Excerpt from the Countryside & Small Stock Journal - January 1999:
Author: Jeff Rast
"...Push cultivators come in several varieties, price ranges and performance levels. The oldest and probably
still the most common is the high wheel hoe. It simply consists of a large (24 inches), single wheel with two
handles for the operator and one or more attachments. Mine comes with cultivating teeth, a duck-foot sweep and
a furrowing attachment. The design allows me to cultivate between rows much faster than with a hand hoe and I
can finish without a backache. Most high wheel cultivators cost between $75 to $100.
Another version of the wheel hoe has a much smaller wheel (9 inches) and a different angle of attachment of the handles to the wheel. Eliot Coleman states in his book The New Organic Grower that he prefers the design of the smaller wheel hoe because it transfers the force exerted by the operator more directly to the working part. Makes sense. Furthermore, Coleman says that the wheel hoe is the "best cultivation tool for inter-row work on this 5-acre scale." On his smaller wheel hoe, Coleman actually has a stirrup hoe rather than the cultivating teeth or sweep.
Low wheel cultivators tend to be sturdier than the high wheel types and have more "engineering" in them. Prices reflect this difference and can run up to about $285....."
Grit: Rural American Know-How, June 2010:
Author: Hank Will
Photo Credit: Karen Keb
"...When it comes to weeding, nothing beats a wheel-hoe-style garden cultivator for getting the rows cleaned up quickly, efficiently and easily. I recently obtained the Hoss Tools Deluxe Wheel Hoe garden cultivator ($295 and worth every penny as a functional art form) and put it to work last Saturday knocking down the weeds that sprouted up between the rows of my heirloom, open-pollinated corn.
The Hoss Tools Deluxe Wheel Hoe is a beautifully crafted (made in U.S.A) garden cultivator that harkens back to the good old days when quality American-Made tools were the norm, not the exception.........I've enjoyed using wheel hoes in my own gardens over the years, and although I misplaced my most cherished antique Planet Jr. several years ago (a casualty of some move), Hoss Tools' Deluxe Wheel Hoe is every bit as satisfying to use - and frankly the quality is 110 percent that of the old Planet Jr. "
* The Hoss wheel cultivator is sold here
Excerpt from Farming for Artists - May 2004:
Author: Jeremiah McNichols
"...The cultivator combs easily through the soil to a depth of three or four inches (adjustable, to a degree, by how
high you hold the plow handles) and it is a simple and much less time-consuming task to walk your way through the
garden plot, collecting the partially dried-out weeds that ball up under the palm of the five-fingered cultivator.
If your passes are not too long, you can collect a whole row's worth of weeds in two smooth passes, dumping your
weed load at each end of the run, then move on to a new channel and repeat. This takes time, too, to be sure, but
not nearly as much. I estimate that it took me half an hour to comb through a 400-square-foot plot that had been
pre-tilled with a gas tiller. With my previous rake-and-hoe method, it took two men an hour working together to do
a similarly-sized plot, and cost us much more in human energy.
For hoeing, I have read that a low-wheel cultivator might work better, and for planting, a direct seeder could open up the ground, plant my seeds and close it back up. With the low-wheel cultivator's small wheel, the force exerted by the gardener is headed more directly towards the ground, where the implement is; the higher the axle, the higher the force is aimed, the more energy is lost, and the more the tool strains the back. Some low-wheel cultivators come with a plow, too. As for direct seeders, I'm not sure their "ground-opener" blade would cut into our soil as well as the high-wheel plow....."