Choosing a garden fork...easy right? I mean, all you have to look for is a garden fork that is well made by a reputable company and you’re done. Well...maybe not. What kind of work are you asking your garden fork to do?
While at first glance, many garden forks look the same, but take a little closer look and you’ll see the differences. So, what types of “garden forks” are there? Let’s see, there are, Digging, Spading, Garden (English), Border, Compost, Potato, Broadfork and many more specialty forks.
OK...now that we’re really confused with so many types, let’s take a look at what type of work each fork is made to do and hopefully this helps you land the perfect garden fork.
Digging Fork - The digging fork typically has strong thinner square tines and is great for turning undisturbed soil for a new garden or bed. They can also be used for many of the same chores as a garden fork.
Garden Fork - The most popular garden fork has four flat tines with a flat facing the front of the fork for lifting. With their flat-faced tines, these forks are good for digging in loamy, sandy or loose soil, aerating, mixing in nutrients, turning your soil in the spring and harvesting potatoes and other root vegetables.
Border Fork - The border fork is usually just a smaller head size version of the garden fork and is becoming very popular.
Compost Fork - The compost fork has long thin tines and is made for lifting light weight materials such as compost (not made for digging).
Broad Fork - This monster fork had two long handles attached to a wide fork with many tines. It is used to turn undisturbed soil for a new garden. If you’ve got a lot of soil to turn, this is the beast to do it.
Potato Fork - The potato fork has a wide head with tines spaced close together. The tines usually have blunt ends so as not to damage the potatoes during harvest.
As with all garden tools, what might be right for me may not work for you, so pick what works for your type of gardening. The forged tools may cost more initially, but the quality, strength, warranty and the fact that you’ll have a garden tool that you can pass down to the next generation far outweighs the cost. Plus, you’re not tossing a bent garden tool into the landfill every couple of years.
***Fork Head Size - Most people (including me) automatically choose the largest fork size they can buy. We think that we can get more done with the larger size, but in reality we're only tiring ourselves too sooner...not to mention the back pain involved using a large tool. Many gardeners have found that by using the smaller border size makes for a lot less back pain, less tiresome and more enjoyable gardening. -Just something for you to think about.