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Hand Cultivators

This section of the site is NOT about the hundreds of designs of hand cultivators that are designed to be used when you’re on you hands and knees. They range from very cheap stamped hand tools to the more exotic and expensive stainless steel “designer” tools.

This summary is limited to three basic types of “stand-up cultivators” that you may consider for little jobs or for times when you just don’t feel like starting your power tiller.

High Wheel Cultivators

For those who love nostalgic tools and methods, the High Wheel Cultivator is a reminder of simpler times. The walk-behind tool is similar in design to tools that are still used in some areas where horses supply the power. Consisting of two long handles and a single big – usually 24” – wheel, the high wheel cultivator is powered by YOU. You walk behind the tool, forcing the cultivating tines into the soil as you push the tool forward. There’s beauty in simplicity, but be prepared for a little bit of exercise.


The most popular High Wheel Cultivators are manufactured by EarthWay, and they’re available with steel or wood handles. Attachments allow you to plow and furrow, as well. Cost is about $100. www.earthway-outlet.com/6500.htm

Rotary Cultivators

The most popular hand-powered rotary cultivator is the Garden Weasel® - which you’ve probably seen advertised on TV. The original Garden Weasel is designed to be raked back and forth over the top of the soil. The sharp steel teeth will break up top inch or two of soil, and will effectively crumble loamy soil that is neither bone dry or saturated.

The Garden Weasel company also produces the Garden Claw® which is a hand-powered T-handle tool for turning, or mixing, compacted soil. If your soil is fairly good (loamy and not too dry or too wet) the Garden Claw is very effective at breaking up compacted soil in small areas to a depth of about 5 to 6 inches. Check Out www.gardenweasel.com

Two similar tools to the Garden Weasel and Garden Claw are available at Home Depot, but, as of this update, neither is available online. According to the Home Depot web site, the product is “normally carried at your local store; availability may vary.”

The Hound Dog Garden Cultivator is very similar in design to the Garden Weasel and the Hound Dog Garden Hound Stand Up Tiller is like the Garden Claw.

Information about the above is available at www.Homedepot.com

Wolf-Garten Tools

That’s not a typo, the Wolf-Garten (with a “t”) tools are cleverly designed, long-handle tools for cultivating, weeding, seeding, and other garden chores. They’re manufactured by Wolf Geräte GmbH in Germany, a company that has an excellent reputation for quality gardening products throughout Europe.

Wolf-Garten tools have two distinguishable features:

1. Interchangeable tool heads can be snapped onto one handle.

The tool heads attach to the handle with a locking pin similar to a lot of vacuum cleaner parts to prevent the tool head from swiveling or rotating on the handle. Several different handle variations are available, including a short handle to convert some of the stand-up tools for use when kneeling in the garden. The multi-head concept can save a lot of space in the garden; and, you can add extra tools without buying a new handle.

2. The cultivating and weeding tools are designed to be used in a “push-pull” manner, vs. the chopping or hacking motion required of many other hand tools.

The push-pull motion is easier on the back and a more efficient use of energy. The cleverly designed weeder blade is especially easy to use, and allows you to cut off weed stalks very close to your precious vegetables, without disturbing the root systems of your good plants.

Originally introduced into the USA by Burpee in the 1980’s, Wolf-Garten tools are now available at the following web sites:

www.amazon.com www.bluestonegarden.com www.cleanairgardening.com  

If you have any comments, I’d really like to hear from you.

OZ Gardener
The Garden Of Oz

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