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Gardening-Variety Weapon

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"Maw! Them zombies dun' got in the cornfield agin!"

"Hobgoblins are best left alone. They sharpen their farm implements far more than is necessary for their work in the fields."

Let's say you're not one for fancy weaponry, or you're in a life-threatening situation without a knife or gun in sight. What do you do? Why, raid the tool shed, of course!

Gardening Variety Weapon is when a character (not necessarily incompetent with more traditional weapons) turns a mundane garden tool into a competent weapon. Truth in Television in that many ancient weapons such as the flail and Nunchaku were essentially retooled farming implements.

A subtrope of Improbable Weapon User, and frequently, Improvised Weapon. Supertrope of Shovel Strike, Machete Mayhem, Kukris Are Kool, Sinister Scythe, Shear Menace (when gardening shears are used), half of both Torches and Pitchforks and Weapons of Their Trade. Often used in Martial Arts and Crafts if the craft is gardening. Contrast with Swords to Plowshares, when weapons are turned into garden tools.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Shinigamis (sans Undertakers) from Black Butler have gardening tools as weapons.
  • Downplayed in Farming Life In Another World. The All-Purpose-Farming-Tool given to Hiraku by God to make his new life easier is meant for farming and usually manifests as such. But as an Empathic Weapon that responds to whatever task its wielder needs it to do, whenever the farm is threatened by a powerful foe, it can transform into a spear that when combined with Hiraku's peak physique (another gift from God), it can one-shot even a dragon.
  • Al Wayne from I've Somehow Gotten Stronger When I Improved My Farm-Related Skills considers himself a farmer first and a part-time adventurer second. So it's not surprising his usual weapon is a gardening hoe.
  • Suiseiseki and Souseiseki from Rozen Maiden use a watering can and a pair of giant shears, respectively. Suiseiseki can use her watering can to make plants grow and manipulate them, while Souseiseki's shears are used like a melee weapon.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Modesty Blaise: In "The Young Mistress", Willie—who is disguised as a gardener—uses a hoe to knock out several thugs who have arrived to abduct the young woman Modesty is guarding.

