What is a hand cultivator? (with photos)

A hand cultivator can be used by gardeners to work the soil.

A hand cultivator is a garden tool that gardeners can use to work the soil and remove weeds by hand. Hand cultivators are useful for small gardening tasks, small gardens and for working on planters. Many garden supply stores sell cultivators of this type, especially in the spring, and sometimes hardware stores and general stores also stock them. Spring is an especially convenient time to buy a hand cultivator, as many stores sell them at a low price during the spring for gardeners who want to start working the soil with the changing seasons.

A hand cultivator can be used to remove weeds.

Hand cultivators consist of a set of teeth, usually three, attached to a sturdy handle. The tines are usually made of stainless steel and are normally curved and thick so they can grip the soil and hold it while the cultivator is used. A good hand cultivator is a solid cast product with no joints or seams to create weak points, and especially good products have ergonomic handles that make them easier to use.

A hand cultivator can be used to work the soil until it reaches the desired state.

In some cases, the teeth are arranged like a fan. In others, the middle tooth may be closer to the handle, creating a V-shape. The teeth may also vary in length. All of these design variations are intended to make the hand cultivator more effective, and some gardeners have a preferred style that they like to use based on their experience in the garden.

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A common use of a hand cultivator is to work the soil, as is done before planting bulbs or transplanting plants. The cultivator is dragged through the soil at varying depths to break up clods in the soil, pull weeds and remove rocks. Smoothed soil will provide better growing conditions, resulting in a stronger, healthier plant.

Gardeners can also use hand cultivators to remove weeds. In these cases, the grower is gently dragged around the plants to pull out the weeds while leaving the desired plant intact. Weeding around plants is important not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also to reduce competition for resources so the plants can remain strong and healthy. Weeds can suck up nutrients and water before they even reach the plant, making it difficult for the plant to thrive.

Mechanical cultivators are also available. These designs are meant to be used over a larger area, such as a field on a farm or an entire flower bed. While mechanical cultivators can often work the soil deeper, they are not suitable for indoors, as can be found when a gardener needs to work part of a flower bed to prepare it for bulbs.

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