Episode 333. My new garden tool the Hori Hori knife.

Join me in today's podcast, where I'll be sharing my first impressions and tests of my new garden tool the Hori Hori knife. I also share the latest from the allotment and modern victory garden.

A full transcript of the podcast is available below.

The diary

In today's diary section you will hear

  • How I have finally got my sweet potato into the ground
  • Garlic will be harvested soon
  • How everything is springing into life

And much more in the podcast.

My new garden tool the Hori Hori knife.

Recently I bought myself a new gardening tool. Something I have had my eye on for a while and its the Hori Hori knife from Niwaki. This is a tool that has its roots in Japan.

The Hori Hori knife is also known as a digging or weeding knife and gets its name from the Japanese word Hori meaning to dig. Throughout Japan, it is commonly used as a traditional gardening tool but they are becoming popular over here.

Of course a tool is only good if it can do the job its designed to do and in this podcast you can hear how I tested my Hori Hori knife and how it performed. Of course the test of time will be its ultimate test.

If you have a Hori Hori knife, how have you got on with it? I would love to find out.

If you like this podcast then please leave a comment below. Don't forget to leave a review on your podcast service. You can also follow me on twitter or Instagram. Like us on facebook. If you want to drop me an email then click here.

Episode 333

Intro music

Hello and welcome to episode 333 of the veg grower podcast my names Richard and I am on a mission to grow as much of my own food as I can in my allotment and garden.

Coming up in just a moment I shall be discussing my new garden tool a hori hori knife. What is it well you’ll find out after the diary section.

Music fades

Its Tuesday the 16th June 2020 today I’m down on the allotment today and its just coming up to midday. Its getting a bit hot which is why I'm packing up and heading home. I did get down to the allotment quite early today or early for me anyway I got here about 8 o clock this morning. First task I tackled was planting out my sweet potatoes, a job I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. But yeah finally got them in the ground.

Nothing difficult about that just dug a hole and popped them out there pot and dropped them in. Really as easy as that. But to plant them I used my hori hori knife which I know I’m going to be talking about later on in this podcast. So I wont go into to much detail about what's going on there.

Now just to the top of the sweet potatoes

is where I had some of my brassicas. Now I got 2 areas where I’m goring brassica in. 1 in an entire bed down on the bottom half of my plot and this is at the very top of the main bed. I planted out a few brassicas here a while ago and these were kinda like my spare cabbages and plants. Some of them didn’t survive and some did.

So I had a few more cabbages in pots, which they've also gone into the ground. Again just trying to use up space, as and when it becomes available. I really don’t want to have space where noting grows at the moment.

So I followed that up with a good watering in and I will give them another good watering just before I leave today. The soil as I keep saying is dry on top but gets moist further down. And I will again be covering all these with some grass clippings, probably tomorrow if I get the chance. And that should help conserve more moisture as well.

After that I then weeded out my garlic bed

I’m going to be harvesting my garlic tomorrow because all the stems have gone yellow, they've started to flop over and I think its really time. They're not gonna grow anymore.

Unfortunately the leek rust has been the culprit at this time so that's caused a few problems. After that I continued doing a bit more weeding and then I went round all the edges on the lower half of my plot with my strimmer. Just to tidy things up around there.

I always think its amazing just how something as simple as going around with a strimmer, just tidies up many plots and just sort off bring it back into a better looking allotment plot.

Well that's what I've been up to today

Another very productive day and we are certainly cracking along with things on the plot at the moment and things are coming into life.

I’ve been noticing that my cherries are virtually ready for harvesting. My pear on my pear tree are growing and swelling as are my apples. So actually I gotta say things are looking so full and so full of excitement that I'm really pleased with what is happening.

But what have you been up to on your own allotment site or garden today please let me know

Birds tweet

Well I am pleased to have got my sweet potato into the ground finally but I put it off in order to ensure I had enough space for the plants to fit in. Although I had to remove some of my onions yesterday to fit them in and I really should weigh my onions to find out how much I harvested. All I know at the moment is that the onions I have harvested look pretty damn good.

