A Hoe Review For Dee of Red Dirt Rambling

There are gardeners who claim they don't use hoes in their gardens. And then there are gardeners like Dee of Red Dirt Rambling who have more than one hoe, and freely admit it.

There is, after all, no shame in using hoes in the garden, and no shame in not using hoes in the garden.

It's all about the gardener's preference, I won't judge!

But Dee did ask me to take a look at her hoes and see what I thought, if I had any suggestions for her, just for fun.

The first hoes shown are her long-handled hoes. She has the basics covered with a stirrup type hoe and a regular straight hoe.

The hoe hidden behind the others looks like one with a triangular shaped head. Those are nice, but you can use the corner of the straight edged hoe to serve the same purpose, so it is just a bonus to have that one, too.

What's missing? Well, for starters, I think Dee might find it useful to have a scuffle hoe. It cuts weeds off in both directions, as you pull the hoe toward you and as you push it away. Dee has some raised beds where she grows vegetables intermixed with flowers, or is it flowers intermixed with vegetables, where that might be useful.

She says it confuses the bugs to put flowers with vegetables. It also makes for a prettier garden! I need to do more of that because the bugs were not confused when it came to attacking my squash plants this year, even though I added some flowers.

The other hoe that Dee might use for that red dirt of hers is a grub hoe. It's really good for breaking up hard clay soils, which I assume she has quite a bit of in her Oklahoma garden.

Dee also has a lot of roses, nearly 90 last she counted. Even though we garden in different hardiness zones, if when I decide to grow more roses, Dee is one of several garden bloggers I'll be asking for recommendations from. The other one whose advice I'll seek is Annie in Austin because she gardened in Illinois prior to her garden life in Texas.

Between the two of them, I bet they could come up with quite a collection of roses for me to plant at May Dreams Gardens!

But I digress... back to Dee's hoes, this time her hand hoes.

I count seven in that picture.

I see a Cape Cod weeder in there; those are good, and I love mine. I also see the blue handle of a Cobrahead, another good one.

But I'm really excited to see that we both love the other kind of hand hoes, the ones with those angled heads, what I call the Japanese hand hoe. We both got our favorite one at Smith & Hawken, but they don't seem to carry them any more. That's a shame. One of the reasons I think Dee has so many of that type is because she's afraid she'll lose the one she loves, and can't bear to be without it. I know I am afraid of that and guard mine with my life!

She and I both know that the other hand hoes just aren't the same. The angle of the head isn't qujte right, the length of the handle is a bit off... it has to be THAT one. It just does. If you know of a reliable source for them, please let us know. I'm sure we'd each buy a spare to have, 'just in case'.

Dee has mentioned that her hoes 'go camping' and sleep under the stars. I take this to mean that she leaves them outside to fend for themselves on occasion. She knows, we all know, they'll last longer if she puts them away after using them and keeps them clean and sharp.

My only other recommendation for Dee is she might want a five tine hand cultivator. The one I like is from the the DeWit hand tool company in the Netherlands and I'm not sure of a source for it in the United States. The place I ordered mine from is now wholesale only. If someone knows of a 'state side' source for them, please let us know.

Did you know I met Dee in person once? Yes, at the Spring Fling. It adds a whole new dimension to blog reading when you've met the blogger in person.

So when I was preparing this review of her hoes, I sent Dee an email and asked her what one lesson gardening has taught her. After questioning "just one", she wrote back, "That the entire natural process of life with its birth, flowering and death is a miracle. Also, to not fear mistakes. They are part of the glory of life itself."

Well put! Embrace mistakes for a happier life, for a glorious life!

Thank you, Dee, for sending me your hoe pictures and giving me a chance to review them for you! I think I've learned something by doing this, too. Actually I think I've discovered 'the secret of the hoes'.

More on that later.


This is part of a "dual post" with Dee of Red Dirt Rambling. Visit Dee to find out about our virtual chat over an iced green tea!


  1. "Chuckle . . . chuckle." I confess I don't take as good care of my hoes as I should, and sometimes, I even leave my garden bucket out a "rain bait."

    Thank you for the hoe review, oh Queen of Hoes. I will look into your suggestions. I second your plea that if someone can recommend a source for our fab hand hoe, I would be thrilled. I need another. I bought those impostors when the S&H hoe went missing for awhile.~~Dee

  2. I'm not the Diva. Google just thinks so.~~Dee

  3. Great post Carol. I didn't know their were that many kinds of hoes and all the different uses.

  4. Informative (and almost makes me want a hand hoe although I'm trying not to buy stuff) but really Carol! More teasing us about the secret of the hoes? We want to know!!

