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Magna Grecia Hoe  RSS feed

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Our land is VERY, VERY rocky and compacted after being used as a dairy farm. I am not all that strong, and it is almost impossible for me to dig holes to plant trees for our permaculture food forest, or for any other reason.

I asked today at Concentrates, an excellent garden and farm store in Portland, Oregon, if they know of a tool which I could effectively use under these conditions to plant trees.

One of the staff, who is a farmer and has similar conditions at home, said that he has used the Magna Grecia Hoe and it works for what I want to do.

Here is a video of the hoe in action:

Magna Crecia Hoe in action

I have a big bindweed problem, and this hoe promises to be a huge help in that regard.

The hoe is available at http://scytheworks.ca

I plan to get one and will report on how I like it.

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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They are good but there is a design flaw. The part that you put the handle into is too short which puts too much strain on the short end of the handle that is within this bit and the handle ends up breaking really easily.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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how is it different from a pick? Seems like a pick would be better, and a lot stronger.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I use an old pick axe* to dig my rocky clay soil. Have dug literally tons of rocks with it.

*also known as a "pick mattock" it is the kind with a flat blade on one side and a pointy pick on the other.
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
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Abe Connally wrote:how is it different from a pick? Seems like a pick would be better, and a lot stronger.


It is a lot lighter than a pick and having 2 thin prongs seems to get through the soil easier than one big one.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:It is a lot lighter than a pick and having 2 thin prongs seems to get through the soil easier than one big one.
also much easier to break in hard soils...
 
Marla Kacey
Posts: 130
Location: Wyoming Zone 4
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That looks wonderful! I can totally relate to not being very strong. My pick ax gains weight each time I try to use it. And the handle is so short, using it is a literal pain in the now arthritic back.

I will be looking for one of these real soon!

Thanks for posting the link!
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I had a small, one handed version of this. About 14-15" long. The handle was about the same caliper.
It was great for working in tight quarters - in small beds, or near trees/shrubs.

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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It turns out that we have a tool with a big long, heavy metal point on one end and a heavy, narrow, long hoe-type thing in the other, and about a 2 1/2 ft. handle. My partner says it is called a hoe-dag.

I tried it out and I think it will work for my purposes. A lot of what we are putting in will be in raised beds. Some trees in the rocky clay, but not really all that many.

Thank you for the tip about the design flaw.

I am delighted that some folks find value in this.

The main thing I learned is that when something in the garden is just TOO DIFFICULT, ask, because there is probably a tool that will work just fine and make it doable, if not easy.

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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This picture looks almost like the tool I can use to plant trees, etc.

It is called by some a pick-ax.

good digging tool for rocky soil

Ours has a plastic handle.

Abundance and Peace for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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This tool is called, by some, a hoe-dag:

hoe-dag

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
pollinator
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I picked up a magna grecia hoe from scytheworks this spring and i love it. Perhaps a bit similar to a hoe dag, but I think it's a pretty different animal with the long handle and long tines. You can really cover a lot of area efficiently.

It is not unlike a broadfork in the job that it does....have planted a few hundred trees this spring and used it to break up the hard pan and loosen the soil before planting.

The handle I have is light and springy and strong and I haven't had a problem yet...I think if you don't use it as a crowbar and maintain a bit of sensitivity towards the tool you'll be fine. It might mean working over an area a bit gradually and taking smaller 'bites'. And getting a crowbar if you need one.

As with anything like this, a nice relaxed loose grip on impact is essential or you will be hard on your wrists and elbows.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, Kari.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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this takes a while, and leaves a watery hole, but works.
be gentle, easy to plug the end with clay, but also easy to work around rocks.

http://www.soilblaster.com/

basically it is just brake line flared steel, with a sink trap cleaner on the end, to keep splash down, and a hose shut off in the handle.
SoilBlaster2000.jpg
[Thumbnail for SoilBlaster2000.jpg]
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Morgan,

Thank you for generously responding to my question.

Have you used one of these?

It seems to me that it would compact the soil a lot, and blast the soil particles together in way that the future tree roots would not like at all.

For that reason, I do not plan, based on what I now know about this tool, to use this for planting trees.

Any thoughts about this?

Thanks.
 
Ken Peavey
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I talked briefly about a mattock in the Bermuda Grass thread.

These come in pretty handy, long handle or short!
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, Ken.

How big is the mattock in the picture?

Do they come in other sizes?

