Using a border fork in the garden seems to be a lost skill in this part of the world, and it took several working trips to England for me to begin to appreciate their utility. Using the right tool for the job can make all the difference for ease and efficiency of performance of your gardening jobs, and here's how we use forks.
Generally, border forks are used to loosen, lift and turn soil, similar to a spade, with the difference being that the tines allow a fork to be pushed into the ground more easily, break up clods of soil, and get past/remove stones and rocks.
A fork is super handy for weeding large areas, especially of tap-rooted or tuberous plants. As much as possible, you want to avoid cutting or breaking those roots in order to prevent re-growth. The fork is also brilliant for dealing with large weedy, compacted areas; we go over them with a fork, plunging it in and loosening the soil throughout the area before we start pulling them out. Saves hours of painstaking hand work. It is also useful in the veggie garden for lifting potatoes and other root crops.
Most important for me is when used to lift plants like a spade: a fork doesn't cut through all the roots, thus does less damage to the plant and ensures better transplanting results.
Lastly, even though I was disparaging about it until I'd actually tried it, using two forks back-to-back to lever apart dense clumps of roots is a speedy and less damaging way to divide plants (try the short-handled or hand forks in the Sneeboer range for smaller gardens and plants).
It is important to choose a fork that is strongly made because the tines of poorly-made forks can bend with use, especially if you have heavy clay or compacted soils. Not a problem with the Sneeboer border fork - it is strong because its hand-forged from one piece of steel and not welded together from multiple pieces. It is perfectly proportioned and exceptionally well-balanced. A treat to use and a highly recommended tool to have in your arsenal!
- width of head: 6" (15.5cm)
- length of head: 7.8" (20cm)
- length of handle: 35.4" (90cm)
- total length: 44" (112cm)
- number of tines: 4
- length of tines: 6.7" (17cm)
- between tines: 1.18" (3cm)
- material of handle: ash wood
- weight: 3.75lbs (1.7kg)
The Sneeboer family has been making garden tools for over 100 years. Sneeboer tools are beautifully designed and built for maximum strength and utility - the heads are hand-forged from one piece of stainless steel and they are fitted with ash handles from FSC-certified forests.