Monday 20 February 2012

Ho-Mi on the Way!

From time to time over the years, we have heard about a traditional Oriental hand tool which many gardeners consider to be the most useful in their 'armoury' – the Korean Ho-Mi. It is used for a wide variety of everyday garden tasks, including hoeing, making and covering over seed drills, planting, weeding, digging and furrowing, and many gardeners have found that it seems to replace almost any other hand tool.  It has at least four other names in popular use: 'Ibis Hoe' in the UK, 'Kin-Shori', 'Korean Hand Plough/Plow', plus 'E-Z Digger' in the USA.

Now, thanks to our link with 'Gundaroo Tiller' in Australia, we are about to start importing 5 versions of the Ho-Mi from Korea. We thought you would like a 'sneak preview' before they show up on our website, so here they are:–

First, the 'Large' Ho-Mi, which is the standard size for all general use around the garden.  It is about 30 cm (12 inches) long and weighs about 300 g (10½ oz), so it is neither bulky nor heavy.  What it IS is TOUGH!  This is not some mass-produced, pressed steel toy, but a hand-made, hand-forged, one-piece tool that will last and last.  Because it is hand-made, no two are 100% identical, though obviously they are made to a standard pattern and each one is very similar. 

Next, the Small Ho-Mi, with a smaller blade but otherwise very similar to the Large Ho-Mi.  It is about 27 cm (10½ inches) long and weighs about 170 g (6 oz).  Ideal for working in smaller areas, small greenhouse beds, etc.

Then, something a little different, the 'Scraper' model.  Yes, it looks like a scraper, and you could certainly use it for scraping soil, but perhaps the main benefit is that this is an 'ambidextrous' Ho-Mi.  Some left-handed people (but certainly not all) find that using the Large or Small Ho-Mi is a little awkward because the blade is not symmetrical.  The 'Scraper' overcomes that problem with its double-pointed blade, and many gardeners (left-handed and right-handed) have found it very versatile for general use.

When Ho-mis became really popular with their customers in Australia, the folks at 'Gundaroo Tiller' extended their range to include Ho-Mi blades that could be attached to a long handle and used in a standing position.  Using them is very similar to using the Collinear Hoe, invented by Eliot Coleman, giving an effective hoeing action without stooping.  Here is the 'Large' Ho-Mi blade – weight 187 g, 6¾ oz.

Here is the 'Scraper' version without a handle, weight 149 g, 5¼ oz. 

Sending long-handled tools through the post is not very practical, so we plan to provide a simple kit with instructions so that you can fit your own Ho-Mi to a long handle.  This approach has proved very popular with Australian gardeners.

As you know, we always like to sell what we use, so we are trying out samples of the Ho-Mis ourselves while we wait for the first proper order to arrive, which will probably be in early April or so.

If you would like us to let you know as soon as we have stocks (and have been able to work out the prices!) please just send us an email with 'Ho-Mi' in the subject heading and we will email you just before we put them up on our website.

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