THE REST OF THE STORY:
A new company in Georgia is making wheel hoes exactly like the old Planet Jr. wheel
hoes, but with a couple of improvements. It looks like a good product.
We think our wheel hoe is still better, and let me explain why. Having more competition
is good. It makes us do a better job for you, the customer, and more awareness of the benefits of wheel hoes will expand the
market, so all involved can prosper.
WE STACK UP
Having 20 years experience making wheel hoes we have come up with a combination of
features you won’t find elsewhere.
First of all, you can change attachments and adjust handle height without tools. Just
yesterday I was furrowing and clod breaking. I switched from the furrower to the three tine cultivator by removing a single
snap-pin. With the three tine, the handle height for easiest operation was different. I popped open the cam lever and adjusted
the height to keep the handles at hipbone height, and closed the lever. You can see me doing this in the spring garden planting
YouTube video on the videos page of our website. (www.valleyoaktool.com)
We think steel handles are better than wooden handles because 1) The handle is bent
a full 90 degrees to allow you to direct the force through a straight alignment of the wrist. 2) Steel handles will last much
longer, and take more heavy use. We have improved our handles to make them more durable than the early models. The grips can
be left in the sun. In fact, the whole wheel hoe can be left out in the weather if you have the steel wheel. Just don’t
run over it with your truck or tractor.
Stirrup hoe VS cultivating knives: Overall, we think an oscillating stirrup hoe is
the best choice most of the time. The way the blade is attached so that it can pivot (“oscillate”) allows for
the ideal angle of attack for weeding on both the forward and the backward stroke. Knives properly adjusted only cut on the
forward stroke, but the pivoting stirrup allows a cut on the back stroke.
When you are wheel hoeing your garden you often cut a slice where the weed roots are
undercut but still clinging to a “peel” of soil. You can do a quick back stroke just a little shallower and break
the surface up.
Our oscillating blade VS the Swiss-made oscillating blade: There is another company
that sells an oscillating blade wheel hoe. The Valley Oak design has a more rugged attachment to the chassis and a taller
throat. The taller throat allows taller and thicker weeds to pass through with less clogging. Also, the attachment system
doesn’t have the weak links that can shut down the tool until parts are replaced.
NOT JUST FOR ROWS
Yesterday, I was hand hoeing a thick carpet of volunteer shrub seedlings under a large
Pittosporum. It was exhausting. Today I put on the 8” blade assembly and wheel hoed the rest of the area in a fraction
of the time with a fraction of the effort. Around shrubs, under fruit trees, on wood chip-covered paths, even compacted gravel
can be weeded with this tool. If you have weeds, this tool works wonders; and the back stroke is very helpful in tight spaces.
WE DECIDED TO LOWER OUR PRICES NOW
We were planning to lower prices when volume went up. But with the economy the way
it is we decided now is the time to make Valley Oak Wheel hoes more affordable. Give it a look and call us if you have any
David Grau, toolmaker