What Are the Different Types of Garden Forks?
Digging forks are recognized as the most essential garden tool to have. They are typically long and used when standing up. They usually have four tines but can also have more. (It depends on how fancy you want to get.)
However, digging forks are grand for breaking and turning the soil. They work very well on hard ground that can be quite cumbersome to turn over.
In fact, the digging forks are so multi-functional that they can be used for almost anything garden or farm related.
This term may sound the most familiar to you. Every farmer seems to own a pitchfork! (And maybe a few Halloween costumes.)
Pitchforks are excellent for working with hay and straw. If you have to continually clean out livestock stalls, move small hay bales and anything else related to forage, the pitchfork will be your best friend.
They usually have four tines and are spaced evenly apart to rotate or move hay successfully. In fact, some pitch forks are very sharp and curved to get a good grip on the compost.
I think the term, "potato fork" is self-explanatory. Do you grow your potatoes? Are you shopping for the best garden fork? Then a potato fork will perform wonderfully for you.
The potato fork is designed to correctly lift potatoes from the ground. The tines aren't sharp at all since it isn't meant to dig holes. In fact, potato forks are purposely built with flat tines so that you won't puncture a potato.
The potato fork may also have more tines since the concern here is not to lose the potato! The more tines there are, the least likely that a potato can escape through the tine gaps.
The hand fork is also self-explanatory. It's a small garden fork that fits snugly in your hand. These work the best for the tiny gardens or small tasks. If you need to do some touch-up work on a plant or two, the hand fork would also serve as a great tool. This forces you to get to the ground level and dig in.
However, don't expect to use the hand fork for large tasks or large gardens. It would just cause too much squatting and standing and increase the time of completion significantly.
What's the Best Way to Use a Garden Fork?
When you're using a garden fork, it's wise to consider how it will affect your body. This usually brings the most concern to the hands. If you plan on using a fork for very long, you need to protect your hands from painful callouses and skin burns.
The best way to remedy this is to wear protective work or garden gloves.
Otherwise, just use both hands to operate the longer, slender forks like a digging fork or potato fork. It may also help to apply more pressure to your foot sitting on top of the tines. This is for strength and accuracy in turning up tough soil.
For hand forks, it may not be necessary to have to use both hands. Naturally, if you are using the fork to turn the soil, keep a solid grip on the handle and twist the tines into the ground with pressure.