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Garden Scissors

By Rick Gush, Urban Farm contributor

Friday, November 4, 2011

garden scissors

Photo by Rick Gush

I can't live without my garden scissors!

Usually when I wax poetic about by my garden tools, I’m talking about sturdy, blacksmith-made shovels, picks and trowels that I can get here in Italy. Today, however, I’m going to laud one of my seldom-mentioned but often-used garden tools: my scissors.

Many other garden tools can be used instead, but scissors are safer. My hands have several little scars from my garden knives gone awry and a few big scars from my pruning shears, but I have absolutely no scars from my scissors. Garden scissors are also very inexpensive. I paid 32 euros for my latest pair of garden shears, but I only paid 1 euro for my pair of scissors.

Garden scissors are really good for harvesting lettuce and other soft things that need to be cut. With my garden scissors, I can easily cut a head of lettuce, cut squash off the vine or harvest herbs, such as marjoram and sage. Scissors are also great for harvesting flowers. I cut a small bouquet of roses with my scissors yesterday.

A pair of garden scissors is obviously a good tool for cutting twine and twist ties. I use a lot of green, plastic-covered wire to tie up plants in the garden and wrap bunches of herbs and flowers. I used the scissors to cut the twist-tie for supporting the peas yesterday, and I used the scissors for cutting ties for a bunch of herbs that I harvested today.

Scissors are, of course, a great tool for cutting stuff like plastic sheeting and shade cloth. It rained hard a few days ago, so I used my scissors the day before yesterday to cut up some old plastic cement bags to make protective wrapping for a half sack of special cement that came in a paper sack.

Scissors are good for poking holes in shade cloth to allow cord to be attached, and they are also good for opening cardboard boxes of snail meal and opening sacks of concrete. Scissors are also good for light pruning in the garden, and I use them almost every day to keep my rambunctious start jasmine trellis looking nicely trimmed. Back when I had a lot of bonsai plants, I had a whole suite of expensive Japanese shears, but the pruning tool I used most often was my regular pair of scissors.

Perhaps the best but least-frequent use of scissors in the garden is for thinning seedlings. I have great trouble seeding sparsely, so everything from radishes to carrots and peas tend to germinate and become a bit crowded in my garden, and none of those do well unless the plants are spaced properly. So, I need to do a lot of seedling thinning.

In my youth, I used to pinch the seedlings with my fingers or pull out the unwanted baby plants, but pulling out seedlings often causes root damage to neighbor seedlings, whose roots are intertwined with the seedlings being removed. Once I discovered using scissors for thinning seedlings, I never went back to the other method.

Scissors are the absolute must-have garden tool for your garden.

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Most of the time the simple anwser is the best.
Carl, Livermore, CA
Posted: 1/10/2012 12:58:08 PM
I completely agree. I keep a pair on my belt when I'm in the garden, on my potting table and in my tool carrier. A lot of times knives just don't cut it. You need finer control or a larger cut or a snip. Knives don't snip. Harvesting microgreens or greens for a salad is a breeze with a pair of scissors.
Bruce, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 11/16/2011 7:24:00 AM
Rick, I whole heartily agree. Scissors are most used tool of the garden. I'm not sure why I haven't bought a pair just for the garden. I keep using the kitchen scissors and now that you have reminded me about just how handy it would be to have a pair in a belt pouch, I will acquire a pair very soon. The cutting of lettuce or the snipping of produce goes so much better with scissors. Thanks for reminding me to go get some. Have a great day in the Italian garden.
David, Omaha, NE
Posted: 11/6/2011 5:19:14 PM

About the Blogger

Rick Gush

Rick Gush
Rick Gush has long been a staunch organic gardener. While a student at the University of California at Davis he worked at local tomato and sugar beet farms and continued in the agricultural and horticultural industries for many years. A career move in the 1990s led him to design computer games, but no matter how much of a techie he’s become, gardening and farming remain his principal passions.

In 2000, Rick moved to Italy, where he writes to you about his cliff garden and other experiences in Italian urban agriculture.

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