Warning: This Post is About Hoes!

Is hoeing becoming a lost skill amongst gardeners? A dying art? A forgotten trade?

In my most recent survey of readers who visit this blog, it turns out that out of 100 respondents, only 13 have more than three hoes, and that includes me. (I’m not sure how many hoes I have, but I know it is more then three.)

14 gardeners have three hoes, 18 have two hoes, and 35 have one hoe.

An astounding 17 people who responded to the survey have no hoe at all!

But many had comments, including…

“It’s a borrowed hoe.” Borrowed? From who (or is it whom?) I never loan out my hoes and no one will let me borrow a hoe, for fear it won’t be returned. Let me go on record stating that I have never stolen a hoe, so I have no idea where anyone would get the idea that if I borrowed one, I wouldn't return it.

“Well, some of them are not technically mine. I'm assuming that anything in the shed counts.” Well, if it is a hoe it counts. But why would a gardener have someone else’s hoes in his/her shed?

“Two really old ones from when this house belonged to my father-in-law, but, I have not used them. Blasphemous I know! I actually prefer to get down on my knees with a small hand tool.” No comment. It is kind of blasphemous to leave a couple of old hoes unused in the shed. Oh, wait, I have several old hoes that I don’t use anymore, either, so maybe it is okay.

“I mean...I thought pimping was illegal in the US?” Everyone’s a comedian these days! I guess the comment “tee hee” should go along with this one. For the record, I’m writing about gardening tools here, fellow bloggers and gentle readers, and nothing else. I’m sorry you had to read that.

“None, and it's a good thing this is anonymous!” I can only guess who left this comment, but really, I don’t judge a gardener by their hoes. Really, I don’t.

“I *use* one, but I don't actually own it... I rent an apartment and I found a hoe in the basement and just helped myself.” Another borrowed hoe! But I guess hoeing with a borrowed hoe is better than not hoeing at all.

“Honestly, for the size of my yard I have not needed one yet. Again, maybe next summer I will aspire to hoe-ownership!” Clearly, this is a smart person who understands that owning and using hoes, in the garden, is a good thing, something to aspire to.

“If you count hand hoes. I had to run outside (in the moonlight) to count, though, so I'm not a hoe ho.” Does this mean this gardener left their hand hoes outside instead of safely inside in a shed? Oh, I think I know who left this comment! And what exactly is a hoe ho?

So what conclusions can we draw from this survey question?

If you were a hoe maker, would you have hope for the future of the hoe industry? Will hoe collecting ever become “the next big thing” like collecting Beanie Babies or Hummel figurines?

Is hoeing a forgotten skill amongst gardeners? Will their be a resurgence of hoeing as more gardeners take up vegetable gardening? Will more gardeners grow vegetables?

Like most surveys, this one gives us much to think about and actually raises more questions!


Thanks to all who participated in the survey. It’s closed now due to having 100 respondents, the most I can have with the free version of the tool I used. Watch for future posts on the responses to the other four questions. Some of the information may actually be useful…

In the meantime, feel free to use this hoe information as you feel fit, as long as you link back to this post as the source of this Important Hoe Research!


  1. I always thought a hoe ho was a chocolate covered cup cake. Hmmmmm

  2. I think Lisa is right; a Hostess Hoe Ho. I can't think of anything else to say but, Hoe, hoe, hoe!

  3. Hoe Hos were my favorite lunch snacks as a kid.

  4. Carol, I have an inherited hoe - it was left here by former owners. Shameful, I know. Maybe you should post a Hoe tutorial for all of us wanting to hoe around - you know, the proper way to treat a hoe, how to hold a hoe, how not to misuse a hoe, basically hoe 101.

  5. I read somewhere that hoeing reduces slugs and is as good as slug pellets. Does anyone know if this true?

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  6. Does hoeing imply having a row to hoe? Maybe fewer people are growing plants in rows, either because they're making decorative square-foot type vegetable gardens, using mulch, or not growing veggies at all.

  7. I wasn't the one with only a hand hoe, although I love them best. Funny and enlightening post.~~Dee

  8. I didn't get to do your survey, but I will comment here that I have one hoe that I've never used except once to shove some pea gravel around. Maybe if you don't have a vegetable garden you don't need a hoe?

  9. Alas, no hoes here. But 8 different styles of rakes so I am considering that my own specialty.

    My most treasured tool: a bamboo broom for sweeping my moss garden purchased at the Japanese Garden in Portland and hand-carried on the airplane back to Wisconsin.

  10. Maybe you don't need to grow in rows to use a hoe, but the weeds need to be tiny, don't they? A hoe doesn't work so well on established taproots.

  11. I'm a two hoe person, but one I only have because it was a hand-me-down tool from my grandmother when she moved to an apartment. Otherwise I'd just have one, a hand hoe. I'd much rather be on my knees hoeing.

  12. I used my hoes more early on in the garden..there's not much room any more to swing a hoe.

  13. With raised bed gardens and intensive planting, using lots and lots of compost, all I need for weeding is two fingers. I doubt I had to pull a dozen small weeds this year...and most of those were actually seeds that had sprouted from the kitchen scraps I'd trench composted.

  14. Unfortunately I missed your survey. In fact, I own five hoes, and use them regularly. Luckily, I've got a husband who's got the machinery to sharpen them again after use.
    For some reason, however, not a single one of them was bought -- at least not by me. Some were in the shed of our first house when we bought it, others were inherited. Hoes tend to have a rather long life, so I do feel rather sorry for hoe makers. If these tools never break, who would buy new ones?

  15. No hoes, but a perennial spade, just a few rakes and plenty of tools for removing big rocks!


  16. Here's the thing. I do own hoes and was excited about purchasing them but I don't really use them as I hardly have any weeds (yeah right). Eh-hem, actually I also own a spanish tool whose name escapes me that is a heavy duty combo between a hoe and a pickax. That's useful.

  17. I hate to admit that I don't own a hoe and have never borrowed one. I suspect that's because I've never grown enough veggies to make hoeing a necessity. I just called my dad and discovered that he has three hoes. One he borrowed from his dad about 50 years ago.

  18. Who else would take a census of hoes but Carol, and who else could get more than 100 people to answer the survey!

    We kept our hoes when we moved to Texas, but they aren't really useful in our small vegetable plot with so many rocks. They worked well when we had 1/2 acre of deep Illinois soil.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  19. Actually, Ho-hos are cylindrical chocolate cakes wrapped up with white creamish filling & covered in chocolate. Yes, my mother is the junk food queen & used to shop at the Hostess outlet store every week. But back to the point - without an in-ground veggie garden, I have no use for my hoe. It's too big & unwieldy to use in the ornamental garden. I'm not entirely certain why I have one.

  20. I only have one. Who needs more than one hoe anyway?

  21. Oh, my. I missed this survey. Too busy to read blogs this summer. I definitely have more than three hoes. Someday I should write about my favorite, a little hand weeding tool that I use for clearing out the stuff that accumulates between the stone pavers leading up to my front steps. Yes, it's a crack hoe.

  22. What was it that Annie called us one-hoe wonders? Monohoegamous?


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