Hand tools for the garden may have lots of uses or they may be for very specific jobs. Either way, the gardeners on staff here at West Coast Seeds have found some excellent tools to recommend.
The Cabbage Hop Knife was designed specifically for farm workers to harvest cabbages. Its thick plastic handle is incredibly durable and directs force from the arm and wrist right to the sharp metal tip. It's excellent for cutting thick stems close to the ground where they might be hidden by wrapper leaves.
Naomi Botkin manages our retail store, so she's in touch with a lot of local gardeners and farmers. She says, "I use this knife all the time while working on a small farm here in Ladner. Not only is it great for cutting the thick hidden stems of cabbage but also useful for harvesting broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and trimming the roots off lettuce and leeks. If kept sharp this tool makes harvesting simple."
The Pinebush Double Hoe is just the right size for a raised bed garden. It's great for breaking up compacted soil in the spring, and for creating hills and furrows for planting seeds and bulbs. The turned wooden handle is comfortable for extended use.
Ashley Braunhoffen is a keen gardener and a key member of our purchasing department. She says, "Great multi-purpose tool for loosening up soil, hilling up neat rows, yanking up deep roots, depressing small channels for placing seeds…this tool is a must-have in my gardening basket!"
People don't know what to make of the Garden Bandit at first sight, but then the testimonials speak for themselves. Light weight, but very sturdily built, this weeder cuts through the hardest soil, cutting weeds at the root, without damaging nearby plants.
Ashley says, "I don’t go out to the garden without it! It is such a simple tool to use for breaking up soil, ripping out deep roots and weeds, and I love to use it during the growing season to do spot weeding right up close to the base of my plants!"
The Hori-Hori Knife is one of the great all purpose garden tools. It's ideal for digging soil, cutting stems, and uprooting tough weeds. It's a no-nonsense hand tool that slides safely into the sheath and hangs on the belt.
Annie Johannessen is our Farm and Garden Coordinator. She says, "I find the Hori-Hori to be the best all-around tool you can have as a gardener. It’s easy to sharpen and maintain, and is best used for planting, transplanting, dividing, measuring depth, and weeding deeply rooted plants. I can find so many uses for it and because of this it’s always on my belt and is my most used tool."
Another tool designed for farm workers at harvest time. The Lettuce Knife is the ideal shape and size for getting under a mature lettuce and pushing the sharp blade through its stem.
Writer/photographer Mark Macdonald says, "This is one of the tools that just always comes out to the garden, even if we're not harvesting lettuce. But if you do want to harvest lettuce, there isn't a better tool that I know of. Holding the knife, 'sturdy' is the only way to describe it. I've been using the same knife for ten years, and it's so tough it hardly shows any wear."
Floral Snips are incredibly compact. Their small size means they can be carried everywhere, and they seem to stay razor sharp forever.
Naomi says, "I love packing these snips around the garden in my pocket or garden tote. They are great for cutting fresh flowers, dead heading, harvesting herbs, cucumbers, and tomatoes. They are compact and fit nicely in the palm of your hand and take little effort to use."
We all loved the simplicity and utility of the Garden Shear when it arrived. Its design is wonderfully simple, but it's perfect for jobs where repeated cutting is required. It is designed in a symmetrical manner, so that both left and right handed gardeners can use it.
Mark Macdonald says, "I really like that it's sprung to the open position. That makes one-handed cutting easier. I can cut with one hand and gather with the other, so it's great for the herb garden."
The Vintage Forged Bypass Pruner is built for a lifetime of gardening. It is literally constructed from two forged pieces that are held together with a strong pin. It would make a fine gift for someone just starting out on their gardening path.
Ideal for florists, the Trimmer Pruner is thoughtfully designed. The lightweight aluminum handles are sprung open, but can be closed with a simple clasp. The blade is very sharp, SK-5 Japanese steel, and it leaves a very clean cut.
Says Annie, "The Trimmer Pruner is very comparable to the well known, higher end brands of secateurs. These are smaller for lighter use, but they are great quality and easy to sharpen and clean. The materials are obviously well chosen and they don’t feel cheap. They can be used for trimming flowers, grasses, tomatoes. There's a more heavy duty version as well - the forged bypass pruners - which are just as nice quality and a good companion with these."