Maintaining soil structure — and the soil food web it supports — is such an important component of successful vegetable production that at our 2-acre market farm we avoid tools that penetrate more than a few inches into the soil’s surface. The one exception is the broadfork.
In recent years the broadfork has been popularized and you can now find different models that are quality made. Since it’s a tool we use a lot (it takes stamina to work a couple 100’ beds!) we prefer a wooden handle broadfork over heavier all-metal ones. I’d rather replace a broken shaft every couple years than spend a lifetime lifting extra weight... A good broadfork should also have forged steel tines for heavy-duty service.
In my experience:
- The one I prefer was designed and handcrafted to my liking and is sold by Dubois Agrinovation. It has 5, 9 1/2-inch tines shaped in 90° parabolic curves that greatly smothers the rowing motion. www.dubois.com
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds also offers several broadfork models that can accommodate different soil types. I’ve tried them all and would recommend any of them.www.johnnyseeds.com
- Finally, for new ground that is not yet loose enough or really rocky, I would use the people's broadfork form Meadow Creature. It's an all metal broadfork made for heavy duty broadforking. www.meadowcreature.com