Cobrahead Weeding Tool: A Steel Claw for Veggie Gardening and Weeding Cracks

by Genevieve on May 24, 2010

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I’m constantly on the lookout for new and different ways of doing things in gardening. For one, it keeps things interesting, but also, if you garden as much as I do, having a few different ways of doing the same task can really help cut down on the risk of injury or repetitive strain on one body part.

I’d heard good things about the Cobrahead from a number of folks online, so I was excited when Cobrahead offered me one to test out. They advertise it as a “steel fingernail” and an “extension of your hand”, and that’s actually pretty accurate for imagining what it’s best for and what it doesn’t shine at.

If you’re the kind of gardener who tosses down your trowel in disgust and starts digging with your fingers, the Cobrahead might be for you.

Gardening with chickens

Ethel, Beryl, and Kernal were all very curious about the Cobrahead - or rather, what worms I might unearth with it!

It’s best in beds with somewhat soft soil (like veggie beds) and smallish weeds, and in those circumstances, I actually prefer it to my long-beloved hori-hori! I simply annihilated the weeds in my veggie bed, and having finished in 5 minutes what should have taken 15, I was looking around for more places to use it!

It’s also good for doing planting in veggie beds. It broke up the crust on my soil easily and made small planting holes and rows more quickly and easily then my hori-hori. The motion to use it just felt natural.

ethel doesn't need a cobrahead

Ethel concludes she doesn't need a Cobrahead - she has her own sturdy claws for digging!

Ergonomics:

Without trying very hard, I found four different ways of gripping or angling it that all used different parts of my hands and wrists. I can see pulling this out on marathon weeding days just to mix up the motion on my wrists.

I also liked the fat, rounded handle – it felt comfy to grip.

two-handed grip

Two-handed grip

a different grip

Gripping between my fingers and using as a "steel fingernail"

Testing it on sidewalk cracks:

I also did a comparison between my Ken Ho Weeder and the Cobrahead for weeding in between cracks, and this one got 90% on the first go, while I had to go back and forth with my Ken Ho a few times to get all the weeds and moss out. The diamond-shaped head fit perfectly into the sidewalk cracks.

weeding cracks with cobrahead

Weeding sidewalk cracks with a Cobrahead

Now, what doesn’t it do? Any weed that looks like it’s really settled in – get your hori-hori, ‘cause this isn’t gonna do it. They have a tutorial on how to get out dandelion weeds out, like in your lawn, but it just didn’t work. Either it broke the root or it took too long. I tried a few different ways of getting bigger weeds out (like 6” or taller) with their roots, but the Cobrahead just felt wrong for that.

That said, I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun weeding my raised beds! The motion to use the Cobrahead just felt so much more natural in that situation than using my hori-hori, because I really wanted to loosen the crust of the soil and soften things up, not just pull individual weeds.

I also really liked the Cobrahead in clients’ gardens where they had a thick layer of mulch on top of landscape fabric. Because I wasn’t worried about incorporating soil into the wood chips (landscape fabric has its uses), the Cobrahead worked really well at getting out the small, few-week-old weeds in the garden beds.

If you’d like to try a Cobrahead for yourself, I have sources for it in my Gardening Store.

Have you tried any unusual gardening tools lately? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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