Broadfork: my new best friend in the greenhouse
There are gardening tools, and then, there are gardening tools. The Meadow Creature broadfork is definitely the latter, a precision-built tool made right here on Vashon Island. Bob Powell is the Meadow Creature mastermind who “…re-invented the broadfork, taking a favorite tool for aerating already-loose soil and turning it into an indestructible workhorse for breaking the hardest ground, that’s still easy to use for cultivating and aerating.¹” The first time I saw what it could do in the greenhouse, and I was sold.
After returning one that I had borrowed beyond an appropriate amount of time, I decided to buy my own. Depending on tine size and width, these tools run anywhere between $189 – $209, and being all-metal, will last several lifetimes. After a winter without water, the soil in my greenhouse had the tilth of a parking lot, another deciding factor in my purchase. There is no shovel nor a back strong enough for hardpan like this, and my rototiller would have just bounced around and caused me harm.
Here’s a look at the me and my broadfork in action. My clip below is a bit weak and unedited, but the ones following it are pretty wonderful, highlighting farmer friends of mine doing the broadfork shuffle on Vashon Island. The first time you use it on untilled soil it’s a pretty tough bit of exercise as you can see, but in an existing bed or planting plot that’s been tilled before, the fork makes the work a breeze while tilling deeper than any machine rototiller could ever hope to.
Intro to the Broadfork
Caitlin Demonstrates How to Use It
Rob Explains Why Use One
The Yarkins Make a Game of It
¹”Meadow Creature Broadfork,” http://meadowcreature.com