then I worked out the turf clumps bit by bit with the wheel hoe using the three tined cultivator attachment. I let the bed rest for a few weeks, and then raked and stacked the dead and dying grass shreds for several weeks to let them break down a bit.

While the grass was cooking down in piles, I used the 8 inch oscillating hoe attachment to work the soil and cultivate down to about 6 inches depth - coaxing out rocks and tree roots as I cultivated.

A few weeks later I came back and raked the partially composted dead grasses over the surface of the soil. Right now they are just sitting there on the surface, dried off. Next I'll gently re-cultivate the whole area every 3 - 4 weeks until the ground freezes to turn the organic matter back into the soil. One or two gentle turnings in the spring and I'll be ready to plant.

The soil in the new garden beds looks really promising. The last time we dug a garden bed in our soil it involved spade and pick axe to break through the pan. With the wheel hoe I could just sheer layer after layer off. Time consuming and strenuous, but much easier and better results than digging our soil with a pick axe! Only word of warning is that you don't want to try to rush to finish a job like that - I did part of the deep cultivation work in 16 hours over two days and hobbled for a week afterwards. But done in 4 hour or less chunks a day even tough wheel hoeing just feels like good exercise and has a motion much like swimming.

I chose to go to a wheel hoe and row system here because my biggest weed problems were grasses encroaching from the lawn and weed growth in garden spots where I couldn't reach in easily to weed.

From here on out my weeding routine will be zipping down each row and around the perimeter weekly with the wheel hoe, and walking the rows each morning with a cup of coffee and a narrow collinear hoe or weed wire tool (from Johnny's - hoe one day and weed wire the next).

I expect this will keep my gardens pretty much weed free without mulching. I'll used the cultivated soil and understory plantings for weed suppression and moisture retention. (I really hate the whole "little islands of plants floating in 4 inches of mulch" style of gardening.)

The wheel hoe was worth the purchase price for the initial digging and cultivating work alone. Had I tried this with a tiller I would have just been bouncing off rocks and roots. With the wheel hoe I just coaxed the soil into cultivation and now have a great foundation for my "rest of my life" garden.

For just plain weeding the wheel hoe is an absolute a dream to operate. Quiet, gentle exercise, easy weeding, and efficient.

I like the wheel hoe so much that I will be removing our very last 1/3 of front lawn in 2009 and we'll use it for herb plots between our container gardens. That will mean that my whole front lawn will be hoed, not mowed. And the rest of our land is mowed by a cow - so we won't need to do any mowing ever again. :)

The Glaser hoe is really worth the money. It's built to last a lifetime and it is really versatile. I wouldn't trade mine for anything. If you are planning to do large scale planting for the rest of your life, you can have no better tool.

I've attached a link so you can see what the garden expansion looks like. After initial scoring with the mantis, this was all wheel hoe work. In the photo you can sees the grasses raked into piles for light composting.

Lynda

Here is a link that might be useful: New garden expansion

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 12:39PM
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buckster(z8)

Hi Les,

There is an article about the wheel whole in the 2002 of growing for market.

The best advice they said in the article is to have the weight in back of the wheel not over the wheel. Make sure the handles are not over the wheel, this is not a good transfer of energy.

I'm also looking for one too. The people in the article when to garge sales and put an ad in the paper.

Good luck,
Bucky

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 12:42PM
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les_neli

Thanks for the replies. I've decided to buy the Valley Oak hoe in the near future - just trying to decide what attachments I want with it.

Bucky - I haven't read this forum for a while and kind of chuckled cause I just ordered growing for market with the back issues. Last nights reading included the article which you mentioned and then today I read your post. A little off topic but I'm thoroughly enjoying the articles.

I find it kind of odd that I have not seen anyone around here use or know of wheel hoes. I know I don't know many market gardeners personally but I thought by now I would have seen or heard people mention them if they are as good as I read them to be. Another market grower I met two years ago had her husband build one for her but then she left our market so I did not hear how that worked out for them. I highly doubt I'll be able to find a wheel hoe at a garage sale any time soon so I've decided to fork out the cash.

Anyways, thanks again for your replies.
Jen

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 7:26PM
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buckster(z8)

Hey Jen,

Funny you should post.

I just got one at a garage sell for ten bucks. Now this is nothing like the valley oaks hoe.

The one I got will only put in a row to plant. I will have to monkey around with it to make a weeder out of it.

Now there is a site that tells u how to make one using a bike tire and a pair of forks from the bike. I was going to make one this way. Just do a search with makeing a wheel hoe in it.

I can tell you that I'm happy with my garge sell find. I didn't want to spend 400 bucks plus on something I have never used.

I'm more into looking for a deal on weed cloth right now. The expenses for labor and weeds is too much.

Hey anyways good luck. I had found some on craigs list but they were mostly back east.

Take care Buck

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 10:07PM
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