    Fan Works 
  • The Second Try: Shinji and Asuka use gardening tools to fend off wild animals once or twice in the After the End chapters. They apparently never kept guns around the homestead, and given their history it's not hard to see why.
  • Wonderful (Mazinja): The Wonder-Mop is a mop modified by Taylor to be more efficient, but she stored it away because she couldn't calibrate it properly and it made a hole in the floor. During the battle against The Merchants' tanks, she found out that if you want mop floors, it's useless... but if you want smash war machines, it's excellent.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In A Bay of Blood, Simon uses a billhook as his primary weapon for murdering people.
  • Beyond Sherwood Forest: During the fight in the castle courtyard, Marian grabs a pitchfork to hold the guards at bay.
  • Braindead aka Dead Alive is most famous for the scene where the hero straps himself to a lawnmower to... erm... mow down the undead.
  • Commando. Matrix is cornered in a garden toolshed which the soldiers proceed to riddle full of bullets before entering. Matrix however is doing a Ceiling Cling, and dispatches the mooks with a pitchfork, axe, machete, and even a couple of circular saw blades as improvised shurikens!
  • Dark Night of the Scarecrow: The Scarecrow carries a pitchfork as a weapon, although only Hazelrigg ends up being killed by it.
  • D-Tox: While hiding from the killer in the equipment shed, Jenny grabs a billhook to defend herself. Later the killer grabs the dropped billhook and uses it in attempt to kill Jenny.
  • During the battle at Bull-By-The-Balls in Drive Angry, Piper kills one of King's cultists by burying a hoe in his skull.
  • In Even Lambs Have Teeth, Katie and Sloan hit a hardware store to stock up for their Roaring Rampage of Revenge. They eventually kill Jed and Lucas's mother with a brush cutter.
  • Karge uses a billhook in an attempt to kill Jesse at the trading post in Firestorm (1998).
  • In Ghost Town, Devlin stabs Etta to death with a pitchfork.
  • In Hatchet, Ben grabs a pitchfork from Crowley's shack and uses it as a weapon against him. Marybeth later stabs Victor in the back with a hand fork.
  • In Hansel vs. Gretel, Hansel wields a billhook through the first half of the film, good for removing limbs. And heads.
  • In A Haunting in Venice, the killer uses a garden hand rake to create the so-called 'mark of the children's vendetta' on the backs of the victims, to make it appear they had fallen victim to the curse of the palazzo.
  • In Husk, Corey murders his brother Alex by stabbing him repeatedly with a pitchfork. Scott later uses the same pitchfork to stab the Scary Scarecrow. The scarecrow then uses the fork to finish off Chris.
  • In The Initiation, the killer uses a weeding fork to stab Nurse Higgins and Dwight Fairchild to death.
  • Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, Zhu Bajie carries his trademark giant nine-toothed rake (see below under Literature), though he manages to make it even more intimidating by having the teeth curving inward, like a massive, multi-bladed Sinister Scythe.
  • Killer Workout: During the fight between Jimmy and Chuck in Rhonda's yard, Chuck grabs a rake that eventually winds up being used a weapon by both of them. Chuck eventually sinks the tines of the rake into Jimmy's leg.
  • In Madhouse, Elizabeth Peters is stabbed through the throat with a pitchfork.
  • The Man Who Came Back: During the massacre of the former slaves, one of the former slaves uses a hoe to knock one of The Klan off his horse where he is set upon by others in the camp.
  • During the final riot in Reform School Girls, the girls grab the farming implements they use while doing hard labour and employ them as weapons against the guards.
  • In Satan's Cheerleaders, Sharon gets captured by one the local Satanist hicks who corners her with a gardening fork.
  • Scarecrows: One of the scarecrows wields a sickle as its weapon of choice, and another uses a pitchfork.
  • In Scarecrow Slayer, Mary uses a pitchfork when she attempts to drive the Scarecrow into the shredder.
  • In The Scarlet Claw, the killer uses a five-pronged garden weeder to murder his victims to make it look like the work of a beast.
  • Most of the murders in The Stepfather III are committed with gardening equipment, such as a shovel, a rake, and a woodchipper.
  • Torture Garden: In "Enoch", Colin murders the Disposable Vagrant sleeping in the barn with a pitchfork.
  • In Varsity Blood, Heather gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice and Pinned to the Wall by a pitchfork.
  • In a montage in V for Vendetta, a Fingerman shoots a preteen girl dead for graftiing V's symbol on a wall. He gets surrounded by angry townsfolk who could not care less about his badge, and the scene does a Gory Discretion Shot as one of them swings a shovel at him.
  • Violent Saturday: When finally provoked to violence in order to defend his family, Stadt stabs Dill in the back with a pitchfork.
  • When Claire spots someone spying on her bedroom in Wish Upon, she chases after them with a rake. She then almost hits her father with it when he comes up behind her.
  • In Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!, Chris hits a zombie in the face with a weed trimmer while fighting his way back into the strip club.

