In 1994 I was a very lucky girl to learn bonsai techniques from my elderly neighbour, and beautiful Japanese Niwaki (the pruning of garden trees) at the nearby Narita-san temple. It was garden tool heaven. I was encouraged to use two essential tools – a pair of pine needles snips, and a HoriHori. A funny name, the HoriHori – a Japanese tool named with the sound of digging.
My single most versatile tool
Such a versatile tool, the HoriHori is a deceptively simple and manual thing – part trowel, part knife, with one sharp edge and one deeply serrated or toothed on a concave blade, marked with measures. Here is mine, centre stage amongst friends in my essential tools kit.🌿
Here is just a small selection of it’s uses in the garden. Over time, we will show you lots of demos of these and other uses:
DIGGING -The tough concave blade and longer tang packs a punch in digging power. It slams through clay soils, sodden clumps and stoney ground. The measure is also great for testing soil depth and friability.
CUTTING -The blade cuts through roots, clumps and stalks so is perfect for dividing plant clumps – Think a long plank (or old door) on two sawhorses, then cutting, trimming and root-pruning with the HoriHori. No need to be delicate – it is forgiving operator.
WEEDING -Slicing full clumps of weeds just under the surface through the roots clears weedy beds, STAT. Roll the clump and slice again. Slice, roll, slice, roll.. a whole bed of weeds can be sliced off and trenched in no time.
TRANSPLANTING -Drive the blade in and press soil to one side. It makes a perfect wedge space for seedlings.
HARVESTING -Pulling root veg and onions can be disappointing if the top just rips off. The HoriHori slides down next to the root and with a lift as you pull, it comes out a treat. Removing large taproots of weeds are the same process. Trowels are too wide for this, and not long enough. The blade is great for pumpkin and melon harvest too.
Look wide; grow well, folks 🌿