A Hori Hori is a traditional Japanese gardening knife which makes weeding, unearthing roots and cultivating an absolute doddle! You may have seen them but are still unsure if you really need one. I'm about to convince you otherwise! I've been converted as these gardening knives make daily chores an absolute breeze. This handy guide gives you the low down on the Hori Hori.

The Hori Hori comes from the term ‘to dig’ in Japanese and that is something they do very effectively. They are used for a variety of gardening purposes from weeding to excavating with precision. Usually, they are made of carbon steel which can be cleaned, sharpened and maintained for years. Now I know what you’re thinking, but you don’t need to be a Samurai to use one or train with a Sensei gardener for years on a remote Japanese island. Once you’ve got the hang of it I guarantee you’ll never look back!

Whilst the Hori Hori may look quite brutal they’re remarkably easy to use.  I’ve put together this handy guide to help explain why every gardener should consider using a Hori Hori!

  1. Weeding with a Hori Hori
  2. Digging Seed Drills
  3. Excavating roots
  4. Hori Hori as a trowel for planting
  5. Cleaning a Hori Hori
  6. How to holster a Hori Hori

1.Weeding with a Hori Hori

Weeding with the Hori Hori couldn’t be simpler. I don’t know about you but I used to use those fiddly long thin weeders which often missed the root completely. The Hori Hori allows you to quickly and cleanly dig up weeds with minimal effort even removing the root at the same time. I use it as a corkscrew action to twist around the weeds roots.

2.Digging drills with the Hori Hori

For any one who grows their own digging drills is a prefered method for sowing lettuce, peas or root crops. With the Hori Hori you can use the sharp edge t drag out neat drills in cultivated soil. The blade is concave meaning that it can help excavate a clean drill into the soil, saving time and effort!

3.Excavating troublesome roots

A neat trick of the Japanese gardening knife is to quickly and carefully excavate soil from around roots or other structures. You can do this really precisely and with far more care than a trowel or spade. Then once you’ve cleaned around the roots you can use a root or hacksaw to cut out the offending root!

4.Using a Hori Hori to dig in plants

The Hori Hori is also a really useful tool for planting plug plants, bulbs and bedding in record time. It’s capable of excavating small amounts of soil, perfect for plug plants. It means you don’t have to keep switching from tool to tool either! Great for 9cm plants, spring bulbs, plug plants or home propagated seedlings!

5.Cleaning a Hori Hori

It couldn’t be simpler. Rinse in cold water and wipe clean with a cloth. That’s it! If it does need some TLC using some Camellia oil and a cloth can help, rubbing a small amount across the blade to protect it and prevent any rusting. The Hori Hori can also be sharpened with a tool file which helps keep it sharp to slice through those obstacles. Keeping your tool cleans will ensure they last a lifetime and its good practice to ensure they are ready to use the next time you need them.

6.Hori Hori Holster

You don’t want to be walking about wielding a knife when gardening, not only may it scare the neighbours but its much safer to use a holster. I’d highly recommend a holster to enable to safely stow the blade until you need it. It means you can have it with you for when you need it but it keeps both hands free for other gardening related activities! The holster does certainly give you a John Wayne / Kill Bill style feel when in the garden!

All in all the Hori Hori can save you lots of time and effort if used correctly. Having it holstered on you in the garden means you’re always prepared for pesky weeds or minor tweaks to your flower beds. It can be used for a number of functions from weeding, digging to root cutting without the need for multiple tools. If cleaned and cared for it should last a lifetime.

Don’t be concerned that it looks lethal, with all tools if kept correctly it will become your best friend. I’ve even known people to use them to open tins of paint, beer bottles and loosen root bound plants from pots. What a multitool! All hail the Hori Hori!