Break up soil without breaking your back Product Review: The Meadow Creature Broadfork

Meet the Meadow Creature Broadfork

Meadow Creature BroadforkI really like tools, especially tools I can’t break.

When I’m gardening, I don’t like to worry about handles snapping, bolts coming loose, or blades dinging up.  That’s why I like this tool – it’s a monster.

Appropriate Technology for Large Gardens

To the uneducated eye, you might think this was a strange piece of tractor equipment or some sort of medieval weapon.  It’s got amazingly vicious spikes on the end with a wicked curve to them, and the solid steel construction doesn’t look like any other garden tool most of us have seen.

That’s because it’s NOT like any other garden tool.  This is a ground-breaking machine.

WARNING: Broadforking does take a bit of work.  If you’re a wuss, you won’t like it.

Read more: Convert Your Lawn into a Food Forest

Double Dig Your Garden Beds with Ease

Since getting deeper into the John Jeavons method of double-digging, I’ve become much more aware of the need soil has for air.  The beds I’ve double-dug have done better – and areas that have been simply tilled have done poorly.

Even in my sandy soil, compaction can and does occur.

Yet double-digging is murderously hard.  I think it often needs doing – but sometimes you just want to get a big area done without breaking your back.  Other times, you may want to loosen up an existing bed without busting out the shovel and digging fork again.  That’s where the broadfork comes in.

The Meadow Creature Broadfork Gets it Done Every Time

Most broadfork manufacturers warn against breaking new ground, or tell you that they’re only made for “already-loose” soil.  Really?  That’s like having a shovel that’s only for digging holes that have been dug once and then filled in.  Are you kidding?

There may be a place for delicate little tools – but it ain’t on this homestead.  My tools get hauled around to different beds, lent to friends, worked hard, and occasionally drenched by Florida’s unpredictable monsoons.

The Meadow Creature site reads “We are confident enough that our tool is indestructible to guarantee it forever.  Customers tell us our broadfork is great for removing turf, digging out blackberry roots, quack grass, and bermuda grass.  And also digging up trees and prying out boulders – it’s not meant for that, but we’ll stand by the guarantee anyway.”

Nice, eh?  As a person who regularly uses wrenches to hammer nails and scissors to trim fingernails, I appreciate that kind of guarantee.

More from David the Good: 10 Reasons to Start Gardening NOW!

Learning to Use the Broadfork

The Meadow Creature broadfork is made of solid steel alloy – even the handles.  There’s a bit of a downside to this strength – it’s somewhat heavy – but that’s actually an advantage on the downstroke.

The first time I tried my new broadfork, I was amazed how it cut into the ground like a knife.  I went to the most compacted and oak-root riddled part of my yard… and it handled it.  No problem.

With the Meadow Creature broadfork, I can break about 50 square feet of new ground in roughly 15 minutes.  That’s new, unworked ground, covered in weeds – which is not what a broadfork is supposedly designed for.  In my less-weedy beds, I can go about three times that fast.

Video: Watch Me Use My Broadfork

Here I am breaking ground really, really fast:

On new ground, the broadforking doesn’t take as long as the weed pulling does, though the weeds come out easily once the broadfork has passed by.  Once they’re pulled, the soil is perfect for planting.

One note: you will get blisters and wear yourself out if you jump in too hard on your first try with this broadfork.  The motion is rather addicting, and before you know it, you’re more tired than you thought you were.  Cotton gloves might be a good idea.  The handles are smooth, which allows you to change your grip easily and slide your hands into different positions as needed.

Broadforking: Fun for the Whole Family

My wife and I have broken many thousands of feet of ground with this fork and we’re still having fun.  I’ve also let multiple visitors try it out.  Men in particular were impressed by this broadfork’s strength and ease of use.

My wife, despite not having anywhere near my strength, still finds the Meadow Creature broadfork easy enough to handle.  She did about 500 square feet when we broke up this spring’s potato bed and still had energy to plant multiple rows of mung beans.  I think it helps that the broadfork has a really good balance.  You can jam it in the ground and easily work it in without falling over.

Video: Start a Sweet Potato Bed the Easy Way

It’s Cheaper than a Tractor

One other thing you should know about this broadfork: it’s not cheap.  The Meadow Creature will set you back almost $200.  I got the 14″ version, since that seemed to be the most versatile.  That said, I’ve come to realize, after buying a lot of tools: cheap isn’t good.  If it’s flimsy or made in China, sell it to someone else.

The Meadow Creature is made in the USA, and it’s expensive.  However, it’s going to last.  If you only have a small garden, this tool might be overkill – but if you’ve got a larger space in cultivation, then it’s worth the price.  I use mine regularly.

I don’t usually get real hyper over anything but plants… but the Meadow Creature broadfork is cool as heck.  This is my kind of tool.  If you get a few bucks together – and feel like saving on a gym membership, think about investing in one of these.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

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David The Good


Contributor

David The Good is a Grow Network Change Maker, a gardening expert, and the author of four books you can find on Amazon: Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting, Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening, Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening, and Create Your Own Florida Food Forest. His upcoming book Push the Zone explores growing tropical edibles outside the tropics. Find fresh gardening inspiration at his website http://www.TheSurvivalGardener.com and be sure to follow his popular YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/davidthegood.


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9 Comments
  • Heather Jones

    Cool 🙂

  • Gordon

    My Meadow Creature broad fork came last week. Like David I chose the 14-inch size. I noted that the instructions tell you not to worry about cleaning or oiling it, as it laughs at rust. Okay, not the laughing part, but how often does a manufacturer tell you not to bother with maintenance?

    As David wrote, this thing is tough. It’s easy to operate, but your shoulders will get a good workout, especially because you’ll enjoy using it and won’t want to stop.

  • James L McConaughy

    This would be a good tool if you have half way good soil. However, in my part of the country, the ground is two parts rock to one part soil. A person really needs to find a way to garden without digging.

  • I really need to get the video out on using the one he special made for me with tines closer together for digging Hymalayan blackberry crowns. Ans yes I have pried out several one man rocks with it.

  • Ricardo

    Hi, can some one tell me where to buy the Meadow broad fork? After seeing David’s video, I thing that’s the one I need.
    Thank you.

    • Gordon

      You can go to David’s blog, thesurvivalgardener.com. There’s a link in his bio above. On his blog page is a link to the company that makes them.

  • Great stuff! Nicely done video, and the music was perfect.
    “I wish I’d done that!”

  • great article and accompanying video!

  • Debbie

    This looks like the tool I have been waiting for to remove the quack grass and blackberry roots in an area not easily accessible by machinery. You can buy it at https://meadowcreature.com/broadforks

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