The opinions on broadforks seem to be very divided, some people use them as an essential part of their gardening, others say they are overrated.
I think these opinions have a lot to do with the soil they're working with, and if there are any back problems to consider. I imagine that very stony soil would be tricky to use a broadfork with. For people who can use normal short-handled tools without back damage, they probably can't imagine just how good it is for someone that can't use normal forks to have a tool they can use without pain.
I like mine a lot. I chose a very strong one which looks similar to the Meadow Creature but is made closer to where I live. One day, I might get a 7 tine one for quickly working established beds, but for now I am working with compacted soil, and a smaller 5 tine broadfork is great for that.
I use mine for opening up my heavy and compacted soil to help roots go down, for loosening soil before digging a hole, and I can use it as a small-scale chisel plough to improve pasture and perennial plantings. It is an essential part of the way I homestead on this land.
What are your thoughts on broadforks? Do you use one? What do you use it for?
we use ours for, digging in general, we dig our root vegetables with them. We have 3 tine forks and some 5 tine forks. The 3 we use mostly in the garden to either turn soil over or to dig root vegetables out. The 5 tine one we use mostly for turning compost, cleaning the goat pens, shovelling sawdust/woodchips.
I would use a normal shovel for digging a hole for a tree, or to excavate a drain. somewhere where i need to move soil out of the spot i am digging in.
Living off-grid 20 acre farm, with goats, chickens and pigs and nature with a bodacious garden
I don't have one personally, like scythe it is just for folks with different soil and terrain.
However I love the idea. Both broadfork and scythe and great tools for the area they are usefully in.
"Where will you drive your own picket stake? Where will you choose to make your stand? Give me a threshold, a specific point at which you will finally stop running, at which you will finally fight back." (Derrick Jensen)
I've had one for a couple of years and my experience has been mixed. It's been great for renovating existing beds that I haven't dug since forming them (and don't want to dig again, because I'm a no-dig kind of guy). But our land is rocky, a former river channel, with varying sizes of stones from gravel to 30 cm boulders at a range of depths from the surface to over 1m down. If one of the tines hits a decent-sized rock, it usually bends, and even if it doesn't it means that section won't get broken up effectively. I might weld some gusset plates into the curved part of the tines to stiffen them and see if this helps, or I may sell it on to someone with easier soils and get a model with stiffer tines.
I love my Meadow Creature! We don't have rocks, but we do have roots that may as well be! I can use the broadfork to pull them up closer to the surface to get cut with a pruner or the grub hoe so they can get pulled out in pieces. Before the Creature we had to prep new planting areas with a pickaxe! This is much easier...and more fun
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