How do you choose the right garden plow? The first step is understanding what a garden plow does in the garden and the variations in tool sizes. Garden plows are designed to create rows in the ground for planting seeds in. They can also be used for tilling and raking. A simple hand plow has a sharp wedge at the end to dig deep into the ground. Pull-plows are also available which connect to the hitch of your ATV or garden tractor. Pull-plows are designed for larger plots of land where mass seeding, aeration and tilling takes place. The third type of plow available has a large wheel at the bottom which is pushed by handles while the user is standing. Choosing the right plow becomes simple when you take note of each variety below:
Hand Garden Plow
Hand plows are the most basic type of plow, used with a single hand to carve rows into the dirt. These hand tools consist of a metal wedge on the end with a wooden handle (sometimes plastic or foam). There are two different wedge shapes available- traditional and Korean. The Korean varieties have a more dramatic curvature of the blade. Traditional blades usually have a slightly serrated edge to help dig into the ground. These tools are best for smaller jobs around the garden.
There are two types of hand plows, the long handled and short handled. Long handles garden plows allows users to stand up while working, reducing back strain and allowing larger plots to be worked on. The steel wedge is the same shape, but the handle has been extended several feet. Handles are made from wood or metal. On both long and short handles plows, I recommend getting a model with an ergonomic handle made from foam or plastic. This makes gardening far more easy on the hands and forearms especially for individuals working for long periods of time.
The next step up from a hand garden plow is the wheeled plow. These tools can typically take multiple handy attachments, making them ideal for plowing, cultivating, tilling, and furrowing. The best part is that the weight of the tiller does most of the work. As the wheel is pushed along, the plow claws dig into the ground, forming hills and depressions. You can then plant seeds, form hills, or go over the ground several times to till it. Wheel garden plows are tried & true, and have been used for many years. Modernized wheel plows are made from durable hollow steel tubing coated with paint to protect it from rusting. Two foam handles at the top provide comfort even during the longest of jobs. For people who have a decent amount of ground to cover, a wheel plow is for them.
Garden Tractor Plow
On the more heavy-duty end lies the tractor-mounted garden plow. These plows mount to the rear of a garden tractor or ATV to cover a lot of ground with minimal effort. The plowing is completely handles by the tractor; all the operator must do is steer it around. Hinged wheels fold down while the tractor is moved into position so you can safely drive over concrete, gravel, etc. The wheels fold up when you're ready to work. The working end consists of a series of plow blades capable of cutting multiple rows in one pass. Garden tractor plowing can also be used for tilling, cultivating and other uses. Usually, a tractor plow is not designed to mount to an ATV, and vice-versa. Before purchasing, make sure that the plow is designed for the vehicle mount you intend to use it on.
Cleaning And Maintaining Your Garden Plow
As with most tools, garden plows require maintenance to keep them in good working order. Maintenance for these tools is nothing elaborate or difficult, just some simple cleaning and occasional oiling. Before storing your tool for the winter, remove all dirt from metal surfaces. Dirt can contain moisture which can cause rust. Coat the metal surfaces with oil such as WD-40, cooking oil or motor oil. Oil prevents rust from forming on the metal. Although these tools are coated with paint when made, the paint will wear off when used, as dirt & rocks are a natural abrasive. If dirt removal becomes difficult, spray some non-stick cooking spray onto the surface and follow up with a sponge.
Gardeners often use a garden trolley or cart as a way to store their hand tools. These carts typically have wheels that allow them to roll around as you work. Anything from gloves to garden shears can be stored on a trolley.