What is a broad fork?
The broad fork, also known as a hand tiller, is a wonderful tool to have for breaking up hard pan and aerating soil. Built from salvaged steel tubing and tines formed from vehicle coil springs, the broad fork is built for heavy duty use in the garden. This is an excellent choice for market gardeners, urban farmers or serious hobby gardeners to turn up lots of soil quickly. Crafted with longevity in mind, all the pieces that go into making it are chosen specifically for their durability and quality. The handles are made from carefully selected ash and oriented in such a way as to minimize the chance of them snapping from prolonged use. The handle sockets and crossbar are thick-walled steel tubing that won’t warp or bend and the tines are made from very tough and durable spring steel. Finally, the entire tool is finished with a mixture of boiled linseed oil and turpentine to protect it from the elements. Applying a thin coat of oil at the end of each growing season before putting the tool into storage will ensure the wood stays flexible and the steel free from rust.
Why use a broad fork?
Rototillers of all shapes and sizes till the soil to a maximum depth. Repeated tilling at the same depth, as is typical for spring and fall preparation, eventually creates a hard, almost concrete-like layer that prevents drainage and plant roots from penetrating deeper into the ground. The broad fork, with it’s long, 11.5″ tines, pierces that hard layer and breaks it up, improving the quality of the soil. Like machine tilling, this needs to be done only once or twice a year to maintain excellent soil and growing conditions for your plants.
Why is this a broad fork “pro”?
This heavy duty version is built specifically with urban farmers in mind. The base width of the fork is 29″, the commonly used size for vegetable beds. With six tines that reach nearly a foot into the ground, this is guaranteed to make quick work of turning a bed. The tines themselves are made from high carbon steel, specifically from the coil springs found in vehicle suspension units. This makes for an especially durable, springy metal that will hold up to heavy work loads. The ends are heat treated and tempered to keep their edges for much longer than mild steel, making quick work of tilling.