No matter what time of the year you are reading this article — if you have an existing garden, if you know exactly what the garden beds are and what garden tools you might need to process the soil — you have to learn more about such a device as a broadfork. In this article, we will take a closer look at the rules of use of a traditional broadfork, its characteristics, and reasons why this hand tool is better for digging than a range of other instruments. Promote your knowledge and survival skills, reading our post about this essential item of survival gear for long-term survival.
What Is A Broad fork?
The name of the broadfork speaks for itself: a broadfork is literally a broad fork, a tool used for the deep aeration of the beds — it helps your garden soil to stay in good condition. Well-prepared soils that are taken good care of, in a sense, guarantee that the crops and plants will manage to put down roots and will get all the materials required for their growth.
A broadfork is also called a “U-bar” or a “U-fork” sometimes. “Why “U-bar”?” — you might be asking. Originally, the name “U-bar” came from the shape of the letter “U.” The construction of a broadfork resembles this letter — its steel handles, attached to the base of the tines (that later go down into the soil), together create a look of a “U.”
If you are an experienced prepper or a gardener, you know that you should use the broad fork in the early spring or in autumn to loosen the ground by pulling the tines in it. Let us now take a closer look at the process of use of the traditional broadforks.
How Do I Use The Broadforks?
Usually, the broadforks are used in cases when your raised beds have been double dug at first. Otherwise, the ground might be unprocessed, full of compactions, or even contain the clay (the soil without clay is the perfect case for the tools like broadforks to use).
So, what is the technology behind using the broadforks? Generally, it is not hard work and does not require too much effort.
- Firstly, you should put the broadfork on the bed in a way so that the tines of the tool were above the soil.
- Secondly, grab the handles of the tool tightly.
- After that, you should push the tool into the ground by standing with one foot or both feet on the so-called beam. Use your weight to make sure the tines get deep into the soil. The tines vary in length a lot, but they have to break the rocks in the ground to make the soil loose enough to be able to feed the plants. Usually, the length of the tines varies from 10 to 15 inches. However, on the market, there are multiple models available now.
- Then, bend the tool in a way so that the soil got slightly up
- Pull the broadfork out of the bed
- Walk a couple of steps backward along the bed and repeat the operation
- Carry on getting the tines into your garden beds to loosen the soil on the entire row
What Are The Best Broadforks Available On The Market Today?
In a TEOTWAWKI situation or simply to grow proper harvest instead of eating scarce wild edibles, the knowledge is what boosts your survival chances. Loosening soil without special tools might be difficult. That is why humanity came up with several smart solutions. Depending on the amount of money you have, you can consider various models of tools broadly available for the middle class. In this section, we will consider a couple of examples of the broadforks for weeding.
1. Meadow Creature Broadfork
One of the most popular choices among gardeners is the Meadow Creature broadfork, coming in a range of models. You can check the Meadow Creature website to get acquainted with numerous options they suggest.
The Meadow Creature broadfork units are considered to be one of the most trustable and reliable options. That is why their price is quite higher than the usual price on such a tool. The Meadow Creature devices cost from 180 dollars to approximately 400 dollars on the market, with the handle length up to 48″. These examples can sink into the ground on 16″, processing the soil without damaging it.
This is probably the cheapest example of a broadfork on the market, available both online and offline. You can cart add this broadfork, and it will only cost you something about 80 dollars. Here is the link to broadforks for you to take a closer look.
It has a rather long handle, approximately 55″ long, and a wide head with a width equal to 20.25″. Use this head to place your foot on it to push the device into the soil.
From the health point of view, this option is the best one. But, it is rather expensive, especially in comparison to the previous model. The DeWit Grenilnette Galvanized broadfork costs 180 dollars for one unit. Click here to learn more details about the device.
The last but not the least device on our improvised list is a LAM landfork. It is 50 dollars cheaper than the previous tool. But it does not mean it is worse in use. Otherwise, this device is probably a more durable and strong solution. The materials the manufacturers use to create this landfork are rather long-lasting, so you can count on this tool and stay calm about it for years.
With a 48″ long handle and 14″ wide head, you can consider this broadfork a reliable helper in your garden affairs. Here you can get acquainted with all details concerning the model.
Advice For The Newcomers
If you are new in the homestead garden, and you feel like you lack experience in the topic, we prepared a couple of pieces of advice for you on how to choose an appropriate broadfork.
Pay attention to the following points to avoid potential troubles with the devices:
- Check the overall ergonomics.
We understand that word “ergonomics” is rather broad and might include very different things, but we suggest you take a closer look at the handle and the “beam.” The handles must be comfortable to hold since you will have to work with this “cultivating hand machine” for hours.
- Straight VS curved solutions
As you most likely already know, there are two key shapes of the broadforks: the curved ones and the straight ones. Make sure you know in what condition your soil is: when it is soft, the curved one will work better for you; otherwise — pay attention to the straight broadfork.
- The broadfork size matters
The size of the broadfork is going to depend on two main characteristics: your body size and the size of the beds you will be processing. Do not choose a too big or too small unit — keep in mind that you will be spending a lot of time with it when the season comes.
The Final Word
Besides all the survival gear you possess, certain survival hacks are a great asset for the survivalist. Having a broadfork has plenty of advantages, starting from soil nutrients preservation and finishing with general body health support. Choosing the broadfork for gardening, do not forget that the device has to be reliable and comfortable at work!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a broadfork used for?
A broadfork is a device used by gardeners to process the soil. If you want cultivated plants to grow on your beds (such as carrots, potatoes, and many others) and not only the grass, you have to take care of your garden, add compost and loosen the beds. The latter task is performed by the broadforks — the amazing helpers in the garden.
What can I use instead of a broadfork?
The broadforks are indeed a smart and plant-healthy solution, and yet, others prefer to use a tiller to process the soil. You can choose a tiller if you feel like you are not much into the handwork or if you get tired quickly. However, a broadfork is considered to be a safer and healthier solution for the soil than the tiller.
How much does a broadfork cost?
The prices on broadfork generally are quite various. You can find the cheapest examples that cost approximately 80 dollars, or you can pay attention to the more expensive ones, whose price usually comes up to 400 dollars. Check such sites as Market Gardener or Johnny’s Selected Seeds to learn more about possible options for these garden devices.
How long are the tines on a broadfork?
The tines on the broadforks vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some of them are rather short, having a length of less than 10″, whereas the other options suggest relatively long tines more than 15″ long. Choose the broadfork that meets your expectations to be satisfied with the results it gives you.