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Summary

Eco-Minded Club presents amazing invention of a Russian gardener Vladimir Fokin (Russian Federation patent #2040133): ploskorez, Russian flat-cutter, cultivator Fokina or Fokin hoe, as Sepp Holzer calls it, Ploskorez Fokina ("ploskorez" means flat-cutter) - a simple and versatile permaculture tool to replace usual gardening tools like spade, hoe, rakes etc, simplifying 20 gardening operations and essential for no-till gardening.

Standard Ploskorez Fokina consists of a steel plate bent in 4 different directions at specific angles (see the picture) and a long wooden flat handle. Three of the cutting surfaces of the plate are sharpened. The blades of the cutting part of the ploskorez must always be sharpened to reduce the resistance of the soil and cutting plants.

Organic gardening and Permaculture enthusiasts using the tool have reported significant labor savings and increased yields from no-till plantings.



Where to get it?

Eco-minded website for All-Mighty ploskorez hoe
Eco-minded website for Robust ploskorez hoe
Eco-minded website for Set of 2 ploskorez hoes (Large and Small)

Related Books and Magazines

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture
by Sepp Holzer

Desert or Paradise
by Sepp Holzer

Related Podcasts

21 podcast review of Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Related Videos



Hugelkultur: The Ultimate Raised Garden Beds


Related Articles

About the Ploskorez hoe
Tale of the Fokin Hoe
Russian flatcutter - a revolutionary permaculture tool
Innovative permaculture tool

Related Threads

Amazing ploskorez - to replace usual spade, hoe, rakes etc...
ploskorez -- Fokin Hoe (is it ambidexterous, or just for right-handed people?)
Cool Tools, lesser known tools that can improve your life
Has anybody tried the Russian multi-hoe "ploskorez"?
Permaculture Ideas In Russia
Sepp Holzer forum
 
Related Websites

Eco-minded website for All-Mighty ploskorez hoe
Eco-minded website for Robust ploskorez hoe
Eco-minded website for Set of 2 ploskorez hoes (Large + Small)
COMMENTS:
 
Marshal
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I give this Fokin ploskorez hoe 9.5 out of 10 acorns.



I was super excited to get this hoe all the way from Russia, and a little disappointed to see that it did have some rust spots already on the blade. Perhaps it happened in the long shipping? I have difficult time sharpening blades (due to my hypermobility, it's hard to hold blade and sharpener at the correct angle). I did not attempt to sharpen the blade and risk ruining the blade, and so used and reviewed it based on the condition it arrived in.



For the handle, I used a piece of oak lumber that I found in my garage and sanded smooth. Then drilled the holes and bolted the blade to the handle. It was not a terribly difficult endevor, and something I think most people would be able to do if they have the right sized drill bit. Eco minded does sell hoe handles, but they are recommend saving money on shipping and just making your own. I agree!



For my first test, I took my Fokin hoe and used it to attack a narrow path that was totally overcome by buttercup, and that I really hadn't wanted to weed by hand as it would take at least 30 minutes to clear it out that way. With the Fokin hoe, it took maybe 6 minutes, and I didn't have to bend down.

Before / After
 

Pile of buttercup mulch!


The mulch was really easy to hook with the hoe and move around. Next, I went to the area next to my potato bed that's hard to mow. 5 minutes later, and it's a much nicer path! I love how easy it is to get right next to garden beds and clean those edges. The blade is really easy to do precise work with.

Before / After
 


Since I was so impressed with it's edge work, I decided to see how it'd do in edging my hugel. Once again, this is one of those areas that would normally take me 30+ minutes to weed out by hand, and so it rarely gets done. It took me 2 minutes to make it decent, and 2 more minutes to tidy it up/

Before / After
 

For my final test today, I attacked the backside of my hugel that is absolutely overgrown by buttercups. I've weeded this area by hand twice now, and it usually takes me at least 10 minutes to yank the tops off the plants and my hands are all sticky with sap. This took me 4 minutes. No bending, no sappy hands. And I had a nice pile of mulch to move easily where I wanted.

