Garden Weasel Rotary Cultivator: Product Review
A hand operated rotary cultivator that’s been around since 1974.
Available on Amazon
The Garden Weasel has been around longer than some gardeners – since 1974, when the tool was first seen at a hardware show in Germany by the owner of an American laundry starch company. He bought a box of Garden Weasels to sell in the United States and the product – and company – were launched on a handshake.
The tool is designed to consistently cultivate soil to a depth of 1.5 inches, so its main purpose is loosening topsoil and prepping beds or bare areas of lawn for seed starting by mixing soil or added organic matter.
I tested an original Garden Weasel, though with a new and improved design. The tool is clever – with three tines that engage when the user rolls the Garden Weasel back and forth; the tines are made to loosen and aerate the soil in one easy step. A gardener can cultivate several ways, depending on which removable tines are used. I tried it out to see how well the tool handles and cultivates soil.
Garden Weasel Features
The Garden Weasel is 54.5 inches long, including the base and handle, and lightweight (only 2.5 pounds), with a handle made of carbon steel alloy. The handle has a rubber grip to improve comfort, though it is not heavily padded. I especially like the metal loop at the handle end that makes for easy storage in a garden shed or garage.
The tines are designed to be easy to clean with spray from a hose; the force of the water rotates the tines and, because they’re aluminum, they won’t rust. The base and nuts that hold the tines appear to be hard plastic (so they won’t rust either).
The Garden Weasel is so easy to grab and go that you really don’t need the included instructions, even for removing or replacing the tines. It can be used with all three tines, just two tines, or only the center tine.
When all three tines are in place, the tool measures about 6 to 7 inches across and can cultivate large garden bed areas. If you want narrow rows, remove one tine from either side. By removing the center tine, you can cultivate around a row of seedlings. Finally, keeping just the center tine in allows you to cultivate in narrow gaps.
To remove a tine, you only need to unscrew the gray bolt that holds it in place and pull the tine out. The tines go back in easily as well, once you loosen the bolt and slip the tine back in place. All three tines are interchangeable.
The Garden Weasel is Simple to Use
To cultivate soil with the Garden Weasel, just place the head on the ground and roll it back and forth. You’ll have to exert some pressure to get it to dig into the soil.
The tines work together for smooth coverage by overlapping slightly as you roll the tool back and forth. Simply choose the number of tines that are best for whatever you’re using it for. For example, I used all three tines to loosen soil around my tomatoes, as well as to loosen soil and remove weeds around my lettuce. Because you can easily control where it does and does not cultivate, it also comes in handy for cultivating around new plant starts.
If you want to cultivate around larger plants, you can run the Garden Weasel around the edges of the plant with the single tine. I also used the single tine to make nice even rows (for example, for planting vegetable starts).
Regardless of how many tines I used, the tool rolled back and forth along the soil smoothly and easily.
Requires Some Effort
Although the Garden Weasel moves smoothly, its straight-handled design means you have to work a little harder to get the rolling tines to penetrate the soil, since the cultivator bottom is at an angle to the ground rather than straight overhead. How deeply it penetrates depends partially on the soil, of course, and in areas where soil is better or previously has been worked, it requires less pressing down on the handle to force the tines deeper.
Garden Weasel comes with a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
The Garden Weasel works well for shallow cultivating. The width can be easily adjusted by removing one or two of the three tines, making it flexible enough to use in many different situations. It’s lightweight, rust-resistant and simple to use – just place the head on the ground and roll it back and forth.
However, I have used similar cultivators that felt sturdier and had a curved handle above the blade that gave you better control and required less effort to use. The lightness of the tool is a positive for many gardeners, but might be a weakness for long-term or frequent usage; it just doesn’t feel sturdy (particularly the part where the base is attached to the handle). Still, the tool held up well during testing, and the company literature states they have made the Garden Weasel stronger and more durable than the original model.
Where to Buy
The Garden Weasel sells online through a link on the company’s website for $29.95 (plus shipping of $14.15 – Fed-Ex ground) and can also be found on Amazon. The product also is carried in many local Ace Hardware or True Value Hardware stores. You can search on the company website by state and product to find for stores near you.
Last update on 2020-06-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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