On new garden tools

I have said it before:  in matters of taste, there is no argument (De gustibus non est disputandum).

Now having said that, let me tell you about something I like!

All tools are personal things.  What works for you won’t work for me, and vice-versa.  And after early experiences, I have long maintained a Do Not Buy policy for my own garden toolshed.  I learned that I was wasting my money AND precious tool-storage space by succumbing to every short-handled tool whim.  I always used what I liked, and what I liked was never the new-fangled thingy I thought I needed to have.

Well!  After years of coveting, I broke my rule and bought this tool.

It does look positively murderous:  like the game of Clue, Mr. Green did it in the garden with the Korean Ho-mi!

It is the BOMB.  Seriously.  I have never planted potatoes faster, or planted peas with such ease.  Like all new things, you need to learn how to use it.  My only criticism is that the handle is overly large.  I purchased it from the stalwart folks at A.M. Leonard:  I can only guess (if it was they who made it that is) that those swarthy Germanic Ohio boys have bigger hands than my dainty blistered Irish ones…and certainly my hands aren’t much smaller than those gardeners of peninsular eastern Asia, from whence the design comes.  No matter.  There still is no ONE garden tool I turn to, and this one isn’t it either, so the diameter of the handle doesn’t bother me enough to have it changed.

I am glad to have added it to the collection.  And, goodness knows, it does look intimidating.  I think we can all agree about that.

19 responses to “On new garden tools

  1. What an interesting tool, I can’t say I have ever seen one before. It does look a bit dangerous.:)

  2. Yes, I’ve used the Japanese version. A very deft tool, indeed.

  3. Look how gorgeous your hoophouse beds are already!

    So what does that thing do? Make furrows? General hand-hoeing? Asian garden tools are very clever. I’m all over the Japanese digging knife I gave Mary for her birthday last year and have taken to borrowing frequently. It’s the best thing for unearthing ramps without wrecking the whole clump. She has found it handy for desodding.

    I guess thousands of years of trying to get the most from very little shapes a culture right down to the tools.

    Cheers~ Brett

  4. That looks like a tool that would be only useful for the right-handed. I have been burned on that before with fancy asian garden tools, alas. So pretty and so useless for the southpaws. 😦

    • Funny, Laura: my other minor beef with it was that it’s not reversed for we right-handed folks! But now that you mention it, none of my favorite tools are “handed,” except maybe this one. I think you’d get used to it more quickly than me…

  5. My mother-in-law gave me her old one last year, and I love it! I planted my potatoes a couple of days ago and it made the process very easy indeed.

  6. Wow sister! Do your beds look great! I’m jealous!

    Yeah,yeah- the tool is nice. Might try one some day.

    I’m still drooling over your lettuces and onions…..

  7. I JUST BOUGHT ONE 2 WEEKS AGO! LOVE IT!!!! I don’t know how I got along without it.

  8. Wow. That’s one mean looking tool. I want one.

  9. Oh, yeah. I got this Japanese hand hoe from Johnny’s six years ago and now have four (I have the kids use em too). I plant, hill, and weed with it. It would be hard to go out in the garden without it. Now if I could just never leave it in out in the rain again…

  10. I bought this tool several seasons back now and it is my favorite all time tool. I use it exclusively. It’s like a hot knife through butter when weeding or turning the soil in my raised beds! I love love love it!!!

  11. That’s a great recommendation. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Mike! You would LOVE it. Really. You do a lot of digging!

    Ed, thanks for the confirmation. And yeah, Japanese, Korean: I am not sure whom to believe as to where the thing comes from. Then I hear the dumb voice of a professor in my past saying “all good design is universal.” Harrumph.

    Brett, exactamundo on the culture shaping culture thing. Can’t agree more. Yeah, I have two hori-horis too; they’re my favorite tool mostly because they fit nicely in the screwdriver pocket of my gardening pants. And yeah they look lethal too. But this new tool digs very well, and does a better/quicker job weeding short-rooted clumps of weeds than the knife does. And: potato digging! Quick! But the greenhouse contents? Lettuces getting too big! I am actually at the tipping point where I am ripping things OUT of the beds. Goats LOVE greenery.

    Laura, really. It took me a while to get used to it so I am sure you’d go through the same process, southpaw or no.

    Cheryl, thanks for the confirmation! Whee!

    Paula, hah. Again, the things are getting a bit TOO big in there. The sorrel always goes to seed at this time of year but almost everything else has been served eviction notices. I am actually doing a fine business selling salad at $2 a bag. But the goats are getting a lot of it too.

    CC, it’s like finding a spatula that all of a sudden makes your work 50% easier.

    Liz! Yep! I am beginning to think the same thing!!!

    Maybelline, indeed. It does have a pointy point so just watch it.

    Mac, there’s that…the leave-tools-out thing. It’s one of the reasons I have two of those garden knives I mentioned. Someone smart said I should paint the wood handles light blue so I could find them more easily.

    Diane! Thanks for commenting, especially since you’re also a big fan of these things. I thought it might be too tough for us weeny girly girls but honestly it’s a huge advantage.

    Stefani, put it on your wish list. Mother’s Day isn’t far away!

  13. Hee hee..having just returned from Seoul, I am tickled to see you singing the praises of a Korean garden implement 🙂

    I was actually thinking of you on our trip – there are greenhouses EVERYWHERE, all along the highway from the airport into Seoul. Row upon row of them; I wish I’d gotten a picture. Seems like a much better use of highway lands than crown vetch, eh?

    It also seemed like every little scrap of land, even next to an off-ramp, was dug and ready for the spring growing season. I didn’t find out who’s responsible for all that growing – the greenhouses looked commercial, but I wonder who gets the little hand-dug plots?

  14. I got a Korean hoe as a wedding shower gift 7 years ago. LOVE IT. I actually bought 2 more on close-out last year so that I’ve got extras for the days I have garden helpers. Well, and so that I can always find one since I’m less than organized… 😉

  15. Karen, how exciting! I hope you enjoyed your trip; that would be a fun one for eating, certainly. And as for the greenhouses, yeah, if you’re producing food for your own country it’s definitely the way to go. And I think those little plots are just an indication that the culture hasn’t lost its food-growing tradition, whereas we idiots in the States have decided that grocery stores are a better and easier source of food, goodness knows we don’t need to get our knees and hands dirty this way. I am reminded of all the little plots around “waste” areas of Minneapolis, near on ramps especially, that the Hmong people used for growing their own. Gorgeous little plots too.

    Laura, hah! Good to know you’re also a devotee. And yeah, I know what you mean about always being so terribly organized. It is an effort, a big one. Good luck with your season!

  16. They are indeed a great tool. I first saw them a couple of years ago at a permaculture course and I bought one soon afterwards. They’re sturdy and versatile. Yours looks the same as mine (I’m in Australia) and I think they are fully imported from Korea. I’m left-handed and I can see that it may suit a right-handed person slightly better, but it’s still a great tool for lefties.

    Regards, Gary

    • Thanks, Gary. You know, I was using the tool this morning to plant onions and I dug the trenches with my left hand: I honestly think the tool is just weird and it doesn’t matter which hand you use, it takes some time to acclimate to it! Which is quite fine considering how darned handy it is. Thanks for commenting! I love learning about new families doing this homesteading thing.

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