  • Jin from Beware of Chicken is a farmer, who to also happens to have supernatural strength, durability, and agility. Naturally his primary weapon in defense of his farm is his shovel. It doesn't hold him back any; his disciple (and rooster) Bi De describes the shovel in Jin's hands as "a command of death".
  • The Cabin at the End of the World: The weapons that the strangers wield when they come knocking at the cabin were all built by Redmond (one of the strangers) out of a variety of gardening and farming implements, and manage to be both highly effective as well as absolutely terrifying to behold.
  • Discworld:
    • Mort: Death's scythe is only once truly used as a weapon, in a duel between Mort and the Grim Reaper himself. The narration notes...
      Although the scythe isn't pre-eminent among the weapons of war, anyone who has been on the wrong end of, say, a peasants' revolt will know that in skilled hands it is fearsome.
    • Night Watch: Some of the rebels are retired soldiers who used halberds and swords as garden stakes or fire pokers... but also, workers who bring their tools, that they use safely and legally every day — tools like boathooks. And meat cleavers. One poor city soldier tries to explain to his officers that "unarmed" civilians really can do a lot of damage with a pitchfork hurled ten feet straight downwards.
    • Snuff: Vimes is forbidden from carrying a sword while visiting his country estate, and instead takes a bill hook to a midnight meeting, commenting that it would be a sad day when a landowner couldn't take a walk and prune any errant limbs.
  • Journey to the West: The pig Zhu Bajie uses a gardening rake as his weapon of choice, formally known as the Jiuchidingpa (Nine-Toothed Spiked Rake). However, suggesting that it's a gardening tool is a sure way to arouse Zhu Bajie's wrath.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The peasant levies used to fill out the armies of Westerosi lords have to arm themselves with whatever tools and improvised weapons they can grab or scavenge on short notice. Since most peasants work as farm laborers, this typically boils down to farm equipment such as scythes or sharpened hoes, interspersed with stolen knives or crude mauls made by tying rocks to branches. Against trained knights and castle guards, these rarely prove effective weapons.
  • The Wheel of Time: In the beginning of The Gathering Storm, an ex-soldier farmer tells his neighbor to rework his scythes into polearms or a sword in preparation for the upcoming Last Battle. Several peasant armies are seen throughout the series using such rudimentary weapons, but they tend not to do well, especially against trained soldiers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Battlebots reboot had a particularly memorable fight where Hypershock elected to enter the arena armed with a garden rake against Warrior Clan, which fought alongside a drone. Hypershock proceeded to swat Warrior Clan's drone out of the air with the rake before destroying it with its spinning discs.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dennis and Dee are trying to get into the mind of a serial killer, so they decide to figure how they would go about committing a murder. They wind up getting a pair of gardening shears, content that they would cut through bone.
  • Murder, She Wrote:
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators: In "This Envious Court", the groundsman at the tennis club threatens Sebastian with a gardening fork when Sebastian discovers the burning aconite.
  • Sister Boniface Mysteries: The murder weapon in "Dem Bones" is a three-prong cultivator kept in one of the sheds on the allotment.
  • Tales from the Crypt: In Four Sided Triangle", Luisa stabs the scarecrow with a pitchfork to prove that it is not alive, only to to discover she has just stabbed George, who was inside the suit. When she drops the pitchfork, Mary Jo grabs it and uses it to stab her.
  • The Westerner: In "Mrs. Kennedy", crazed rancher Marsh Kennedy attempts to stab Dave while with a pitchfork while Dave is sleeping in the barn. A scream from Mrs. Kennedy awakens Dave in time to shoot Marsh.

  • In "The Alice's Restaurant Masacree", Arlo Guthrie repeatedly refers to gardening tools as "shovels and rakes and implements of destruction", highlighting their potential use as weapons in a song about how he was barred from the draft for littering.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: The Fifth Edition Sourcebook mentions farming implements in its weapons section, noting that they're awkward and fragile in combat.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Mattock of the Titans is a massive matttock (a digging tool with an axe blade on one side and a horizontal blade like a sideways shovel on the other). It's so massive that it can only be used by huge or larger beings like giants in most editions, but it does tremendous damage and also lets them dig with supernatural speed.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Innistrad block features several equipment cards that are common tools, such as a pitchfork, a mattock, and a butcher's cleaver, with the fanciest of all being a silver-inlaid dagger. Flavor-wise these indeed represent the weaponized tools of Innistrad's peasantry, who would otherwise have no defense against the setting's other inhabitants; demons, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and all other manner of horrors.
  • Transhuman Space: This trope is the reason that the C-Brown gardening cybershell has large off buttons on its front and back — there's no record of one ever attacking, but the idea is a common one in in-universe fiction.

