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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."
Hearthfire Hobgoblin flavor text

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 sai were essentially retooled farming implements.

A subtrope of Weapon of Choice and Improbable Weapon User. Supertrope of Shovel Strike, Machete Mayhem, Sinister Scythe, An Axe to Grind (when it's a woodchopping axe and not a battle axe), Shear Menace (when gardening shears are used) and half of Torches and Pitchforks. Often used in Martial Arts and Crafts if the craft is gardening.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Shinigamis (sans Undertakers) from Black Butler have gardening tools as weapons.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • Wonderful!: 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.
  • 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 hard not to see why.

  • 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.
  • Braindead aka Dead Alive is most famous for the scene where the hero straps himself to a lawnmower to... erm... mow down the undead.
  • Most of the murders in The Stepfather III are committed with gardening equipment, such as a shovel, a rake, and a woodchipper.
  • In Hansel vs. Gretel, Hansel wields a billhook through the first half of the film, good for removing limbs. And heads.
  • In Scarecrow Slayer, Mary uses a pitchfork when she attempts to drive the Scarecrow into the shredder.
  • Dark Night of the Scarecrow: The Scarecrow carries a pitchfork as a weapon, although only Hazelriggends up being killed by it.
  • Beyond Sherwood Forest: During the fight in the castle courtyard, Marian grabs a pitchfork to hold the guards at bay.
  • During the battle at Bull-By-The-Balls in Drive Angry, Piper kills one of King's cultists by burying a how in his skull.

  • In Journey to the West, the pig Zhu Bajie uses a gardening rake as his Weapon Of Choice.
  • In the beginning of The Wheel of Time: 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.
  • Discworld
    • In 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.
    • In 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.

    Live Action TV 

  • 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.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic's 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.
  • Ars Magica's Fifth Edition Sourcebook mentions farming implements in its weapons section, noting that they're awkward and fragile in combat.

    Video Games 
  • In 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.
  • Mass Effect 2: according to the Shadow Broker's files, Mordin once killed a Krogan by stabbing him in the eye with a pitchfork.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dark Souls expansion has living plant creatures that use gardening tools to maintain a massive garden and assault wandering adventurers.
  • Plants vs. Zombies allows you to purchase a rake which will kill the first zombie who steps on it. Additionally, 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.
  • Any medieval-themed strategy game in which peasants can be drafted to a military force without gear or training will invariably supply their own Torches and Pitchforks — minus the torches.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Pyro's Backscratcher, a rake with increased damage, increased health gained from health pickups, but decreased rate of healing from healing sources.
    • The Soldier has the Market Gardener, basically an Awesome, but Impractical garden shovel which does a Critical Hit on enemies while in a Rocket Jump. His standard melee weapon is a trench-digging shovel, which understandably can also be used for gardening purposes.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon: Some of the Greenies in the Haunted Towers use gardening tools such as shovels as weapons.
  • The Beach in Kingdom of Loathing 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.
  • In 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!"
  • Hoes and rakes are among the earliest weapons you come across as a player character in Dungeon Siege.
  • 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.
  • Fire Emblem started introducing these as "joke" weapons in the more recent 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.
  • 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.
  • In Resident Evil 4, the farm Ganados are armed with various gardening tools, including hatchets, pitchforks, and scythes.
  • In 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.

  • In 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.)

    Western Animation 

    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 roll 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.