Three Simple Tools

By Mary H. Dyer | February 28, 2021
Image by okugawa
by Mary H. Dyer
February 28, 2021

I have three favorite tools. With these simple tools, I can take care of nearly every gardening task. All three are Japanese, and all allow me to weed, dig, poke, cut, hack, chop, prune, trim, plant, loosen, and cultivate. My “traditional” hoes, trowels, forks, and other tools rarely leave the tool shed. Here are my faves.

My Favorite Garden Tools

Nejiri Kama weeding sickle: This isn’t your familiar farmer-type sickle, but a small hand tool with a blade about 5 inches (13 cm.) long. The blade is sharp, and I can easily pull it over the surface of the soil to remove small, shallow-rooted weeds (like sandburs, which should never be removed by hand, even with gloves). Turned to its side, the tool is narrow enough to navigate in tight spots. The tip is pointy enough to create rows or furrows, and it can hack through tough weeds and compacted soil like a champ. 

Nejiri Gama weeding sickle: As much as I love the smaller tool, it still requires a lot of bending and stooping, which my titanium knees don’t always appreciate. So, I ordered the Nejiri Gama sickle which is basically the same as the Nejiri Kama sickle, but has a handle about 17 inches (43 cm.) long. It still requires a bit of bending, but fortunately I have a strong back. It works much like the smaller sickle, but it provides a lot more leverage. I use both sickles regularly.

Hori Hori gardening knife: You’ve probably seen these handy tools, which usually come with a sheath that hooks to your belt. One side of the knife is smooth and the other is serrated and sharp enough to trim small branches. The tip is semi-sharp, just right for digging out really stubborn weeds. I also use the knife for opening bags of fertilizer, mulch, or potting soil, and for planting seedlings. I hear the knife has a number of uses for camping and other outdoor activities, and I have no doubt it’s true. 

My house is in the high desert, and my yard was neglected for several years. I have a lot of weeds, and these are my go-to gardening tools.

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