Number 2 in our Favorite Things series is the Hori-Hori knife. I’ve had this tool for many years and it is probably one of my most used, and certainly the most versatile, tool in our the shed. In Japanese hori means, “to dig”, and this tool is meant for digging and cutting. Both sides of the knife are sharp, with one side being serrated. The shaft of the knife usually has measurements on the front side, which makes it convenient when planting bulbs, seeds, etc.

The list of things to do with this knife are probably endless but here are just a few of the ways that I’ve used it over the years…

  • digging shallow trenches for seeds to be dropped into
  • using the serrated edge to cut stems, and roots and the smooth knife edge for opening bags in the garden and cutting twine
  • using the knife as leverage to get up rocks and get weeds by their roots
  • digging holes in order to transplant seedlings into the soil with little disturbance
  • measuring depth of holes
  • cutting off lettuces and other plants at their base while leaving roots in the soil
  • using it as a measurement for plant spacing (mine is about a foot long)
  • transplanting seedlings in soil blocks.

I have the Hori-Hori by the Japanese company Nisaku. It’s been perfect for me and has lasted many years with no signs of stopping. As always, I think one should buy the best tools that they can reasonably afford so that they last a long time. However, I do think it’s important to remember that a higher price does not necessarily mean better quality. Personally, I prefer a wooden handle to plastic, but think one should go with the most comfortable grip for them. I would recommend a stainless steel blade that goes at least halfway into the handle so that the knife doesn’t snap when using it for tougher tasks. Also, make sure that the serrated edge is substantial with deep serration as I’ve seen a few that are a bit puny. My knife has a nice heft, which I find reassuring!

Tell me, what’s the tool you can’t garden without?