Pitchfork or Garden Fork? There is a BIG Difference
Garden tools plus gardener = vegetables, fruit, and flowers!
Pitch fork, hayfork, garden fork, spading fork, digging fork, dessert fork -- What's the difference? They're all forks, right?
When it comes to gardening, the saying "the right tool for the right job" couldn't be truer. The right gardening tool can save hours of work, blistered hands, and an aching back.
Years of gardening have made me lazy. I don't like to waste effort using the wrong kind of shovel, tiller, hoe, rake or fork.
Most people know the difference between a leaf rake and a garden rake. Fewer can tell a grub hoe from a garden hoe.
Do you know the difference between a pitch fork and a garden fork? I sure didn't! There is a BIG difference!
Both tools are perfect. For completely different jobs.
Grant Wood Made the Pitch Fork Famous
So did Frankenstein's monster, who was chased by villagers bearing torches and pitchforks.
And of course the devil carries a pitch fork to torment the damned.
The pitch fork is light with tines that are quite sharp, perfect for "pitching" hay or straw.
In case you don't know the difference, hay is for feeding animals, straw is for bedding, and the pitch fork is perfect for moving both from one place to another.
A pitch fork also works pretty well at the early stages of compost, turning light materials and keeping them aerated.
Even better for compost is a manure fork. After all, compost is known as "green manure."
And, yes Virginia, there is a compost fork.
Pitch Fork, Manure Fork, Compost Fork - Each has its own heft and strength. As the load gets denser, the fork gets beefier.
Pitch forks whose tines range from four to 10.
Light and long, the pitch fork is for light materials.
A bit beefier with a shorter handle, the manure fork is lighter than a shovel
Similar to the manure fork, the compost fork is perfect for turning compost to keep it "cooking."
The garden fork, sometimes called a "spading fork" or a "digging fork" is a serious garden tool that can power through the most compacted soil, even sod. You would not use a garden fork to pitch hay, any more that you would use a crowbar to shovel snow.
Both the pitch fork and the garden fork are levers.
The pitch fork works like a broom -- you use your left hand as the fulcrum and convert a short stroke with your right hand into a big long sweep to throw a light load.
On the other hand, the garden fork works like a crowbar. The fulcrum of the garden fork lever is waaaay down in the tines. You use a long sweep of the handle to convert that motion into a shorter but more powerful motion in the lower half of the tines.
The effect is impressive!
A garden fork is just like a shovel. You use your foot to get the tines into the soil and lever back the handle to power through the hardest soil.
I own a Mantis tiller but for many jobs the garden fork takes less time. In just a few minutes a garden fork can till up a patch of soil, and really gets deep. Great for mixing in compost. In many ways, your best tiller is a garden fork.
Lots of roots and weeds? The garden fork doesn't tangle. Unless you want it to. Once the ground is tilled up, use the garden fork to sift out the roots.
The tines of a garden fork are stout and strong to take the leveraged force. And yes, you can exert enough force to bend the tines!
If you are a gardener who has used a shovel or spade to turn a garden bed, try a garden fork.
Because the garden fork uses mechanical advantage, even a weaker person can use their entire weight to really tear up the soil. It's Garden Judo! A shovel offers leverage, too, but holds onto much more soil. Imagine a garden tiller with big paddles instead of tines -- wouldn't get very far. Shovels are good for moving soil. A garden fork breaks up and mixes the soil. It's the difference between a spoon and a whisk. You just have to try one to see and feel the difference.
You can stir compost and soil by twirling the garden fork using the D-shaped handle, which by the way is much more comfortable than a straight handle. I personally find most garden fork handles a bit short and get the longest handle, 46 or 47 inches.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Save Money, Build Muscles, Eat Fresh
Long Handle Make This Garden Fork A Comfortable Garden Powerhouse
Easy on the back if you are tall and gives you more leverage. Get the right garden fork because chances are you will have it for many growing seasons.
Ergonomic design incorporates 47-inch length and D-shaped handle. Made in Poland.