Good Gear: Japanese Farmer’s Knife

Good Gear: Japanese Farmer’s Knife

Yesterday was a beautiful day in my part of the world: sunny and clear, and unseasonably warm. Neighbors were out and about, chatty, and a general giddiness was in the air. It’s days like this that pull me outdoors to do a bit of light gardening and clean-up, and generally just poke around and see what might be stirring.

I travel light, tool-wise. I can work all day in my garden toting just two tools – my Japanese farmer’s knife and my Felco pruners. I even have a handy holster for the two tools – a real quick draw McGraw.

On my right hip you’d find my Felco pruners, which you might already know about, although I’ll likely have more to say about this great tool in a later post. On my left hip you’d find my Japanese farmer’s knife (also called a hori-hori knife), one of my all-time favorite tools because it‘s so versatile; it’s kinda like a cross between a trowel and a knife.

Japanese Farmer’s KnifeI use it for weeding; it’s especially good for getting at tap-rooted baddies. I also use it when planting smaller plants, say 4-inch or quart-sized pots, as long as I’m planting into yummy, well-prepared soil.  I’ll even use it when planting small bulbs such as crocus, galanthus, species tulips, and other bulbs that aren’t planted especially deep. The serrated edge of the tool is especially useful for dividing perennials and small grasses. Do be careful, though. I nicked myself on my first time out with the stainless steel version of the tool. There is a carbon steel version, which I’ve also used – it’s especially good for prying and such, though it isn’t nearly as sharp, so isn’t as flexible in my opinion.

I’ll bet you’d be able to find one at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show’s marketplace; looks like Lee Valley Tools might have them on hand.

For more great gardening tips, visit Jasmine’s San Francisco Flower & Garden Show blog.

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