Meet the Meadow Creature Broadfork
I 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.
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.
This post was written by David The Good