    Video Games 
  • Battle for Wesnoth: Human Peasants fight with only pitchforks, which are weaker compared to most weapons since they are level 0 units.
  • The Crown of Wu: The Final Boss uses a powerful steel rake which shaves away chunks of your health with each swing, and can even use it to blast lightning from a distance. He's none other than Zhu Bajie from Journey to the West, as seen in the Literature folder.
  • Dark Souls: The expansion has living plant creatures that use gardening tools to maintain a massive garden and assault wandering adventurers.
  • Dead Rising emphasizes improvised weapons that you find in a mall. As such, this trope comes into play with mostly joke weapons like rakes or the like, but certain ones can be effective or turned into other weapons.
  • Dungeon Siege: Hoes and rakes are among the earliest weapons you come across as a player character.
  • Fire Emblem started introducing these as "joke" weapons in the 3DS-onward games. Fire Emblem Fates features a Hoe as a type of club (which is actually not a horrible weapon, despite being only as strong as the basic Brass Club, due to ignoring the target's terrain bonuses) and a Broom as a type of lance.
  • Jagged Alliance: The character "Unnecessarily Ruthless" Reuban got the "Ruthless" part of his name for wiping out his own family with a cordless hedge trimmer. The "Unnecessarily" bit was added because, during the process, he had to recharge the appliance twice. The hedge trimmer in question is actually in-game as a melee weapon, and Reuban gets some added lines when using it.
  • Kingdom of Loathing:
    • The Beach must be an ant farm, because the fire ants in the Arid, Extra-Dry Desert have an entire set of gardening tools, with which your familiar can "sow pain and reap Meat".
    • The Zombie Slayer challenge path starts you out with a rake, acquired from your first victim. Other garden weapons in the game include pitchforks, scythes, shovels, and a gardening trowel.
  • League of Legends: Rhaast the Darkin was imprisoned inside a large scythe. His Darkin brother Aatrox, who was imprisoned inside a giant sword mocks him relentlessly for it.
    Aatrox: A scythe? A scythe?! Are you planning on murdering fields of wheat?!
  • Left 4 Dead 2, as of The Last Stand update, features shovels and pitchforks as melee weapons. One achievement involves killing a number of Jockeys with them.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Link can use items such as the Farmer's Pitchfork, the Woodcutter's Axe, and the Farming Hoe as weapons. These can be found lying around in most towns and stables, but deal little damage and have very low durability.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon: Some of the Greenies in the Haunted Towers use gardening tools such as shovels as weapons.
  • Mass Effect 2: During his loyalty mission, Mordin claims, "Have killed many, Shepard. Many methods. Gunfire, knives, drugs, tech attacks, once with farming equipment." According to the Shadow Broker's files, he killed a Krogan by stabbing him in the eye with a pitchfork.
  • Mount & Blade features a variety of more or less true-to-life weapons, including low tier improvised equipment often used by peasant units. Common peasant weapons include carpenter's hatchets, sickles, pitchforks, and farming scythes. Most of these weapons are generally useless to the player as you pretty much always start with something better, such as a basic sword or a crossbow.
  • Penny Arcade Adventures: The player character uses a rake as a weapon in the first episodenote , and a Gardening Hoe in the second.
    PC: Come rake, let us begin our dark work!
  • Plants vs. Zombies allows you to purchase a rake which will kill the first zombie who steps on it.
    • Additionally, in each (typical) level of that same game as well as its sequel, each of your rows has a lawnmower which, as soon as one reaches the end of the row, will activate, clearing out all the zombies in the row.
  • Resident Evil 4: The farm Ganados are armed with various gardening tools, including hatchets, pitchforks, and sickles. Occasionally, the Zealots in the castle area wield full-sized scythes, which they can throw if you're far away. Unlike all other thrown weapons, scythes fly in a straight line and the enemy will never have another one to replace it.
  • Team Fortress 2
    • The Pyro's Back Scratcher, a rake with increased damage, increased health gained from health pickups, but decreased rate of healing from dispensers and Medics.
    • The Soldier has the Market Gardener, a garden shovel which does a Critical Hit on enemies while the Soldier is still on air from a Rocket Jump, at the ignorable cost of slightly slower swing recovery. His standard melee weapon is a trench-digging shovel, which understandably can also be used for gardening purposes.
  • Total War: Warhammer: Bretonnian Peasant Mobs tend to be armed with mixed assortments of farming tools, such as sharpened pitchforks and spades, due to not being permitted to own true weapons and these beings the best they could grab on short notice when drafted.
  • Ultima VII: A farmer near Britain complains that he brought his broken hoe to a mage to be repaired, but it got mixed up with a sword that was supposed to be enchanted, resulting in the Hoe of Destruction, which you can retrieve from his shed.
  • Tools such as hoes, pickaxes, and shovels can be used as weapons in Wayward if you have nothing else available. They'll do against most surface monsters, but aren't strong enough for stronger cave-dwelling monsters.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines the bush-hook is the ultimate melee weapon, edging out even the mighty katana for sheer limb-cleaving damage potential.
  • Invoked a lot in World of Warcraft, especially with a lot of leveling weapons. Shovels, pickaxes, fire pokers, cattle prods, meat cleavers, and indeed gardening shears, are all quest rewards. In addition, in an absolute pinch, fishing rods do actually do damage. Some of the higher level rods can in fact do quite a bit of damage: and in certain scenarios will actually outperform normal weapons because of their speed. There was a cheese strategy for soloing Malygos back in Wrath of the Lich King that involved a particular fishing pole, since Malygos was immune to practically all kinds of magic: rendering the usual strategies and gear completely useless. His only real weakness was his lack of self-healing, meaning that your best option was to use a fast weapon on a character specced for high mobility. A certain fishing rod obtainable in Dalaran through a certain quest, had one of the highest speeds in the game: on what was technically a two-handed weapon, usable by an Arms Warrior (most of the other fast weapons in the game, naturally enough, are daggers).
  • The Gardening Club in Yandere Simulator has a whole host of implements that Yandere-chan can use for less-than-intended purposes on her rivals.

