Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In praise of my Japanese Soil Knife

Japanese Soil Knife
When I decided to plant 200 grape hyacinths (Muscari 'Ocean Magic') in the curb strip, I assumed I would do it in large groups of 10 bulbs per hole. The more I thought about it, I realized that I wanted more of an even covering of blooms, especially since the serviceberry trees (Amelanchier canadensis) should be blooming above the muscari.  But, two hundred individual holes sounded like a daunting task, even for me.

Personally, I am not a fan of those little round bulb planters. And I can imagine the bulb augers they sell to fit a corded drill would work splendidly. Firstly though, I would need to buy a corded drill and this attachment. But as it turns out, I did not need any fancy, specialized equipment at all, because of my dearest garden tool: the Japanese soil knife (also called a Hori Hori knife or a garden knife).

This is definitely the one garden tool that I would want on my desert island. One edge is serrated (for dividing), one edge a smooth blade (for more dividing), the end pointy (poking out small seedlings, pulling out tap roots or rocks), a side notch (cutting wire) and curved to scoop like a trowel. This tool does it all. (Well, maybe no bush planting... though it is great for slicing around those bound root balls before you plunk the bush in its hole!) And you can be sure about the depth of your planting holes because this particular knife has measurement markings on its scoop (opposite the side pictured above).

In the end, it took me less than an hour to plant all 200 muscari in the curb strip, plus I had a huge pot of weeded out dandelions also to show for my effort.

I could write "An Ode to my Knife", but I will spare you that much.
Let me just say that I just hope some time soon you get to experience this tool too!

1 comment:

  1. What a great, versatile tool! Just added it to my wish list ;) Happy Thanksgiving to you!


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