To plant out my sweet potato I used my new Hori Hori knife which is what I thought ill talk about today.

So what is a Hori Hori knife?

Well, its a traditional Japanese garden tool sometimes referred to as a soil knife or weeding knife. The word hori actually means to dig in Japanese.

I ordered my hori hori knife from a company called Niwaki using there online shop. It cost me £24 plus £4 postage and packaging. Now I did notice on the website they are having stock issues which was the same when I ordered mine however mine did turn up with the eta period said on the website.

When it arrived it came in a cardboard envelope which when I opened it I was then expecting the knife to come in some sort of plastic packaging. Well i was wrong as soon as I opened up the cardboard envelope the knife had no further packaging except for the sheath. Which I got to say I really liked not having that extra packaging and the fact it comes it a cardboard envelope which can be composted is a big plus in my opinion.

So lets describe my hori hori knife.

It has a beech wood handle with a 7-inch carbon steel blade. It comes in a canvas sheath but this can be upgraded to a leather sheath should you prefer..

Down one side runs a blade the entire length and then about a third of the other side of the blade. This of course makes a great knife for cutting material.

The blade is then bevelled in a similar fashion to a small trowel which is one of the jobs that this tool can tackle.

Well today I tested this knife on the allotment.

The first task was to cut down some comfrey which this knife cut through pretty easily. I haven’t sharpened this knife since receiving it so I’m pretty impressed with sharpness out of the box.

Next I wanted to see if I could use this knife to plant out some of my plants and as I had to plant out my sweet potatoes this seemed like a great opportunity to test this out. Using the knife I dug a small hole big enough to fit the sweet potato plant root-ball in. Now you might know I am on a very hard clay soil which the makers do say that although this knife is tough it does have limits and hard clay might snap the knife. Well it didn’t snap today and actually it dug this hole out quite nicely. It wasn’t a quick tool for this job A trowel would have been faster and would have probably cleared the soil faster however the hori hori did do the job.


After that, I wanted to test the hori hori at weeding which is its principal aim. Now I know a machete is often used as a garden tool. I've seen that in action when I was in the Caribbean. So I used the technique I observed there to use. The knife basically becomes a hoe and chops the tops of any weeds away from the roots. Then the blade can be used to turn the soil into a tilth and it tackled these jobs pretty well. While a hoe does a faster job in a bigger area I found the hori hori much better at more intricate areas such as around my asparagus.

I also found the Hori Hori good at removing weeds with taproots such as dandelions. The knife was great at getting those roots out in one piece. By sliding down the side of the roots in the soil.

Overall I am pretty happy with my Hori Hori knife.

For years I have always carried my Wilkinson sword gardening multi-tool in my pocket. Which I have said before has been a great tool to always have on hand and has always meant those little jobs get done. I don’t see my Hori Hori replacing this tool. But I certainly see it as being useful to keep on my belt, when I'm on the allotment and in the garden. Another tool to have at hand.

After use I wiped the knife clean.tI do that with every tool I have anyway and this should stop rust eating the knife away. Long time care will be something to bear in mind. I'll keep the tool clean wiping down after every use. The manufacturers recommend using camellia oil over the knife. So as to keep the tool in great condition and hopefully last many years. How long will it last we shall find out?

Is it worth the money? Well, so far I have to say I am pleased with it. It looks like its built to last it feels sturdy and solid. More importantly, it does the job its meant to do.


Now if you have a Hori Hori knife how have you got on with it? If you are after getting one yourself you can find all the links on the blog post.

So get In touch you can email me Richard@theveggrowerpodcast.co.uk

Visit the website at www.theveggrowerpodcast.co.uk and leave a comment or you can find me on social media.

Thank you so much for listening today please take care and ill speak to you again next time

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