Before / After


I was hoping this hoe would work as a small scythe, but it really wasn't sharp enough for that--or I had the angle wrong--because it really didn't like to cut grass for me. It probably would have if I knew how to sharpen it. As it is, though, it did a marvelous job on my buttercups, and I reall like the pointy end which is great for digging at stubborn plants and hooking piles of mulch/weeds. I used the hoe is both my left and right hands and with both sides of the blade, and it worked equally well in each circumstance.

All in all, I HIGHLY recommend this Fokin hoe. In the words of my husband, "It's the tool I always dreamed off." It's perfect for those that have limited mobility--I would have LOVED to have this tool when pregnant and when I had my babies strapped to me and it was so hard to get up and down.

(Aside: My husband is really tempted to do downtown with a bunch of these hoes and "pimp" them out sell them on the street corner, maybe with some gold and sparkles on the handles "Fokin Hoe, $15." But, I'm not going to let him!)

Editing to Add: I'm REALLY enjoying the curve that this blade has, and the sharpened point of it. It's really great for grabbing and ripping out those pesky weeds that spread by runners, and it even digs quite nicely, too. The curve of the blade also makes it really easy to snag and move whatever mulch you cut. I pulled this thing out tonight--when I really should have been washing up after dinner, to have fun weeding out around my garden beds. It really is a delight to work with!
 
rancher
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Looks like a very useful tool, that Fokin hoe!
 
ranch foreman
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I just ordered both sizes.  I'll post a review after I've tested them out.
 
greenhorn
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I give this Fokin ploskorez hoe 9.5 out of 10 acorns.


Great review, Nicole!  Thanks for all the before & after pictures.  I'm looking forward to spending time with the Fokin Hoe resources above and potentially getting one of these for myself and one for my father-in-law.
 
greenhorn
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This seems like the perfect chop-and-drop tool.  I would love to be able to try one.
 
eco-innovator
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Wonderful review, thank you Nicole! :)

I would also like to point out your words: "It's perfect for those that have limited mobility"

As soon as the author, V.Fokin is a handicapped man he created his tool so that even weak and handicapped people could use it with ease.  
 
greenhorn
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This Fokin ploskorez hoe by Ecominded looks like a wonderful tool for weeding and bed prep!
 
greenhorn
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I swear that has to be the exact tool I need to manage permanent walkways!  
 
greenhorn
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This looks lovely. Would it work on brambles?
 
greenhorn
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This does seem like a pretty effective, multi-use tool, and I am shamelessly posting here in the hopes that I will be one of the lucky winners!
 
Nicole Alderman
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ron bigelow wrote:This does seem like a pretty effective, multi-use tool, and I am shamelessly posting here in the hopes that I will be one of the lucky winners!



You can totally game the system to raise your chances of winning . Each and every post in the Gear forum acts as an entry to win. And, the higher quality the post, the more likely it will win.  So make lots of great, helpful posts and you'll be more likely to win!
 
rancher
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Welcome, Yury. I'm visiting the weblinks now to learn all about your Fokin hoe blade. I'm glad to hear you say someone with limited mobility can use this.
 
greenhorn
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Being a rabid gardener with various handicaps, I am always on the lookout for a tool that: 1. I can use, as my muscles are rather weak 2. doesn't require an odd stance to accomplish its task 3. is not too heavy 4. doesn't cost a small fortune.
This Fokin looks like I have some control over the weight by the choice of handle, since it is sharp on all sides, I can swing in whatever direction happens to be working that day...Hooray!
Now, if I don't win one, how expensive are they?
I'm on a fixed disability income of >$700 usd a month. I have been using a Collinear Hoe with 7" Replaceable Blade for over 15 years or more and am on my 4th blade. This is the hoe that Eliot Coleman recommended.When I bought it it was $40 or so, that was almost 20 years ago + four blades @ $18 each = about $6 a year. Not bad, but it doesn't have the oomph that the Fokin looks like
it has. One good whack against a rock and the collinear blade is never the same. If you are not familiar with the collinear, look at Johnny's seeds. Collinear hoe

Anyone else use a collinear and can compare it to a Fokin?
 