  5. I need to better understand proper hoeing technique. Do you do in-garden consultations? Will you become the first hoe-coach?

  6. Loved her comments on bugs;) and comfusing them. Great post and now I understand Dee better. You both have way more hoes than me--who has one!

    I also loved her comment on the Natural Process of Life--what a good question and comment. And..90 roses is just amazing. The scent must be magical.

    Carol--I enjoyed seeing Dee through her hoes and really dig what I learned.

  7. That's a lot of hoes!

    I didn't see your Japanese hoe there, but Lee Valley Tools has a lot of different garden tools and maybe I wasn't looking in the right place. Their tools are excellent quality.

    They might also be able to tell you where you can find it.

  8. Bliss is still a hoe-free zone I'm afraid. I don't even have a scuffle hoe and that's a Dutch invention so by rights I should have one. It was fun reading that you liked the five tine hand cultivator (whatever that is ;-)) best from the Dutch company De Wit.

    Wow to the nearly 90 roses! Dee really has quite a collection. But then I have a very nice collection of trugs and baskets. To each her own. ;-)

  9. Ah, I see Dee and I have the same hand hoe---that nice one on the left. I use mine a lot in the veggie garden, especially now when things are too crowded for my regular hoe.

    This was so much fun to read. And you've got me convinced that I need a scuffle hoe.

  10. A very informative review -- the wHOle topic was well covered. :)

  11. A hoe lota hoe collecting going on between you and Dee.

  12. If I only had one tool, it would be my Japanese hand hoe. It is definitely the workhorse in the garden (that is, besides me!).

  13. Sorry, I'm still not convinced I need a hoe. I guess its because my type of garden is so different from either yours or Dee's. Ok, maybe the grub hoe would be helpful for getting rid of the Forsythia, but I think maybe a pickax would do the job even better. But I still want to know "The Secret of the Hoes"!

  14. Oh! I love your blog! I never know what I'm going to find here, but it's ALWAYS interesting!

    And um, yes, I would buy the magazine even though I have already read the Hoe Analysis and Review column. *grin*


  15. Cold Climate Kathy is dangerous - I should not have been drinking coffee when "Hoe-coach" appeared in the comments, Carol!

    One of the Divas of the Dirt has a diamond-shaped, very sharp hoe that helps her keep the *&$%@ Bermuda grass out of her flower meadow - don't know the exact name. I do okay with the Cobrahead and the Cape Cod weeder in my small borders but Dee has lots of space for using hoes.

    Roses? Ooooh - used to love 'Graham Thomas' and 'New Dawn' and the hybrid musks like 'Felicia' and 'Kathleen', but roses are so personal - the colors, the shape of the buds, fragrance, growth habit (shrub, groundcover, climber, antique, reblooming, etc.). Look at photos or go to public rose gardens and think about what roses you perceive as beautiful and how you might use them. A rose that looks good in the landscape from 10 feet away is different from one whose high-pointed buds will be enjoyed in a vase on your kitchen counter.

    What fun!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose
    {sometimes a Slow-Coach, but never a Hoe-Coach)

  16. After being unable to read blogs for a while, I'm sure glad I stopped by for a HOE POST! Your hoe posts always get me laughing, Carol! Dee is fortunate to have your expert opinion on her hoes. I think all the hoes are great looking. There's nothing like a clean, sharp hoe.

  17. Carol: That one on the left looks like the Wolf-Gaarten hoe. I have that one and like it but not as much as the stirrup/scuffle hoe. Also, I saw a hoe at a garden center yesterday called a Dutch hoe. I had never seen one before and I immediately thought of you and YE of Bliss, of course. I should have taken a picture! Love the hoes.

  18. No hoes at clay and limestone;-> I haven't a need for one that I can tell...this concrete soil (?) needs more strength then a hoe can yield! You haven't convinced me yet,but I am thinking of giving hari-hari knives to my garden friends for Christmas.


  19. That's the first "hoe review" I've ever read! LOL

  20. Gee, I never knew there were so many hoes out there. I have two which are both the same type. I don't use them often. It's nice to find out what the purposes of some of the hoes are.

    I love how her tools go camping, mine have done that too at times. LOL!

  21. Carol, I know this post is "older", but heck, all of us are, so I'll pay it some attention anyway. I'm perusing your site looking for your favorite tools (other than hoes; my garden is currently a hoe-free zone). I needed a hand rake thingie tool and figured you would know the best. I found this website that appears to carry your favorite one:
    Is that it? I notice it also has a few hoes of note...
    The Natural Gardener in Austin has some nice japanese tools that I'm considering, too. They are nicely priced as well. Here they are: http://www.naturalgardeneraustin.com
    Thanks for all the info!


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