Our favorite tool around Stonebridge Farm is the hori, a 12”-long, wooden-handled tool with a sturdy blade that comes to a dull point and is serrated along one edge. Japanese in origin, its name hori hori translates as “dig dig,” and that’s one of the tasks this tool is perfect for in the garden when you need smaller holes for transplanting vegetable or flower starts.
We also love a hori for hand-weeding small emerging weeds, furrowing a line for seeds, or digging out the roots of taller weeds like thistles or mullein. At around $35 apiece, horis are an investment but well worth it. Just be sure to wrap the handle with brightly colored tape in case you lay it down in tall grass. When we head out to the fields with a crew, we always bring our bucket of horis because chances are, we’ll need them, no matter what the task.
A heavy rainstorm delighted us with inches of moisture last night, so today was the perfect time for working in the gardens. I used my hori to dig out clumps of grass in the roses, weed small thistles from the herb garden, and transplant errant shoots of spearmint into a sparse bed that winter temperatures and small rodents had diminished.
Late June is wonderful for taking stock of the fields because by now you can see what has germinated, what needs replacing, what needs thinning, and what needs weeding. All the high summer crops—tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, cucumbers, and summer squash–have been seeded or transplanted into long beds and are loving the moisture from the rain. That means the weeds do too, but at this moment, with everything green and fresh, even the weeds are part of the verdant landscape and seem less threatening now than in July’s dry heat.
I dreamed recently of watching a tiny plant stalk growing outward, unfurling a new green shoot right before my eyes, like a time-lapsed film but in real time instead. I’ve noticed many such signals lately, all telling me that my decision to quit a job I’ve nurtured for 17 years is the right one. At 52, it’s time to take my hori and head to new fields and interests. I’m digging in fertile ground again, not knowing exactly what I’ll harvest but eager to see what will grow here.