This year we heavily amended our soil with composted horse manure and ground wood. Our pH is way too high and our acid levels need to come up, so we went crazy amending 3 inches deep over the entire garden. The question quickly became, how are we going to till this into the garden soil? Our friend rotary tilled the garden for us, but the tiller was only able to mix the wood and manure. We still hadn't penetrated the garden soil much at all. We went with a broadfork!

We did some research and found the video below on Youtube. We went with a small business called Valley Oak Tool Company in California (the owner is pictured in the video). The tool is made in the USA. As far as I can tell Valley Oak Tool engineered this broadfork themselves. We're completely thrilled with it! It has 12 inch tines (standard tillers reach only 3-5 inches). er than other broadfork models. We've quickly learned that finding rocks and roots is easy to do! This model has gussets on each tine to resist bending. It's also 25 or 30 dollars less than other better known models. If you're interested in deep soil penetration we highly recommend this tool!
We really had no idea what a broadfork was until we read about it this year in Eliot Coleman's book, The New Organic Grower. Coleman talks about the advantages of using a broadfork for deep soil penetration and aeration. We've also read plenty of good stuff about double digging on your blogs, but the labor and warnings we've read against disturbing or bringing deep soil to the surface have kept us from trying it. OK, OK, I admit it, it's just the labor! Double digging looks like very hard work!

Still, we had this dilemma in the garden. How can we get down to the garden soil below the deep layer of compost amendment? The broadfork solved our problem! In the picture immediately below you can see the amendment layer of compost, and below that, the garden soil that the broadfork easily pulled up. Check out the video below to see the tool in action in our garden. It's been a life saver for us this year!

3 inches of dark compost on top of 6 inches of garden soil all brought up by the broadfork.


Bully Tools Bully Tools 92373 7-1/4-Inch Wide 4 Tine Super Fork with D-Grip Steel Handle
Lawn & Patio (Bully Tools)
  • 4 Tine super spading Fork
  • 7-1/4-Inch wide
  • All Fiberglass Handle features triple wall construction
  • American Made
  • High Quality Tool

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Sheet mulching is one of the better ways.

I have gone thru the gauntlet in gardening. Composting, double digging, green manures, and conventional gardening are some of the ways. Even intensive approach in raised beds. The best garden I grow now is done with barnyard manures in blanket covering in the fall/winter months and covered by at least afoot to one and half feet of what ever I can find. (I may add wood ashes and /or lime also before covering with mulch.) Leaves, grass, hay, old saw dust, cottenseed hulls, whatever, just piled in. When i am thru for the winter, I just cover all plants with manure. NO TILLING! Then cover all that with mulch

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