Trace Oswald
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Gail Vance wrote:Being a rabid gardener with various handicaps, I am always on the lookout for a tool that: 1. I can use, as my muscles are rather weak 2. doesn't require an odd stance to accomplish its task 3. is not too heavy 4. doesn't cost a small fortune.
This Fokin looks like I have some control over the weight by the choice of handle, since it is sharp on all sides, I can swing in whatever direction happens to be working that day...Hooray!
Now, if I don't win one, how expensive are they?
I'm on a fixed disability income of >$700 usd a month. I have been using a Collinear Hoe with 7" Replaceable Blade for over 15 years or more and am on my 4th blade. This is the hoe that Eliot Coleman recommended.When I bought it it was $40 or so, that was almost 20 years ago + four blades @ $18 each = about $6 a year. Not bad, but it doesn't have the oomph that the Fokin looks like
it has. One good whack against a rock and the collinear blade is never the same. If you are not familiar with the collinear, look at Johnny's seeds. Collinear hoe

Anyone else use a collinear and can compare it to a Fokin?



I ordered both sizes.  For the two, it cost $19.50, plus $20.00 for shipping.
 
bartender
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Has anyone tried using this against Himalayan Blackberry? The thorns go through every set of gloves I've got, so I need a tool I can whack the stuff down from a distance and its main stems are pretty tough.
 
Yury Smirnov
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Eleanor Froelich wrote:This looks lovely. Would it work on brambles?



Yes, it is strong enough to cut brambles.
 
greenhorn
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It doesn't look like its attached very well to the stick, why not have bend the metal around like a pipe the way shovels and such have with the pins in em? I can see why you might not need one as long as you have a sturdy stick and screws but i tend to prefer heavier tools so i dont break something/ so i can add some momentum when im cutting BlackBerrys and brush.
 
greenhorn
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Thanks for the opportunity to win one of these beauties... I usually work a lot with a machete... i think this tool will save me a few hours every week !
 
greenhorn
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Looks to be an amazing tool. The scything aspect is a bit of a surprise, and a pleasant one at that.
 
Jay Angler
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It's mentioned that shipping is cheaper if you make your own handle. Can anyone recommend specific woods for making the handle out of? Nicole A. mentioned she made hers of oak.
I'd be tempted to make mine of a weaker wood so certain people I live with will break the handle and not the hoe, but that concern may be groundless...  ;-)
 
Nicole Alderman
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I honestly don't think you can break the blade. That thing is STURDY. I'd make sure to get a wood that doesn't split easily, as you have to drill two holes in a line, and I can imagine that on a wood (like cedar?) that it might split up the handle if you whack something really hard or use it a lot.
 
Trace Oswald
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The website says even pine is okay.  I'm going to use oak on one, and a tree branch I cut from a dead green ash tree for the other.
 
rancher
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I couldn't find any reference to the kind of steel used or if sharpening is required.  Anyone know about either issue?
 
Trace Oswald
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I read somewhere that it is carbon steel.  I would assume it would have to be sharpened sooner or later, but that is based on experience with other carbon steel tools.
 
Yury Smirnov
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Trace Oswald wrote:I read somewhere that it is carbon steel.  I would assume it would have to be sharpened sooner or later, but that is based on experience with other carbon steel tools.


That's correct, Trace. The blade should be sharpened as often as you would sharpen a scythe.
 
Yury Smirnov
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My dear friends, those who received their flat-cutters (Fokin hoe) I would greatly appreciate if you leave your feedback here! :)
 
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