Appalachia Gardening

Do You Use a Wheel Hoe?


Photo courtesy of Hoss Tools

In Dean Mullis’ recent newsletter he mentioned using a wheel hoe in his garden for weeding. He linked to a short video describing the merits of a wheel hoe and I was intrigued. I had never even heard of a wheel hoe but now I think I want one 🙂

I’ve seen wheel hoes at museums or antique type places, I just didn’t realize that’s what they were. Pap never used one that I know of.

If any of you are familiar with wheel hoes, please share what you know about them. Are they as handy as they sound?


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  • Reply
    wayne Hipkins
    March 27, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    Surprised no one mentioned the old Planet Jr. brand which I think was probably the first brand of push plows marketed. The co. also sold a wide variety of earth engaging attachments for the plows. The last ones of that brand were manufactured I think in 1970’s. They are now collectors ‘s items & command a high price if in good condition.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 28, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    I’d call that device a “push har”! The old one we have has a blade on it…works great to lay off a row…but the ground already better be loose as a goose or you’ll push your self to death…We had tines on our rotor-tiller that you could take -off down to three to make a har-like weed snagger…LOL Roy went to the trouble only a time or two….He said he’d just rather set the plow shallow and go down the middle, a bit close to the beans, etc..Then hoe the rest by hand…I used our hand push plow thingy for decoration for years…It disappeared a few years ago…Maybe a two legged varmit wanted it or it got left by the garden and saplings took it over…

    We had storms about all day yesterday…then last night around three in the morning UP jumped the devil…boomers so loud and continuous flashing…Just about the time It would calm when the rain started, I’d doze off and another one rolled over…this went on until about nine or ten…One good thing everything didn’t burn up like last year…seems it is feast or famine. Late in the morning, the better half brought in some very wet cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes. Nothing like fresh cucumbers and tomatoes sliced for lunch with a sandwich…We grew our cukes on metal lattice so they climbed right up and easy to pick and easier to see…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    I love Hoss tools and their videos. We have an old metal one here but it’s way too heavy for me.

  • Reply
    wally avett
    June 28, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    It’s a push plow. I was raised down in the central Piedmont section of NC, they were common. I have one my Dad used in our gardens, it’s now hanging on the side of an outbuilding behind my house. Used it this year to lay off the rows in my little garden before planting.

  • Reply
    Virginia Malone
    June 28, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    I have seen them but never used one.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 28, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    We had one when I was little, but it was so rocky, we had to use a horse to plow. One time I tried laying-off a row, looked like a dog’s hind leg. Daddy saw it and said “that’s OK son, you can get more stuff in a Crooked Row.” But the next day, he had got ole Alice out of the barn and straightened it right up.

    I’m sorry Jim, but a motorized Tiller worked better. When we got a Davidson-Bradley tiller, it solved most of our problems. The hand tiller we had used a larger steel wheel and a plow behind.
    Others might be more help. …Ken

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    We found one of these left here on the farm by (I’m supposing) Jim’s grandparents. I’ve only used it on occasion, but I think I’ll hang on to it anyway!

  • Reply
    Richard Hopkins
    June 28, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    The wheel hoes definitely have their place in a family garden. I have a hundred year old one from my grandpa’s farm that I still sometimes use. I tried a Hoss two-wheel hoe, and it was VERY impressive. Not gonna break ground with it, but it is GREAT for small hilling, weeding, and cultivating. The two wheel model is much more stable when having to use some muscle, and will prevent you from getting crazy and running over young plants. Also, the Hoss seeder works very well. It seems to work much better than the seeders sold at Home Depot. No, it’s not a Jang, but it is a back saver and works fairly well with uncoated small seeds. This package deal is expensive, but it’s a once in a lifetime purchase.

  • Reply
    harry adams
    June 28, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    I just came from my garden using one to checkout handle repairs. I am getting ready to lay my first planting of sweet corn by using it. I have 6. 2 in the main garden cultivator and plow, cultivator in the potato garden and cultivator in the hops and field corn garden. 2 are in the farm shed. All are old that were picked up years ago before they became popular yard ornaments.

    One of them has the old metal wheel replaced with a bicycle wheel. that one is the easiest to push. They work well in loose soil, but don’t plan on breaking up the garden with one. I’ll use one of these before I’d try to crank a tiller. As long as I run. I know it will run.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 11:12 am

    I have an old push plow ( Dad called it a potato hiller because that was what they mainly used it for). I’ve seen the push tillers but we have a gas powered tiller which is easier for these old bones. I grew up on a truck farm. First pickings went to the trucks that would line up along the field and into which the field crews would dump the harvest. They were paid by the pound before the bags or baskets were dumped in the truck. There were always a few who would pick up rocks to add to their bag weight. Family gleaned the fields for what we would eat and can and share with folks in town who couldn’t join in the gleaning. When winter Texans started arriving in droves, far too many thought the fields were there for them to pick what they wanted whenever they wanted. The retired farmers among the winter Texans tried to straighten them out but so many of them kept coming before the first picking because they wanted the good stuff to can for their families up north. We had to call police on them several times. They could really put a dent in a farmer’s income since there was never just one doing it.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 28, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Have seen the push cultivators with 3 times but never used one. I would like to see one in use but I have a suspicion it would not work well in heavy soils.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 9:49 am