Thanks.

Cheers
 
Ken Peavey
steward
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I have one just about identical to the picture. The flat cutting edge is, say, 4" wide. Tines about 5" long. Overall 15-18" long, couple of pounds is all. My hand will cover much of the grip. I think I paid 20 bucks for the thing.
I had one a few years back...hit a rock or some concrete, snapped off one of the tines. It still worked until the hickory handle broke.
I've seen similar tools with 1-4 tines, short handle for hand use, long handle for standing use. The big box hardware/home improvement stores might carry standardized versions of the tool, but the local hardware stores might be a good place to look for hard to find tools.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Has anyone personally tried this tool?

another tool for digging rocky soil

It may have, probably does have, similar potentials and problems to those of the Magna Grecia Hoe.

It does not look as strong.

It is MUCH less expensive. Shipping to Oregon would be about $13.

Thanks for any input

Love you folks

Pamela Melcher
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Big thanks, Ken.
 
Ken Peavey
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That link is broken. Were you referring to the grub hoe?
If the ground is rocky, you'll need a tool that will take the punishment.
If the ground is hard, you'll need a tool with some weight to drive into the soil.
A pickaxe would be the thing to use. It takes some effort to use one with rapid results. If you don't have the physique to work one for a long stretch, just use it for a little while. Makes no sense to overdo it. Just do what you can.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks for responding, Ken.

Hmmm. The link works for me. I do not know how you could make it work. I am not the greatest techie.

What is a grub hoe?

Our soil is VERY rocky - lots of little (1-2 inches) rocks and some big (4 or more inches) ones.

And hard - it was a dairy farm

I can only put a spade or shovel in about 2 inches.

My partner, who is very strong, needs to use the pickax.

The tool that the link should lead to is lighter weight than the pickax, with a shorter handle, and so probably I could not get enough force behind it and it might break.

I can use the pickax and just would need to not overdo.

A lot of what we will put in will go in raised beds, which need not be dug into the hard rocky level.

I am happy that folks are answering my questions, and to know there are so many cool garden tools.

Thanks again.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
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I'm crazy with the tools. Sick with it I tell ya! Can't get out of Home Depot for less than $200. There's stuff in the barn I hardly ever use, but if I need it...it's in there somewhere!

If the ladies don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
-Red Green

When you get your beds put together, that hand sized mattock is a peach.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, Ken.

Going a little on a tangent, so just skip this, folks, if you just want to know about tools, but discussing an important issue, and to me permaculture encompasses all important life issues, to me what matters most is that men be kind. That really stands out!!! It was a revelation when I saw that the guys who were most closely like what the mainstream media portrays as handsome, were usually the more selfish and thoughtless guys who did not treat women well at all! I was freed from the clutch of my foolish crushes. I was free to look at men's characters and hearts instead of their faces and physiques. And I was much happier.

What does it mean that it says "steward" under your name in your reply to this thread?

Thanks again!
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
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The stewards help out around here, keep things on the right track, friendly and civil. When needed, we put out brush fires and pull weeds. Not a whole lot to it, mostly we just try to be helpful.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, Ken
 
Robert Ray
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I have never heard of a hoe-dag but am familiar with a hoedad for planting trees.

 
Rufus Laggren
Posts: 481
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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The link appeared to lead to your shopping cart; that would work from your own browser (for a short time at least) but not for anybody else. Also, sometimes using the "back" buttons, either on the website or on your browser don't get you quite where you think. To make sure you're posting an "original" url, navigate to the page of interesting starting from the home page - or at least from some major site page. Then when you first get to the page you want, copy the url found into "navigation box" at the top of the browser page and paste that. Usually that will do the job. Once you've entered a "shopping cart", it's hard to be sure of what url's you're actually using, even when you try to go back.

> break handle

Handles can be replaced. Also, they can be replaced with a longer one, or you can cut one if you prefer a shorter stick. Tines can be welded back on if you're friendly w/a local welder. Takes about 5 minutes if his shop is set up and ready.

In tools, weight matters, though sometimes it's hard to know whether more or less would be better if you haven't personally used the tool on that type of work. Sometimes it a matter of trying different sized tools until you find one that fits your body and style.

Rufus
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Wow, Rufus - what a help. What useful information.

Thank you.

I love you all

We save each other so much time and trouble.

May the whole world follow our lead - SOON!!!

)

Pamela Melcher
 
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