Tools and Stuff forum: Stirrup Hoe/Oscillating Hoe opinions

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Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Jan 16, 2014 4:29 PM CST
Hi,

I wasn't sure which forum to ask about this, but this one seems reasonable.

Does anyone have experience using Stirrup Hoes/Oscillating Hoes and did you like them?

I have problems with fatigue and when I don't feel well the weeds really go crazy in the garden even with mulch sometimes. I'm looking for something that would make it easier to weed even when I'm not feeling great. How tiring are these to operate compared to hand-weeding or using other hoes?

How large of weeds will the hoe handle easily?

I'm looking at the ones that Johnny's sells because they look really well constructed, but they are pricey. I checked out a cheaper one at Lowe's and it looked really lame. Are the Johnny's hoes worth the extra cost?

I was considering the 5 inch blade.

Thanks for any advice! Smiling
Danita
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Jan 16, 2014 6:19 PM CST
In my opinion neither of them is useful unless you have very loose soil. In clay or rocky soil they can't penetrate at all. I have a "Dutch" or "scuffle" hoe that works well, but none of them work on large weeds....only seedlings.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Jan 16, 2014 8:17 PM CST
I haven't tried them. I have two types of garden areas; hard clay covered in compost and wood chips, and a few areas that are so loose and friable that pulling weeds isn't a chore at all. A stirrup hoe wouldn't be feasible for the first, and pretty much unnecessary for the second.

Any type of hoeing is too tiring for me, however, so I just don't do it. Instead, I use a garden fork and body weight to loosen the soil in areas that need weeded, then sit right down and push the biggest roots out with a short piece of concrete reinforcing rod. The smaller weeds just get scratched up with the end of the rod as I pass by them.

If you swing the fork out with your foot and sort of drag/bounce it back on the return, there isn't really all that much effort required to lift it either. Economize on leg fatigue by using the forward/downward pressure of your foot/leg/body on each downward motion. No thrust, shove or stomp, just a steadily increasing downward push utilizing your body weight and the force of gravity. Once it's a few inches in the dirt, push it forward and back (edgewise first, then side to side), and then lift slightly and drag it edgewise to the next area. If body weight isn't enough to get the tines down into the soil you may need to wait until it's a bit more moist.

*Blush* I know this is way more info than you asked for, but just in case it helps.... Whistling

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jan 16, 2014 8:33 PM CST
Hmmm! I must be using my scuffle hoe wrong.

Where the clay is hard, it shaves big and small weeds off clean at the soil line. The roots are still there, and maybe most of them will come back in time, but it is a quick way to deprive the weeds of any chlorophyll surface and make them rebuild everything above the soil line.

Where I've amended the soil, the swiveling blade seems to wind up 1/2" to 1" under the soil surface, and it either cuts the weeds below the soil line, or pulls some root out.

Either one goes really fast. For me, ANYTHING is 100 times easier than stooping, squatting, kneeling or sitting. Getting back up without a skyhook is problematical.

I guess a conventional hoe is better for chopping big weeds below the soil surface, but it seems to me that if something is too big for a scuffle hoe, i might use a fork or a big knife (or rebar) to loosen around it, and pull as much root as I can.

That's ust my 2 cents - I KNOW that I am NOT an effective weeder. But if I'm tired or don't have much time, zip-zip-zip with a scuffle hoe does a temporary cleanup faster than anything else.

Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Jan 17, 2014 4:37 AM CST
I agree with Rick, I have what's called an Action Hoe, I guess it's a sturrip hoe that I've used for about 2+years now. Wore out one, and am on number 2. I file it sharp every spring, but it works really nice in my sandy soil here. Before I moved here, I had a very clay soil where I was, and it worked great there too. I wouldn't garden without it! Rick, that Sky hook thing sure would be nice! Let me know if you find one! Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Jan 17, 2014 6:28 AM CST
I have a couple of oscillating hoes but my tool of choice is a winged weeder. It is the tool I usually reach for.......My soil is clay with some rocks. In an ideal world we would all deal with weeds when they are small and tender.
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jan 17, 2014 10:25 AM CST
My scuffle hoe is okay for a good "top" cleaning but I like the winged weeder for actual thorough weeding. If you get fatigued, I don't think I'd choose a scuffle/oscillating hoe.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jan 17, 2014 5:06 PM CST
>> that Sky hook thing sure would be nice! Let me know if you find one!

Totally!

One made-for-TV version of Dune gave Baron Harkonen a kind of anti-gravity backpack. I want one of THOSE!

Speaking of science fiction, there is a novel where you could create clunky body doubles and sned a copy of your brain into them. After 24 hours, you could upload the memories back into yourself, but the body double itself would dissolve. And you could craft very different body shapes if desired. ("Kiln People", 2002, by David Brin)

I want a temporary dachshund body with about 3 pairs of legs plus some very long arms with hands that could handle a weeder and pull weeds and dig holes for transplants. Its eyes would be so low to the ground that it would not HAVE to stoop to weed or sow or transplant.

