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A garden fork does many jobs

Updated on June 20, 2014

Some garden tools are better than others because they can handle various jobs with ease. My garden forks find use everywhere in the overgrown garden that I am restoring.

Garden forks can be found in two styles - either with long slender teeth which are mainly meant to move stuff, like hay - or with strong and wide teeth that do a good job digging as well as hauling material.

My pitchforks have been doing ok, although they aren't meant for this kind of work. As project now moves into a stage where I intend to dig with a vengeance,  I have my eye set on adding a third fork to my tool rack- this time a spade fork with solid and wide tines (teeth). 

If you haven't got one, and keep wondering why digging is such hard work - maybe you haven't got the right tool. There is a reason why you will find a fork of some sort on every farm, since the middle ages up until today. It simply does so many jobs easier!

Of what use is a garden fork?

I have used mine to

  • recapture gravel paths that have become overgrown with moss
  • fluff hardened dirt so it can be dug out easier with a spade
  • dig out under tree roots
  • clear snow (not a joke - works a lot better than regular shovel with packed snow!)
  • easily dig up old lawn (really hard work if you try to hack it with a shovel)
  • turn compost

Considering the low price and versatility of this kind of tool, I suggest it is a must-have item for the tool shed.. If you know someone who has recently moved into a new house, this also makes for a interesting and different gift that will last a lot of years. It might even prod the new home-owners to discover the joy of growing their own veggies!

old hay fork examples
old hay fork examples

My helpers

I have two pitch forks that I use all the time in my garden. As you can see from the above image, both of these are of the type with round tines which are better suited for throwing hay and manure than for digging or turning soil. This type with the narrow rounded teeth does wonders if you're digging up lawns, clearing a lot of underbrush etc.

I find myself using these all the time and rate a garden fork as perhaps the best garden tool you can get - certainly the most versatile one.

I have my eye set on getting a true digging fork though and will probably go for the weird-looking but highly ergonomic Radius digging fork seen below, or the more traditional Seymour spading fork which has slightly wider teeth.

Radius Garden 203 PRO Ergonomic Stainless Steel Digging Fork, Original Green
Radius Garden 203 PRO Ergonomic Stainless Steel Digging Fork, Original Green
It looks weird, over-sized, and organic. Most of all though, it looks ergonomic which is why I like it. Once you start using a digging fork you'll notice how you move around a lot bending and wrenching the tool. a handle of this sort really makes a lot o sense and gives you the same grip from every angle. it is a highly rated product- not just because of its looks. The tines on this fork are a bit slimmer than a true spading fork and this also fits my uses since I also move manure and sift earth.

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