Well, how far back would you like to go? The word is that the Korean Ho-Mi has been around for at least several centuries, and maybe even from as far back as the Bronze Age !
The Ho-Mi is the standard hand tool of the Korean village farmer and is so common there that one Korean writer says “To Koreans who live in the countryside, homi are like air. That is to say, they have always been a ubiquitous presence around village homes, and in the hands of the elderly women who typically work Korea's small-scale farms.”
More recently, the Ho-Mi has become popular in the West, where it has been given alternative names such as ‘E-Z Digger’, ‘Ibis Hoe’ and ‘Korean Hand Plough’. It is also known to some as the ‘Kin-Shori’. There have also been a few imitations - usually expensive!
Many gardeners who have tried using the Ho-Mi have become enthusiastic users, saying things like “ I have not met another gardening tool that I have been this delighted with. Now, instead of dragging a tote full of hand-tools out to the garden, I just pick up my trusty ho-mi and I'm set for just about anything.”
Michael Plane of Gundaroo Tiller in Australia, who introduced us to Ho-Mi, advised his customers never to lend their Ho-Mi to gardening friends, because he said: ‘they will never get them back . . .’
What can you use your Ho-Mi for? “Any gardening task that you do on your hands and knees” is a simple way to answer that question!
Weeding . . . breaking up lumpy soil . . . mixing in compost or fertilisers . . . opening and covering over seed drills . . . transplanting bulbs and seedlings . . . loosening soil . . . thinning plants . . .
Robust and Comfortable to Use for Hours
The Ho-Mi is made from one piece of hand-forged steel, firmly fitted into a wooden handle. It is very tough, light, well-balanced and used on the pull-stroke, making it easy on the wrist and good for those suffering with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
For those who want a long-handled version, we also supply the Large and ‘Ambi’ Ho-Mi blades without handles but with a simple copper ferrule and full instructions for fitting to a broom handle with standard Araldite adhesive (not ‘Rapid’). You will need to do some simple drilling, trimming and gluing.
Because each Ho-Mi is hand made, no two are totally identical. Please don’t expect a glossy, slick and highly-polished tool. The Ho-Mi’s peasant origins are very clearly visible in its simple, hand-crafted lines.