Wheel Hoe Day

Wheel hoe

Finally, the new wheel hoe arrived today from the Valley Oak Tool Company in California! This simple and amazing garden tool is so little known in these parts, I had to order it from another country… I hadn’t used one before, but I had a very clear idea of how it should work, and it didn’t disappoint. You walk it along, pushing with minimal force, and the blade slices through the soil, beheading all weeds in its path. With ease. A slight arm adjustment translates into precise depth control, and the double-edged 8″ blade works on a back-pull as well. Even fist-sized rocks (a constant feature in this field) don’t phase it, they simply slip through the hoop. It’s at least 3-4 times faster than hand hoeing, and it matches the Horse walking rototiller for path clearing, minus the noise and gas. Amazing! (In the numerous shipping documents, I liked the note to Customs from the toolmaker, an organic veggie farmer himself: “Please let this package be delivered ASAP. There is a farmer awaiting his new tool.”)

15 thoughts on “Wheel Hoe Day”

  1. Where did you get this fabulous tool? – it looks like it will make work alot easier.
    I thought the toolmakers note was great – made me chuckle.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  2. This fine tool (even sweeter after day two!) is from Valley Oak, in California, USA. There are other wheel hoes available from the US, but too expensive to ship (export) to where I am. You can search the web for…”wheel hoe”. And there’s a whole wheel hoe system from Glaser, which I think is from Europe (Switzerland?). Valley Oak came recommended in Growing for Market, and I talked to toolmaker/farmer David and he’s cool!

  3. Hey marci: It’s expensive and a luxury, or even unnecessary, for a smaller home garden, but if you’re microfarming, probably from a quarter acre (1,000 sq m) up , it pays for itself in no time. On my two acres or so, I can easily spend, say, 10 hours a week hand weeding, for at least 15 weeks, a total of 150 hours. If I save half that time, that’s 75 extra hours to harvest, plant more stuff, whatever, and I’ve gotta be worth at least $5 an hour. With those really conservative figures, that’s $375 in the first season! (Sorry for rolling out the arithmetic, but it often comes down to that! :) Plus, wheel hoeing is fun!

  4. I love my wheel hoe. I can turn my 14 year old daughter loose in the 15′ x 30′ garden and 20 minutes later she’s done. It’s a huge labor saver.

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  6. The Wheel Hoe Mentioned in this blog is the Valley Oak Wheel Hoe. The latest version features a cam lever and a release pin for easy adjustment and changing of attachments in the field without the need of tools.

    The other big news is that the price has dropped to $265.
    Click this link to the Valley Oak website and check out the videos to see the Wheel Hoe in action

    Thank you,
    Adrian Johnson

  7. I have two very old wheel hoes , I am a landscaper by trade and dont know how I managed without them , they have replaced my power cultivators , I recommend grubber teeth for heavier work , and am making a simple tool , based on the wheel hoe , but heavier intended for primary cultivation , I will let you know how the experiment goes.

  8. Good morning, very good day,
    I am very happy to find your blog, a blog full of information for small organic farmers.
    I live in Brazil, and also am a small organic farmer, and as you are there in Canada here in Brazil there are many difficulties in finding proper tools and high performance to meet our needs.
    I await a return of you reporting on this product, I have much interest in adquirilo.
    Greetings Agroecologies Thiago Matujacki Koscrevic, Laguna, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

    • Hi, I updated the post with the name of the company I got this wheel hoe from, Valley Oak, and it is linked to their web site. They are in California, and may be able to ship to you. Years later, and the original blade on mine hasn’t broken! Overall, I swear by my Valley Oak! :) I have tried other styles as well, and they all work, I imagine you can get used to any one. So you can contact Valley Oak to see if they ship to Brazil, or just google “wheel hoe” and there are at least a couple of other companies that sell wheel hoes from different manufacturers. Good luck, it’s well worth getting one!

      Oh, yeah, there are also some do-it-yourself plans online, or you can figure it out yourself, they’re quite simple, and build or have one built as well, it shouldn’t be too expensive, around the same price as buying one. And you may want to check Tiny Farm Gear, another web site I have with some market garden tool info, including another brand of wheel hoe.

      Hope that helps!

  9. Available in India from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana campus for Rs.1200 or about $20. Comes with a single tine. A 3 tine attachment can be bought separately for Rs.350 or under $6. You’ll need to contact the Farm Prototype Production centre (presently headed by Dr. Dikshit). Also available from Falcon Garden tools based out of same city. Price not specified on website.


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