Using your garden fork
- to open the earth & lift plants & weeds -
I explain how to use a garden fork properly.
The fork is a favourite tool among gardeners, especially useful for the following tasks:-
- to avoid slicing plant roots when transplanting and, to avoid damaging crops when lifting e.g. potatoes;
to lift branching underground weed stems e.g. couch grass, it breaks soil away from clumps to extract the weed in one piece,
- when opening the earth without moving the weighty bulk of soil. Does less damage to worms and soil than a spade,
- when opening the soil surface to lightly cultivate and work in organic fertilizer, compost or manure around plants or shrubs,
- to move light fibrous materials like straw, weed heaps, manure etc...
- divide certain clumps of perennials by slipping in 2 forks back to back, and pulling plant apart.
TO CLEAR UNDISTURBED WEEDS
Many weeds grow with shallow matted roots over settled ground. I used this method to weed e.g. 'Couch Grass', 'Nettles' etc... under established fruit trees and leave the tree roots relatively unharmed - the weeds invaded the ground from beyond, but plastic sheet mulch would prevent this problem occuring.
Slip the Digging Fork underneath shallow rooted clumps of weed. The picture shows the fork being stabbed into the ground at 45 degrees. (don't prong your leg)
It involves bending the back. But then use the gardening tool to support your stance and always lever the weeds up don't lift from your back.
'Digging', 'border', 'manure', 'pitch' and 'potato' forks; the use of solid square and flat tines; are described and compared on my other pages.
Compare with the 3 Tined Cultivator, and the Long Handled Garden Claw below.
LONG HANDLED GARDEN CLAW
A gardening tool innovation and alternative cultivator. Good for small gardens because on large areas it involves intense repetitive action. Here's what it does and how it works.
Garden Claw - U.S.A.
Find lawn rakes
- you stand in upright position to use it - no bending
- the chisel ended curved tines dig into the soil and loosen it up
- loosens up weeds without chopping roots of cultivated plants
- easy to reach the bottom of a trench so better than a fork for double digging
- used to work in top dressings or fertilizer
- you get lots of leverage through the handle bars
How to use it
- on better quality models the height is adjustable
- stand easy astride the cultivator
- press down while pushing and pulling the handles back and forward
- involves intense repetitive action so it's best used on smaller areas, or take a break.
- a slight bending of the knees will absorb the tension to ensure you don’t twist your back.
Take care and remember: work with gardening tools requires skill that has to be learnt and practised. Do remember to take care with your gardening tools and keep them clean and sharp.
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