Everyone likes the indispensable tool. A gardener only needs four or five: a shovel, a digging fork, a good hoe, a rake and a hori hori knife, loosely translated as “diggy diggy.” Invented in Japan the hori hori is the samurai sword of gardening. But where a high quality samurai sword might cost thousands, you can buy a hori hori knife for less than $30.
I had one for awhile before I began to use it, wondering what it might be good for. Turns out it’s good for almost everything. The hori hori is useful in so many ways. It is perfect for digging dandelions and other weedy things, especially those close to rocks or boards. The eight inch long blade slips right under them and lifts them out. I’ve use the knife to cut strawberry plants loose from their pots for repotting. Since I was saving some of the old potting soil I also broke up the old root tangles with the hori hori. Then I used the knife to make a furrow for seeds and again to cover the seeds with dirt.
One edge of the knife is sharpened but not sharp enough to cut you. It is sharp enough to cut open a bag of peat moss or potting soil. The other edge is serrated and you can use it like a saw. I needed some pieces of sod to fill some holes and the knife worked perfectly to saw out a rectangular piece and lever it out of the ground without busting the sod apart. The hori hori knife is strong.
You can dig perfect hole for transplants and use the concave side of the knife to lift seedlings out of a tray or pot. You can throw the hori hori at rabbits. You can pick up those big old slugs with it and give them a heave.
Several people recommend painting the handle a bright color to avoid the stress and depression which will result if you lose it.
If you are going to take one tool into the garden, hori hori is the one to grab.