Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sod buster saves the day!

Last fall, when I was doing a giveaway for a laundry drying rack, the company sponsoring the giveaway asked if I was interested in trying out one of their other products from their company, Easy Digging. I really liked the looks of one of their hoes - the Grub Hoe - since I had plans of digging up a lot of sod for making new beds in the spring, and put in my request.

I received the grub hoe and put it in the garage for the winter to rest, since I wasn't about to bust any sod anytime soon. Well, here it is spring now and I wanted to try it out. While I was removing two very tall arborvitae, I managed to snap my shovel in half. Yes, in half. Because I'm OCD, I couldn't let that tree wait half hanging out, so I assembled my grub hoe and went to work slicing and dicing my way through the rest of the root system.

That still left the other tree and, after a short break, I decided to see if the grub hoe would do the job digging it up as well. While it's certainly not meant for this kind of work, it was quite effective at it.

Next up on my massive list of gardening opportunities was digging a trench between my yard and my neighbor's to lay down a weed barrier. Their lawn grows into my raised bed (don't ask - it's a strange arrangement on a slope) that drives me batshit crazy every year. With the trees out of the way, I had more space to do the job and the grub hoe made quick work of digging a 30 foot trench half a foot deep to lay down my barrier. Problem solved.

But, the pièce de résistance was when I went to double dig a new 4' x 4' raised bed in the lawn in my backyard. Last time I did this I used the shovel (the one I just snapped) and it was a long, back-breaking event. I started out with a shovel I had purchased in the interim but quickly switched over to my new best friend.

That grub hoe sliced through the sod like butter. With a little swing and a swivel, the sod popped out like nobody's business and I was able to get that sucker double dug in no time flat. And, I was actually having fun. WTF?

I've got another bed to dig up this weekend and I can honestly say I'm looking forward to sod busting. Call me crazy (well, you already do) but I'm in love with my grub hoe.

Note: I am in no way being compensated for this review aside from the sample grub hoe I received back in the fall.


Sarah said...

I have some thing similar from Lee Valley Tools. I think it is an Italian Vineyard hoe. It is my favorite tool bar none. I always have a big smile on my face when I get to use it!

nantucket tie chic said...

Yay for playing in the dirt. So sweet to get outside. Even the grubs don't bother me, I just feed 'em to the chickens. Our soil is all sand so digging's no problem. It's dealing with the compost pile that gets me all crabby.

Anne said...

That looks like a tool that would be good to have around. Do you know if you can buy them in Seattle at any retail stores, or is it only online?

Tim said...

Thanks for the info on the hoe. Just yesterday I was turning over the soil in our 4' by 2' tomato plot; it took me half an hour with a shovel and was painfully slow (partly due to last year's tomato roots; I didn't know those stuck around to make my digging slower). I could have used one of these, so I may get one for next year's planting season, or sooner for other general landscaping.

Chile said...

Glad you found a tool that makes your work easier! It looks a lot like the flat end of a mattock. I recently bought a 5 lb mattock (for digging up gopher tunnels specifically, but useful for other things like chopping compost, too). It works really well in our rocky soil, where I'm not sure your lighter weight grub hoe would do quite as well.

Plus, I kind of like the feel of swinging a heavy tool and getting the momentum going. Must be why I like chopping wood and using a sledgehammer.

Greenpa said...

So, when you come visit, do please bring the grub hoe! I can't tell you how much fun we have just waiting for you here! :-)

Incidentally, there's a nearly identical tool available in the forestry world, where they call it a "hazel hoe", though they've forgotten why. They like a square eye, instead of round, and there are a couple other tiny differences. I've never used either for any length of time, so have no ideas on which might be better for what, but I'd bet the tiny differences turn out to be significant for some jobs.

Anna Marie said...

I might just have to get one of those when it comes time to rip up the one last strip of grass on my property.

Luxembourg said...

I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

So, still in lust-mode after this grub hoe. Husband convinced me to wait a week to buy it - I'm hoping it magically appears on mother's day. ;)

Brad K. said...

I am trying to clear some sod . . so I can then dig out the bermuda roots . . to expand my garden.

I have been using a mattock, the flat end. It is a bit longer from handle to edge than your grub hoe, works OK.

The picture looks like what the locals call an eye-hoe, or a cotton hoe.


Caron said...

I was the lucky winner of the drying rack contest, and I have to say that it is really great! It works great for clothes, and I even use it to dry homemade pasta!

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

If this outfit doesn't compensate you now, after a testimonial lke that, they are fools!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Anne - I think you can only get them online, but you might be able to find something similar in a retail store around here.

Chile - The hoe head is quite heavy, which is why it's so effective.

Greenpa - Now there's an incentive! Except I wouldn't make it through airport security with my hoe/hatchet.

Anisa - Hopefully it will magically appear! You know you're serious when your Mother's Day gift is a grub hoe.

Julia's Child said...

Wow. I think I need that.

Anonymous said...

BEST grub hoe ever is/was the one made by Warwood in West Virginia....NO 20..they still list it but no longer make it :( the blade is 11 1/4 inches long about 5 lbs. uses a Seymour Grub hoe handle and it sharpens beautifully cutting through oak roots up to 1 inch like butter......not too happy with the eye/grub hoe from easy diggings when you really bear down and try to lever out roots and rocks the traight eye hoe handle is not up to the job :( ahhh for the good old days when we could buy a USA made REAL grub hoe with a "Tear drop" type of blade the would not fly off but only get tighter the more you used it!!
PS no affiliation with WARWOOD except wish they would satrt making their # 20 again :(