A soil knife is a handy tool

My soil knife is one of the handiest tools I own. With it tucked into its sheath by my side, I’m no longer guilty of abusing other

hand tools.

The beauty of the soil knife is that it’s designed to dig, cut and saw. Before I had it, I’d been known on occasion to commit such

atrocities as digging out a weed with a hand pruner, grabbing two screwdrivers off my husband’s workbench to separate roots when

dividing perennials, or even prying out a rock with garden shears. I knew better but just couldn’t help myself; when I saw

something that needed doing, the temptation to use whatever tool I had at hand was too great to resist.

My Leonard Deluxe Soil Knife has a 6-inch stainless steel blade, designed to withstand 300 pounds of pressure. Something like a

cross between a knife and a trowel, it’s great for a wide range of garden chores. You can use it to make a furrow for seeds, dig a

planting hole, dig out a weed, or pry out a rock. Plus, there’s a tapered slicing edge that’s handy for dividing plants. When the

cutting gets tough, I depend on the blade’s razor-sharp, deeply serrated side to easily saw through dense masses of roots.

I’ve also used the point of the knife to scrape out weeds growing in the cracks between concrete, stone and bricks.

If I don’t have garden scissors with me, the notch in the blade comes in handy for cutting twine.

Depth markings on the blade from 1 to 6 inches can be useful, especially when planting bulbs, although gardeners usually get pretty

good at estimating depths on their own.

When I’m working in my garden I’m thinking about plants, not ergonomics. Nevertheless, I’m sure the rounded grip and molded thumb

rest make the knife more user friendly.