One of the joys of gardening is how easy it is to get started. There's no need for expensive equipment or specialist training - at its simplest, you just need a patch of earth, a few seeds, and some enthusiasm.
But there's no doubt that high-quality hand tools can make gardening life easier and more productive, and one of the most useful and versatile types you can buy is the hori hori knife. Here's why.
What is a Hori Hori Knife?
The hori hori knife is a traditional Japanese tool originally developed for use in Bonsai, and for home gardeners it combines the functions of several hand tools into one. Named after the Japanese word for 'to dig', it's a combination of a dual-edged knife, a slimmed-down trowel, and a measuring tool all set on a wooden handle.
The narrow stainless steel blade is around 15-20cm long, slightly concave, and narrowing to a point at the tip. One side has a serrated blade, the other a straight cutting edge. The blade is also marked with measurements down the centre of its length, usually in both millimetres and inches.
When to Use a Hori Hori Knife
The combination of functions means a hori hori knife can be used in many everyday gardening tasks, and can replace a typical set of hand tools as you go about your gardening day. Here are some of the jobs that a hori hori knife is ideal for.
- Easy Sowing and Bulb Planting: The pointed blade makes it easy to dig sowing holes, with the measurements helping you plant at the right depth.
- Removing Deep-Rooted Weeds: A hori hori knife's serrated edge can cut the toughest weeds at the root and dig them up at the same time, making short work of clearing small to medium areas.
- Clearing Surface Weeds: The sharp cutting edge can be used as a mini-machete for dealing with large clumps of surface weeds.
- Easy Harvesting: The straight cutting edge is great for cutting soft herbs and salad leaves by the bunch, while the serrated edge is more than a match for fruit stalks and other tougher stems. And lastly, the trowel-like blade is perfect for digging up root vegetables, especially in heavier or compacted earth.
- Transplanting: The long, curved blade is great for transplanting delicate plants without too much trauma to the root system.
- Dividing: Sprawling plants like oregano can be divided and transplanted with greater precision than by using a spade edge.
Keep a hori hori knife hooked to your belt in its handy holster, and you'll be ready to deal with any minor task as you potter through your garden. From digging to weeding to cutting, the hori hori knife can do it all, removing the need for constant trips back and forth to your tool box.