How To Hoe Your Garden (With Different Types of Tools)

Photo of man hoeing

A garden hoe is an ancient tool used to remove weeds and keep the soil healthy. Regardless of what type you have (and there are multiple types), this garden tool is paramount to keeping your home garden alive. However, there are many types of garden hoes, depending on what you might use. But the ultimate question here is the following: how do you hoe your garden? 

Regardless of the type of hoe you use, the usage of the tool is still the same. You drag it through the dirt so that you can maneuver the soil. With its everyday use (picking up weeds and moving earth), you would use broad sweeping motions.

In the rest of this article, we plan on going through a few different types of hoes, other uses for them, and how those other hoes and uses change how you would use a hoe. 

Types of Hoes You Need To Know About

By understanding the different hoe types, you will be able to understand their various uses. Below are the various categories:

Draw Hoe (Paddle Hoe)

A draw hoe is the most common style of hoe with a standard rectangular shape. It’s for the most common reason to get a hoe: remove weeds and lift the ground. They are for dust mulching, which involves breaking up the top layer of soil. 

You do this commonly if the surface of the soil is dry. 

There is a thinner version of this called the collinear hoe (onion hoe), but it’s just a paddle hoe for more delicate places. 

Warren Hoe (Dutch Hoe)

A warren hoe has a pointy blade that faces out. This hoe is perfect for digging into tight spaces, making it a unique sharp hoe for garden beds with thin patches. It’s also great for hard-to-reach weeds.

The sharp edge also makes this hoe handy for planting seeds. You have to draw the pointing edge along a patch of vegetables you plan on growing. 

Stirrup Hoe (Loop Hoe)

Loop hoes are great for pulling on small weeds without disturbing the soil. It has an attachment resembling a loop (or a stirrup on a saddle). This use explains where it earned this name. 

With these hoes in mind, there are three reasons you would ever need one. They are also known as a “scuffle hoe.”

Grub Hoe (Grubbing Hoe)

A grub hoe is primarily for digging and tilling the soil. It is excellent for breaking up thicker patches of ground, especially when establishing new gardens. 

The Three Reasons To Use a Hoe (and How To Use Them)

There are a total of three reasons for you to use a hoe:

  • Cutting weeds
  • Turning soil
  • Digging and planting seeds 

How To Use A Hoe To Cut Weeds

The best type of hoe to use in this case is any of them. However, the kind of hoe you use will depend on the kind of weeds you are cutting. 

Also, be sure that you don’t have to stretch or haunch over. Hoes are tools designed to make your life easy, take some pressure on your back. If you happened to be short, you should purchase a short-handled hoe. 

If you’ve ever swept a floor before (and I hope you have), the motion is very much the same. Use broad sweeping strokes to try to cut the weeds. With either the warren or loop hoe, you can drag back and forth. Those attachments are made for short weeds (loop) or deep weeds (warren).

You will know you are doing things right after you start to see unwanted weeds lift from the ground.

How To Use A Hoe To Turn The Soil

If your soil is dry,  turning it is a great way to bring up hidden pockets of moisture. The paddle hoe is a happy medium for this, but you can also use a grub hoe. Bot of which are good at disturbing the soil. 

Much like using any hoe, your job is to stand upright, grab the hoe handle, and move in a significant sweeping motion. Because you won’t typically need to worry about other plants on the surface of the soil, you can be a bit wild with this movement. 

The more dirt you capture in a single swing, the better off you will be. You will know things are going well if you start to see happier-looking soil. 

Digging and Planting Seeds

The warren hoe ha time to shine when it comes to using seeds in your garden. Not only is it good at removing seeds, but it’s also good at eliminating deep weed seeds that will take the health of your beautiful plants. 

Just like always, stand upright and drag the warren hoe’s sharp side down in a single file line. You can continue to be in sweeping motions, but be careful to ensure that you stan in a straight line. To address these sweeping motions’ weaknesses, you can drag the hoe along the ground towards yourself. 

Purchase Suggestions for Different Hoe Types

If you are struggling to pick the proper hoe for you, here are some quick suggestions:

Final Thoughts

When it comes to learning how to hoe, your best bet is to understand that there is more than one reason for it. Whether you are tilling the soil, digging up weeds, or planting seeds, there’s the correct type of hoe for every occasion. Of course, owning three different hoes can feel like a bit much if you are new to it, so we recommend starting with the paddle hoe

If you need help with other gardening tools, check out our suggestions for the best non-kinking garden hose. Thanks for reading. 

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