A dibber or dibble or dibbler is a pointed wooden stick for making holes in the ground to plant seeds, seedlings or small bulbs. Dibbers come in an assortment of designs including the straight dibber, T-handled dibber, trowel dibber, and L-shaped dibber.
I seem to have become a collector of dibbers. The large dibber in the photo was made long ago by my dad from a recycled spade handle. I think he liked it for potato planting. The classic T shape dibber is my most useful; it’s useful to have a handle to grip onto to make it easier to apply pressure and create consistent hole depth, the wooden ones without handles are good for ‘up close’ planting although a pencil may be almost as appropriate as the tiny one. The tin one is most appealing to look at.
The dibber was first recorded in Roman times and has continued mostly unchanged since. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, farmers would use long-handled dibbers of metal or wood to plant crops. One man would walk with a dibber making holes, and a second man would plant seeds in each hole and fill it in. From the 14th to the 17th centuries dibbers became a manufactured item, some made of iron for planting in harder soils and clay.