Hori-Hori Digging Tool

Hori-Hori Digging Tool

If I had to choose a favorite tool for foraging and gardening, the Japanese garden knife known as the hori -hori would be my first choice. The Japanese name hori-hori translates as “dig-dig”. This knife was originally used to harvest sansai (mountain vegetables) in the woods and mountains of Japan.

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A hori-hori has a sharpened edge on one side and a serrated edge on the other. The sharp point allows the knife to easily get into dirt whether on the forest floor or in the garden. Unlike a normal knife, the hori-hori has a concave blade which acts as a trowel to remove dirt. The serrated edge cuts through roots beautifully. The engraved depth markings are helpful in gauging the depth of small holes for planting. hori2

Hori-hori’s come in two steels, carbon steel and stainless steel. In general, when hardened and tempered properly, carbon steel will take a better edge than stainless steel. Stainless steel resists rust much better than carbon steel but is a little more expensive. Carbon steel knives need greater care after they get wet; they need to be wiped clean and oiled. I cannot tell from the various websites that sell hori-hori’s what quality of carbon steel is used and how well they will hold up over time when used outdoors. So, my vote is to go with the stainless steel version. A good hori-hori uses thick steel and will not bend when prying out roots or dirt. Poor quality knives will bend and crease. The knife I like is the Green Top made by Joshua Roth. Most hori-hori’s come with a sheath that has a belt loop. Some sheaths are plastic and some thin leather.

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Prices range from about $20.00 to $50.00.

Whether you are foraging in the woods or gardening, this is a tool that you will use over and over again.

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