I recently rediscovered my oscillating or scuffle hoe, which had been tucked away in our basement for way too long. And now I am wondering how I survived without it all last summer. Basically, a sharp hooped blade on the end of a long stick, these beauties allow you to easily weed large areas without bending over by simply dragging and/or pushing the end blade along just under the soil surface, slicing through plant stems and severing them from their roots.
I got mine at the local garden store—but there's an even greener option for those of you who don't mind doing a little work: You can simply make your own. And all it takes is a few easy to scavenge items:
1) A bamboo or giant grass pole, or wooden dowel (about the full length from your toes to the tip of your fingers if you hold them above your head).
2) Some lengths of steel strapping, typically used to hold heavy cargo in place (this can easily be salvaged from dumpsters)
3) Some bicycle inner tubes
To be specific, this DIY version, created by Dr. Eric Brennan—a scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture (Agricultural Research Service), ORGANIC research program in Salinas, California—doesn't appear to have the angled blade of a scuffle hoe, which adjusts slightly to maintain it's ideal cutting angle.
But that doesn't appear to be slowing Brennan down when it comes to weeding. In fact, the description on his YouTube channel claims this design beats out any of the standard commercialized designs that are out there. Anyone tried making one of these yet?
(A big thanks as always to Permaculture Magazine for finding this video. They spend even more time geeking out on this stuff than I do...)