by Rob Peterson, Organic Farmer and Author, Maritime Northwest Garden Guide
A broadfork is a wonderful tool for tilling and aerating garden beds by hand. It allows you to deeply till your soil and break up compaction with neither the noise, pollution, fossil fuel consumption and compaction of power equipment, nor the strain on your body caused by double digging with smaller garden tools. It loosens the soil with minimal turning and mixing of soil strata.
How it works
The broadfork is like a pitchfork, but larger, heavier, and with longer tines. It is designed to use your body instead of your muscles. You stand on the tool, gently rocking and wiggling the tool to work the tines into the ground. Then pull back on the handles using your weight and the tool’s leverage. Your motion is a natural pulling and pushing, instead of bending and lifting.
Protecting soil structure
The working of the tool has many advantages. The length of the tines allow for deep loosening of the soil. The motion of the tool allows you to break up and loosen the subsoil with minimal turning–leaving the topsoil on top where it belongs, and minimizing destruction of soil structure.
It allows you to quickly prepare garden and farm beds by hand, even large areas, without straining your lower back.
Meadow Creature LLC’s broadforks are built tough enough to help with breaking up sod in new garden areas. You can use it (within limits) as a sturdy lever to pry up and turn large chunks of sod and also to carefully remove large stones.