There will doubtless be impassioned arguments from all sides (okay we may be slightly overestimating gardeners’ devotion and zeal when it comes to tools), but the most-used and most-loved tool among the gardeners we know — both home gardeners and pros — is the digger. If you prefer a lightweight wooden handle and Japanese artistry, go for the hori-hori knife; if you want something a bit heavier and American-made, opt for the Professional Gardener’s Digger; or if you prefer a European blade, the Dutch serrated “Farmer’s Dagger” looks like it was made by an ancient Skandish blackmith…because it was (DeWit is a 4th-generation company that’s been making tools for more than a century).
Diggers can dig (obviously), making them handy for gouging out stubborn weeds, making holes for planting starts and bulbs, and furrowing grooves for planting seeds. The serrated blade is effective at hacking through stubborn roots and wayward limbs, and for cutting twine for securing vines and strawy branches. Diggers can’t do every job, but they can sure do a lot — and unlike a hoe or even a trowel, they take up about as much space as a bread knife. Plus you’ll feel like a warrior wearing the leather holster on your belt. A good digger makes a great gift for a beginning gardener or for yourself.