THE WONDERFUL WALLA WALLA WHEEL HOE
The wheel hoe, a wonderful tool of old-time gardeners, is now available again to local gardeners for reducing their weeding chores. Produced in Walla Walla for many decades, a rebirth of the traditional Walla Walla Wheel Hoe has recently taken place at Acufab, 455 A Street at the Walla Walla Airport, which has been providing quality welding, fabricating, and machining services in Walla Walla for over 25 years.
An 1890 book by T. Greiner titled How to Make the Garden Pay, provides this description of the wheel hoe:
“The tool of all tools, the modern weed slayer, the great labor saver, the greatest horticultural blessing of the age — that is the modern wheel hoe. This above all others frees the gardener from undesirable work, cuts down the labor account one-half, and makes tillage light and pleasant. The advantages connected with the possession of one of these tools cannot be overstated, nor emphasized too strongly, nor told too frequently. This tool reduces the unpleasant task of weeding to a minimum. Now the half-grown boy runs the wheel hoe up and down the rows of vegetables ‘for fun’ and recreation, and accomplishes in one-half hour what a man with a hand hoe could not perform in a whole day.”
The original Walla Walla Wheel Hoe, also known as the "Simmons Wheel Hoe," was the product of Byron L. Simmons and his son Loyd “Wheel Hoe” Simmons, who lived on Sundquist Road just across the state line in Milton-Freewater. Byron applied for a patent for his improved wheel hoe design in 1931, which was granted in 1933, and has since expired.
Local wheel hoe advocate Dan Clark writes:
“My own acquaintance with this wonder tool began in the 1970’s when we had a good sized organic garden at our farmstead on Powerline Road, and a friend told me we needed to buy one of Loyd’s hoes to help keep our weeds down. Since then the Walla Walla Wheel Hoe has become my favorite garden tool, and features a much better design than those I've encountered elsewhere. Since Loyd died some time ago, I’ve been interested in how to share its usefulness with others, and am very glad that Acufab owner Dwight Steffanson is making them available again to the public at a very reasonable price.”For a recent demonstration of the Walla Walla Wheel Hoe at a local community garden, click below.
The Walla Walla Wheel Hoe can be viewed and purchased at Acufab, 509-525-3833, located at 455 A Street at the Walla Walla airport, website www.acufab.com, email: email@example.com.