One of the most important tools on our farm is the broad fork. Choosing a garden fork…easy right? I mean, all you have to look for is a garden fork that is well made by a reputable company and you’re done. Well…maybe not. What kind of work are you asking your garden fork to do?
Tips for Choosing a Broad Fork
A broad fork is essentially an extended digging fork with several long tines on the bottom, two long handles to hold on to, and a bar to stand on that connects it all. By standing on that bar, sinking the tines into the ground and pulling back you can either flip or loosen the soil with relative ease. The broad fork is generally employed for a wide array of tasks including plowing, harvesting, soil aeration and even tilling. It’s a great tool to have around, and it has many possibilities for use on the small farm.
The soil is composed of layers that actually accomplish important purposes to just till it all up destroys those benefits. Thus, the broad fork. Working your soil with a broad fork will not allow dormant weed seeds, which are hidden in the depth of your soil, to come close to the soil surface and germinate.
While at first glance, many garden forks look the same but take a little closer look and you’ll see the differences. So, what types of “garden forks” are there? Let’s see, there are, Digging, Spading, Garden, Manure, Compost.
Garden Forks – This is the fork you want if your soil is undisturbed, clay or otherwise tough, hard soil. The garden fork has four long, super strong tines that end with sharp points for easy soil penetration.
Digging and Spading Forks – These forks are usually a little lighter in weight and have four triangular shaped tines with a flat facing the front of the fork for lifting.
Potato Forks – There can be a little confused with what is a ” potato fork ” as different garden tool makers call a completely different looking fork a ” potato fork “. Some look just like a digging or spading fork with the flat-faced tines for lifting the potatoes from the soil.
Border Forks – These forks are just smaller versions of the workhorse garden fork. Despite their smaller size, these border forks are hard working garden tools.
Compost Fork – The compost fork or pitchfork usually has four or more long slender, pointed tines that are turned up slightly for scooping or moving loose material without bending. Great for turning your compost pile or moving loose materials.
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