Gardeners use cultivators to loosen garden soil for weed removal and loosen soil to allow easy root spread of all types of plants. Cultivating the garden requires work and certain tools make this task slightly easier. Any piece of equipment that turns over soil can be considered a cultivator. These tools range from hand-held, three-pronged hoes to motor-driven rototillers that make fast work of stirring up the soil. The best cultivators include models that perfectly suit the task at hand and limit effort by the gardener. This preference depends entirely on the user as well as the gardening situation.
Cultivator is simply a fancy name for a garden tool that stirs up the soil. For this reason, every tool used in gardening actually works as a potential cultivator. The common hoe features a sharp blade attached at a 90-degree angle onto a long handle. The hose tops the list of best cultivators because it saves a gardener's back and tackles young weeds quickly and easily. Pull the hoe through the soil to remove surface weeds and stir up the soil in one motion of the tool.
The close confines of garden beds often require a good tool to work under the canopy of foliage. Stirring up the soil to promote aeration and to work in amendments requires a tool that digs a little deeper than a hoe. Pronged cultivators feature three distinct prongs bent at a 90-degree angle. Imagine a bent fork with a long handle. This tool allows the garden to stand upright while attached the top 3 to 4 inches of soil.
A long handle and a spinning, pronged wheel characterizes the common wheel cultivator. Gardeners roll the wheel cultivator across the soil surface to remove larger weeds and break up soil into fine particles. This type of cultivator rolls forward and backward to break up clumps and features a long handle to limit bending. Wheel cultivators work perfectly as a final step in preparation of a seedbed.
Some jobs simply require the use of a heavier machine to turn over soil. Rototillers feature sharp prongs that dig into the soil to a depth 8 to 12 inches. This deep stirring of the soil turns over a garden bed in record time. The great benefit of a tiller lies in the extreme ease of planting after modifying the soil with organic additives. Manufacturers produce tillers in small and large models for gardeners to choose the right size for each type of cultivation job.