Friday, June 19, 2009

Hori-Hori – You Gotta' Have This! by Donna Duffy

The word “Hori” is a Japanese word for digging.

When I retired last year, a fellow gardener gave me a Hori Hori knife as a retirement gift. It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. The Hori Hori was originally used for excavating bonsai in the mountains of Japan. Because the tool is small, it’s less destructive than a shovel and can be worked around fragile bonsai roots during excavation. I’ve heard that it’s also called a “diggy diggy.”

As I’ve been working with my fellow Master Gardeners, I’ve noticed that people who own a Hori Hori use it for almost everything. Need to remove sod, transplant or split perennials? No problem! Need to cut through woody roots? Just grab a Hori Hori. One gardener has even used it as a small axe. It’s especially great for those oh-so challenging tasks like opening a bag of soil.

The Hori Hori is available with a carbon steel blade or a stainless steel blade. The blade is razor sharp and serrated. Some blades are marked to serve as a ruler for measuring depth. It has a large smooth wooden handle and is easy to use with one hand. It comes with a sheath that can be attached to your belt.

But beware – the carbon steel blade and wooden handle are easily camouflaged in the earth. I’ve lost mine a couple of times and found it partially buried in soil. Try one! I’ll bet you love it.