Extension Master Gardeners Share their Favorite Tools

Compiled by Susan Wilhelm, Extension Master Gardener

Gardening is easier and more fun when using the right tool for the job. EMGs shared some of their favorites in response to an informal survey.

Digging, planting, and weeding tools are high on EMGs’ lists of favorite garden tools – with the hori-hori knife mentioned more than any other.

  • Hori-Hori Knife

    My hori-hori knife is my go-to tool for digging small holes for planting, weeding, and cutting.

  • My hori-hori knife (the name means “dig-dig” in Japanese) can penetrate almost any soil. The ridged side cuts through roots. The slimness means I can use it in tight spaces. It’s the best tool for removing onion grass with the bulb attached!

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Between the Rows – September Edition

Welcome veggie gardeners! 

It’s time to check out the September VCE Garden Guide for vegetable and herb gardening!

VCE supports local gardeners with a host of resources, including free classes, plant clinics and this newsletter. Want to know more? Subscribe here to receive future editions.

All the garden guides are available at VCE Garden Guide under Resources on the MGNV site.

VCE Garden Guide - Between the Rows


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TREE: Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Cercis canadensis flowers on branches.

In April, copious flower clusters hugged the trunks and branches of Cercis canadensis at the demonstration Quarry Shade Garden. Photo © 2019 Leslie Fillmore.


On August 29, an abundance of maturing legumes dangled from the branches of Cercis canadensis in front of the Fairlington Community Center. Photo © 2019 Mary Free.

Did you know that Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) exhibits cauliflory? This is when flowers and fruit are produced directly on the trunks and branches rather than on new growth or the ends of shoots. In Bon Air Park’s Quarry Shade Garden this spring, the redbud dotted with fuchsia flower clusters demonstrated cauliflory in spectacular fashion. At the Fairlington Community Center, the redbud tree in front of the Arlington County office of  Virginia Cooperative Extension also displays this trait with an abundance of legumes dangling from its branches.

More information . . .

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Garden Myth Busters! Compost Tea

By Rachel Vecchio, Extension Master Gardener & Kirsten Conrad, VCE Extension Agent

THE MYTH: Compost tea suppresses pathogens and enriches garden soil.

THE REALITY: In recent years, compost tea has been touted as the be-all-to-end-all for healthy soil, capable of increasing plant health and yield, and suppressing plant disease. Is it possible that something that is so easy to make can be that fabulous?  Continue reading

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