Monday, November 21, 2011

101 uses (well, 10) for a garden knife

I do love my garden knife.

It's the one thing I wouldn't be without. It was probably the best freebie I've ever been given in all the years I've been a garden hack.

It looks exactly like the one in the picture. I can't even remember which particular press event it was: just that those nice people at Marshalls (and here's my chance - even if they have had to wait several years - to give them the mention they were no doubt after in exchange for the freebie) included one in a goody bag.

But I realised the other day that I very rarely actually use mine for proper gardening. I don't do much T-budding (for which you'd need a finer knife anyway); I find secateurs more useful for things like dead-heading; and I don't bother chipping seeds.
Gardening knives, I've discovered, aren't really for gardening at all. Oh no - they're much more useful than that, which is why I have mine in my pocket at all times. Here's what they are for:
  • cutting up little bits of string for tying in sweetpeas (and beans, and peas, and achocha)
  • hoicking those bits of hair and string and wool and stuff out of the brush on the vacuum cleaner
  • gouging dirt out from under your fingernails
  • acting as a stand-in screwdriver to undo the cross-head bolts on greenhouse staging
  • ditto to tighten up the arms of your glasses when they come loose
  • slitting open compost bags
  • cutting x-shaped holes through planting membranes and into the tops of grow bags
  • prising out mud from the treads of gardening boots
  • going armed against potential thugs on the Underground while convincing police you're just a batty middle-aged gardener
What do you use yours for?


Su said...

What great uses! Especially love the vacuum cleaner one!

BTW, don't take it on the London Eye as they'll confiscate it and then make you queue up like a criminal to reclaim it - don't ask me how I know, it's a long story but caused much amusement to those around me!!!!

Helen said...

I have one of my grandfather's bone handled knives in my garden toolkit. In addition to all the things you mentioned ;^) I find it very handy for dividing perennials, especially those with thick or woody root systems.

The Constant Gardener said...

thanks Su, I'll remember that :D and one day I'll get the full story (can just see the newspaper headlines...)

Helen - I love inherited garden tools. I have a flat-tined iron fork I 'inherited' from an old gardener I once knew: still one of the best digging forks I've ever used. And one of the heaviest (and rustiest): but that's what makes it work so well, and anyway, that's the weight of history on the handle, I reckon.

Dard said...

Nice Post...Sharpening serrated or straight blade kitchen knives is relatively easy. Gardening or woodworking tools, on the other hand, can look a bit more challenging to sharpen, especially if you are not an experienced knife sharpener.
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VP said...

Confession time - I don't have a garden knife :o

It must mean I'm not a proper gardener :(

Perhaps Santa will take pity this year...

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