If you are serious about organic gardening, a broadfork is a tool you should consider adding to your gardening tools collection.

Most gardeners will choose to get out the old garden tiller to prepare new ground for planting or for adding amendments to an existing garden plot, but to adhere to the customary advice of loosening the soil to a depth of 12″ before planting, this task is best handled with a broadfork rather than a tiller.

A broadfork is simply a typical garden fork on steroids. It usually has longer, heavy-duty tines and two handles–one on each side of the fork. It is sometimes called a “U-bar digger.”

The Broadfork

The Broadfork

The Broadfork – Why Use One

There are several reasons why a broadfork is better than a garden tiller for preparing soil for planting.

  1. A rototiller can kill beneficial fungi and worms in the soil.
  2. A garden tiller can upset soil layers and cause hard-pan layers in some soils. It is best not to mix the soil layers because some of the beneficial organisms prefer to live at the surface, while others prefer deeper places in the soil.

    A broadfork will allow you to loosen the soil without disturbing the various soil layers.

  3. A tiller can introduce excess oxygen into the soil and cause your valuable compost to oxidize at faster than normal rates.
  4. A broadfork works in wet soil where tillers will not.

The Broadfork in Action

The Broadfork – Resources

As you can see, a broadfork is a pretty handy tool to keep your garden healthy from an organic stand point. As a couple of seasons pass and you add compost and organic matter to your garden plot, your garden will be easier to prepare at planting time. A broadfork is a great tool for someone who is wanting to grow vegetables organically.

If you are interested in getting your very own broadfork, you can get one through Gulland Forge or Red Pig Tools. Either broadfork is extremely well made.

Filed under: Organic Gardening

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