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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?

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