    I always called it a push plow. I never liked them except to lay off rows. The three toothed version as seen in the photo was sometimes called a cultivator.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    June 28, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I actually have two hand push plows. One left here by Daddy and another one I got a-holt of when Susan and I were in our first home ages and ages ago.

    Although I have several attachments, I normally keep one outfitted with a single tongue and the other with a harrow. As Jim said, the single tongue is great for laying off rows. The harrow is really good for ripping up weeds in between rows as well as preparing a seed bed. In fact, I used it last week prior to throwing out some butterfly and hummingbird attracting seed. There are now thousands of plants emerging. The question is – how many are from the seed I dispensed and how many are dadgum weeds?

    By the way, we had four inches of rain overnight and thunder unlike anything I recall. Any of the other BlindPig patrons see/hear any of it?

    • Reply
      June 28, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Don-not sure how much rain we had over night but it was plenty 🙂 Still raining and thunder booming here this morning. I had to be out and about in yesterday’s storms and didn’t like it one bit. Had to wait for one tree to be cut out of the road and watched another one fall just in front of me!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I didn’t know it was called a “wheel hoe,” but I have one. I just knew it was an antique and have used it in our flower garden for many years. Mine has the harrow prongs but the wheel is larger than your picture shows. Our soil here has a lot of clay and little rocks so you better have some muscle if you want to push one through a garden here.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Sears sold a lot of these years ago in the garden department before the store moved to the mall.
    They are designed for use mainly in small vegetable gardens around the home . They were not made
    for ground breaking but make weeding and hilling in tilled soil somewhat easier than using a hoe.
    You get a of good exercise using one though. Earthway Products makes them today (similar to the
    one Sears sold) at their plant in Bristol Indiana . Hardware stores in Hayesville, NC and Hiawassee,
    GA are listed as dealers for them.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 8:40 am

    I have the rusted remains of one at my place, and often wished I could have a functional one – anything that saves leaning is a fine thing in my book! Recently at a tag sale I saw a new one, looked very well-made – maybe in Norway? – with multiple attachments. It looked lovely but the fellow wanted $150 for it, used, and while it may have been “worth the price” I’m sorry to say that was too rich for my blood.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 28, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I never used one but I do remember my Aunt and Uncle used one in the truck patch.
    I wonder why they called it the truck patch. Anyone know?
    It was on about an acre of land and close to the house.

    • Reply
      June 28, 2018 at 8:36 am

      Gayle, to me, a “truck garden” is one where you intend to take some of your produce somewhere to sell. Could that be what your Aunt and Uncle were doing?

    • Reply
      June 28, 2018 at 9:41 am

      A truck garden or truck farm usually refers to fruits and vegetables grown for home use with any excess “trucked” around the neighborhood and sold. A truck wasn’t always a gas or diesel powered vehicle. A cart or draft animal drawn wagon was sometimes called a truck back in the good old days. Back at the time when railroad cars were called wagons.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Lehmans catalogue out of Ohio should still carry them.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 28, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Tipper–I’ve never heard it called a wheel hoe. To me it has always been a push plow and I use one regularly. Most come with various attachments including the mini-harrow like prongs shown in your illustration but also with a single tongue. In addition to uses in cultivating and keeping weeds at bay, a push plow (with the tongue in place) is ideal for laying off garden rows. Just put your eyes on some object at the opposite end of the garden, keep them on it, and start pushing. You’ll make good, straight rows.

    The push plow I use is a bit bigger (wheel considerably larger and attached to the push frame in a different fashion) than the one in your image. It also has a great deal of sentimental value to me since it is the same one Grandpa Joe used in his garden more than a half century ago.

    I’m guessing that there are a far number of your older readers (B. Ruth, Br’er Don, Bill Burnette, Ken, and others) who will not only know about the device but have hands on familiarity with it. I know that’s true for Don.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 28, 2018 at 6:40 am

    I don’t remember ever seeing a wheel hoe but I’ve seen and used a plow that was made just like the picture but had one blade like on a plow. I can tell you from personal experience it is not as easy to push as it looks!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 5:55 am

    My Dad had one only his was motorized just google one wheel plow, you didn’t have to push it and it had all kinds of attachments, it burned up in his shop, several years ago along with all his tools, and almost him in it, he was working underneath his jeep when a drop of gas hit his drop light and ignited, went up like a rocket, he came out with just minor burns.

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