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Four Types Of Hoes For The Garden And How To Use Them

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If you ever wondered what Mr. McGregor was doing in his garden when Peter Rabbit heard the "scritch scratch" of the hoe, you are probably assumed he was cutting weeds with a traditional garden hoe. Although you can't be sure which type of hoe Mr. McGregor was using in his garden, there are several types of hoes to choose from for your own garden. Garden hoes are used to cut weeds, mark rows, and to loosen or level the soil. Knowing which hoe to choose for your gardening needs is important. Check out these four common garden hoes and how to use them before you invest in this versatile gardening tool.

#1 Paddle Hoes

The paddle hoe is probably the first image that comes to mind when most people hear the term garden hoe. A standard sized paddle hoe has a long handle with a blade that measures approximately 6 inches by 4 inches. The blade is attached to the handle with a goose neck so the blade is perpendicular to the handle. Paddle hoes are used by drawing or pulling the hoe towards you.

With a sharp blade, the paddle hoe makes cutting weeds at the soil level a breeze. It can be used to cut weeds or loosen the soil between rows or around plants but may be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces between small plants. It can also be used to create furrows for planting or to level the soil. It requires moderate strength to hoe a large area and puts some strain in the back, as you must stand in a semi-bent position to use the hoe.

#2 Warren Hoes

Warren hoes look similar in size to traditional paddle hoes, but the blade narrows to a point, creating a triangle. The point is used for loosening soil or making furrows for planting. While you can make furrows with a paddle hoe by holding the hoe so that the pointed corner of the blade marks the row, using a warren hoe is simpler and doesn't require an awkward angle. Warren hoes are also ideal for working around plants or getting into tight spaces. Warren hoes are also used by drawing the hoe towards you and place similar stress on your back as using a paddle hoe.

#3 Onion Hoes

Onion hoes look more like a garden rake than a hoe. They have a long narrow blade that is sharpened on both the bottom and sides. The onion hoe is useful for cutting weeds under a row of plants, but it is difficult to use between plants. Onion hoes can also be used for grading or leveling the soil in the garden after tilling the soil. The angle of the blade makes an onion hoe ideal for cutting weeds at the soil level in hard, dry soil. Like the paddle and warren hoe, the onion hoe is used by drawing it towards you and puts stress on your back.

#4 Scuffle Hoes

Scuffle hoes look like the stirrup on a saddle, but don't let their friendly appearance fool you. Their blades are razor sharp and are designed to sever weeds below the soil level. Because the blades swivel with movement there is no back-breaking bending involved in using the hoe. You stand erect and the blade adapts with your movements. In addition, the scuffle hoe works with either a pushing or pulling motion. Scuffle hoes are ideal for soil that is not compacted.

If this is your first attempt at gardening and you have a small area to tend, the traditional paddle hoe makes a good start to your tool collection. It is easy-to-use and effective for a variety of tasks. There is plenty of time to add another hoe to your tool collection as you gain experience and get to know your garden soil and your gardening needs.

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