What's a Dutch Hoe?
The head and neck are usually made from either forged steel, carbon steel or stainless steel and should be forged in one piece. Avoid the cheap mild steel, brightly painted hoes where the head is riveted to the neck. These soon rust and the rivets will work loose.
The width of the blade will vary between about 10cm (4inches) to about 15cm (6inches) wide.
You can get them wider but these are not practical for the average gardener. 15cm (6inches) is the best blade width for the average gardener.
The handles are mainly wooden, fiberglass, plastic coated tubular steel or aluminium. The wooden handle versions tend to be more heavier and do need some maintenance to keep them pristine.
Some plastic coated tubular steel handles have ergonomic moulded handgrips which are intended to make the hoes more comfortable to use and prevent your hands from slipping.
What's This Hoe Used For and How Do You Use It?
The Dutch hoe is used mainly for general weeding in a push pull motion while walking backwards with the blade just below the surface of the soil.
This will cut weeds off at the roots and create a fine soil tilth at the same time.
You need to be careful when using this hoe making sure you don't cut the stems of your vegetables or plants in the process.
The Dutch hoe can also be used for cutting seed rows. Use the corner of the hoe blade, with the face edge towards the line (assuming you use a string-line to keep your rows straight) but not touching it and you can make a shallow row trench from about 1.3cm (1/2inch) to about 10cm (4inches) deep quite easily.
The Dutch hoe is excellent for making deeper seeding areas. With the blade facing down you can draw out a seed trench as wide as the hoe blade itself. You can go as deep as needed by going over the area a few times. This will give you ideal row for sweet pea, garden peas, and runner or broad bean seeds.
You will find it much easier if you pull the hoe towards you for creating seed drills rather than trying to push it away from you.
How Do You Use This Hoe?
For ease of use and comfort the length of the handle is critical. The handle needs to be long enough to prevent you from having to bend your back too much.
The easiest way to find the right length for you is to select a handle which measures from the ground to your ear.
Stand upright and place the hoe head down on the ground by your side. If the end of the handle at least reaches your ear then it should be the right length for you. If it is a bit longer it will not matter.
The best position for using a Dutch hoe when weeding or breaking the surface soil is to stand upright, holding the hoe as you would a broom.
Stand with your feet apart about 45cm (18inches) and one foot slightly in front of the other. This of course depends on your height, it could be more or less.
Choose a position where you are comfortable without feeling any strain especially in your back. In this position and holding the hoe downwards on the soil you should be able to hoe about 30cm (12inches) in front of you without bending your back and without feeling any strain or discomfort in anyway.
If you do feel any strain or discomfort move to a position where you fell totally comfortable. You may need to readjust your position a couple of times to get it right.
This is why the length of the handle is critical. Get the right length and you are more than halfway to finding your most comfortable position.
Now, always working no more than 30cm (12inches) in front of you push and pull your hoe and slowly walk backwards maintaining that 30cm (12inches) in front of you working zone.
Walk slowly backwards pulling the hoe with you maintaining the correct depth and following the garden line until you reach the far end.
Sources Resource for This Article
The Dutch hoe is recommended for general weeding and breaking up compacted surface of the soil.
comments powered by Disqus