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scythe or sickle???  RSS feed

 
Adam Buchler
Posts: 70
Location: New Jersey
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So I have 5 raised garden beds....each 50' x 4'. I want to plant some cover crops this fall to chop down in the spring and use a mulch. Any ideas about which tool is more appropriate given the size of my garden and the fact the the raised beds are "rounded" or "mounded". Wasn't sure if scythe was overkill. And to be honest at the moment I don't have any other use for scythe so I'm leaning towards a sickle. That being said where can I purchase one and is there a particular kind I should be looking for?
 
Will Holland
Posts: 300
Location: CT zone 5b
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The main distinction as I understand it is that a sickle is for harvesting grain crops, as to not knock all the seeds out of the heads, and a scythe is used for mowing or cutting hay. I have both. The sickle is good in tighter spaces even for mowing, but can get tiring.

I've inherited the scythes I have, and the sickle came from a guy on etsy that makes the out of leaf springs from trucks. My wife ordered it, so I don't have the contact info.
 
Hans Harker
Posts: 115
Location: Chcago IL
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Adam Buchler wrote:So I have 5 raised garden beds....each 50' x 4'. I want to plant some cover crops this fall to chop down in the spring and use a mulch. Any ideas about which tool is more appropriate given the size of my garden and the fact the the raised beds are "rounded" or "mounded". Wasn't sure if scythe was overkill. And to be honest at the moment I don't have any other use for scythe so I'm leaning towards a sickle. That being said where can I purchase one and is there a particular kind I should be looking for?


A scythe requires some room so you can swing it freely from side to side.Without the momentum it won't be effective and safe for that matter. Considering that the beds are rounded i'd imagine it'd be hard to use it anyway. As soon as you start hitting the soil with the blade it'll get dull real quick and it must be kept very sharp in order to do it's job.

A sickle seems more practical for a 4' wide rounded bed.

Look at the video if you will, that may help you make up your mind.



 
Blake Wheeler
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
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So you have neither? I would say use a scythe as the job will go quicker, but a scythe is a larger investment.

I bought mine from scythesupply.com. Awesome selection, they size the snath to your personal measurements, and they quickly answered any questions I have. You're looking at $200 to get a package though.

A sickle will do the job with a bit more labor, and be cheaper. You can also buy sickles on their site.

What I would do, since you have neither, is quite a cheaper option. Do you have any Tractor Supply Company stores around you? They sell a "corn knife" which would be perfect for what you're looking for (chop and drop) for $6. It's basically a sickle-like machete. Comes respectably sharp out the package and has served me well for similar tasks.

50x4 beds will take longer to chop than you're probably expecting though. If you have any other use for the scythe I would almost suggest getting it. It'll definitely speed up the job.
 
Roy Hinkley
Posts: 241
Location: S. Ontario Canada
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A sickle is for stuff you grab with one hand and cut with the other. For just chopping down you need lots of speed on the blade. You need some kind of blade with a long handle if you're supplying the muscle maybe like a mini scythe.
Maybe search for sling blade (not the movie). A string trimmer is probably the fastest easiest.
 
Morgan Barker
Posts: 37
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I am firmly in the sickle crowd. I would only switch to a scythe if I had a big field. A good, irresponsibly sharp sickle is both productive and versatile. You can both swipe big swaths and you can grasp bunches and cut with a pull. I got this one at an Amish junk shop for only a few dollars.

That top "rivet" is a nail and an american penny for size reference.
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sickle
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irresponsibly sharp
 
Tracy Kuykendall
Posts: 165
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I've got short about 4' mini-scythe, bought it off amazon, blade is only 12", works better than a weed-eater for plants with heavy stalks.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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