And it should have wide feet so it did not compress the soil if it had to set one pair of legs inside the raised bed.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Jan 20, 2014 1:52 AM CST
RickCorey said:>> that Sky hook thing sure would be nice! Let me know if you find one!

And it should have wide feet so it did not compress the soil if it had to set one pair of legs inside the raised bed.


Perhaps, your 'dachshund self' should have small pointed feet. That way it would punch tiny holes in the ground and aerate the soil as it weeded.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Jan 20, 2014 2:33 PM CST
I've seen shoes intended to aerate lawns, like golf shoes with very long spikes. Or maybe that ad was a joke. Shoes like that would be very hard to run in!

The 'dachshund self' should have some fore-claws shaped like a screwdriver or Vee-tipped screwdriver, for weeding. And maybe one claw shaped like a cobra-had weeder.

Actually, it would be handy to have the whole raised bed on a small elevator. Push a button and have it raise up until the soil is around waist-level. Then I could sit in an easy chair and weed.

Not very much like the muttering customer at a nursery, who heard some other customer ask about how she SHOULD be weeding.

"On your KNEES! Like God intended."

Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Jan 25, 2014 9:14 PM CST
Thanks so much for all of the opinions! Big Grin
They are so varied, though, that I'm still not sure about the value of the hoe. Hilarious!

I am looking for something that I could use for 5-10 minutes whenever the spirit moved me and wouldn't require a complete costume change and shower after using it. Grubbing about on the ground is fine when you are committing a day to yard work but not when you just want to spend a few minutes at it and remain clean. Green Grin!

This is the one I was considering:
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-5496-5-stirrup-hoe.aspx

The Winged Weeder looks interesting. Which size do you guys have/prefer?

I already own a long-handled Ho-Mi which is okay for some things but I'm not totally happy with it.

Thanks again! Big Grin
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jan 26, 2014 3:49 AM CST
That one is identical to mine. It's good for a few minutes, methinks.
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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jan 26, 2014 8:38 AM CST
I find the soil (especially GA clay) needs to be moist to be able to even get it to skim the surface. Now, if you're just skimming the top to chop the weeds (small ones), it would work. We have that one and a collinear hoe which works similarly.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

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frankrichards16
Jan 26, 2014 9:29 AM CST
This is kind of like a stirrup hoe. I am not sure what it is called. I have had it for many years and it is my goto tool for weeding.

Thumb of 2014-01-26/frankrichards16/81f274

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jan 26, 2014 10:10 AM CST
Frank, I'd call it a stirrup hoe!
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jan 26, 2014 12:36 PM CST
I have one similar asks just yes it the other day. Actually, somehow I acquired two of them. Mine is square and its hinged so they it moves with me. Like Rick says, it cuts the tops of the weeds superbly! That is all I cared about for my quick run thru. The soil was dry and it worked like a charm with some effort. z but not like the effort put into a regular hoe that did n This just slices the weeds. ETA: I need a new phone. This one types our waaaaay too many typos! My apologies but I hope you can read what I meant to say!
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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Jan 26, 2014 4:05 PM CST
Danita,
I'd go ahead and get one..call it a stirrup hoe, Oscillating hoe, or in my neck of the woods, a "speed hoe". I have 3 of them and wouldn't do w/out them.

When my ground is hard they easily slice off the weeds; when soft the idea is to just slice under the soil, severing the weeds below ground level but yet not disturbing the soil any deeper.

Although I support Johnny's I think with you being in Georgia you'd get a much better deal at Lowe's...they normally sell for about $14.00 there. (Home Depot also offers them but the brand they sell here is not up to snuff for my liking.) Just be sure to check the hoe handle itself, checking the grain of the wood 'cus I've seen they sometimes put the handles on "sideways". And the good thing about Lowe's (and Home Depot) if you don't like it they'll take it back and give you a refund.

Shoe (with a speed hoe in the bed of his pick-em-up truck, another in the tool shed, and usually one out near the garden/greenhouse. Never walk to the garden w/out one; two minutes here or there does wonders!) Smiling
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jan 27, 2014 7:21 AM CST
Just use it when you are feeling well. nodding
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Name: Peter
(Zone 9a)
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Cantillon
Jan 31, 2014 3:08 PM CST

I use the oscillating hoe, a copper one from PKS, called the hydra. It slices through weeds like butter and will easily drift down an inch or so if required. The benefit of both pushing and pulling the hoe is twice the area covered for the effort. I use a dutch hoe when I want to be dipping around a bit slower, or into heavier ground. However since most of the beds are relatively young and soft due to being compounded by myself the copper oscillating hoe is the go to tool.

http://www.pksbronze.com/en/coppergardentools/large-copper-t...
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Jan 31, 2014 3:52 PM CST
I hope people click on that link, that is nice! Reminds me of gold plating.

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