    Web Comics 
  • One of the members of the Yellow Ponchos from Dead Winter uses the seldom seen manual polesaw as a weapon, wielding it like a serrated spear with pretty good efficiency in a fight.
  • Rusty and Co.:
    • Madeline the Paladin is all about this. She first shows up wielding an alleged "holy avenger", which turns out to be a simple hoe. Then the gnome who originally sold her the hoe shows up offering a "+1 trident", which is actually a rake. When Madeline reappears in a later scene, she's armed with a spade. She more recently lost the vorpal spade in an ambush, and has since picked up a +2 Trident of Warning (formerly a pitchfork). Should be noted that this actually is a Trident of Warning, as seen here. (A Trident of Warning detects hostile aquatic life.)
    • Anti-Madeline, who is Madeline's Enemy Without, at first brandishes a miniature scythe (since she's a few inches tall). She's soon switching to dynamite, however.
  • Inverted in True Magic when the Homeville peasants circumvent weapons laws by claiming that their substantial arsenal are actually various farming tools. It strains even an Upper-Class Twit's credulity to pass off a pistol as a "high-speed seed planter".

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The Mystery Shack's shovel makes its rounds as a weapon, primarily against zombies (first time was against gnomes, the second time actually was against zombies).
    • In "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons", Mabel chooses a rake as her weapon when going to rescue her brother from an evil wizard.
  • In the Grand Finale of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the turtles' weapons are destroyed and Todd gives them gardening tools as approximate replacements, pointing out that's exactly what traditional ninja weapons are. Once they learn to channel the mystic power of the broken weapons themselves, the gardening tools turn into the weapons they use in most continuities.
  • In Robot Chicken, one episode has Bob Barker become a vigilante pet spayer/neuterer. His weapon of choice? A pair of hedge clippers.

    Real Life 
  • War scythes and Billhooks. The Billhook article also mentions that Finnish combat engineers are issued with billhooks rather than entrenching tools.
  • One of the most iconic ninja weapons in popular culture is the kunai, which originated as a gardening trowel. Another is the kusari-gama, a pair of sickles connected by a chain. While not useful as a tool in that form, it's something any farmer would be able to quickly construct.
  • The norm during the Middle Ages, as the vast majority of "soldiers" were conscripted peasants who had to provide their own equipment.
  • Various varieties of heavy utility blades like the Germanic sax, the machete, and the Kukri. The eighteenth century fascine knife would count except it was a purely military tool (designed to cut twigs to bundle together in bundles called "fascines" to serve in a similar role as sandbags); however the work it did was similar to gardening and it could be used as a gardening tool. In any case the basic concept is known in several cultures.
  • Entrenching Tools (folding shovels issued to soldiers for digging individual emplacements, among other tasks) are far more likely to be used in hand-to-hand combat than bayonets. In fact, the Russian version of this shovel features a razor sharp edge, and soldiers are trained to use it as a weapon.


Video Example(s):


Hypershock's Anti-Drone Rake

For the fight against Warrior Clan, Hypershock is equipped with an honest-to-goodness rake to deal with Warrior Clan's companion drone, Dragon. The moment the drone flies near Hypershock, it gets swatted out of the air.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / CrazyEnoughToWork

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