Thursday, May 9, 2013

Broadforking Update

Three years ago, we bought a broadfork with the intention of discontinuing the annual rental of a rototiller -- we hoped we could leave the soil structure a little more intact while avoiding any petroleum residue in the garden and foregoing the cost of the rental.  Three years later, I'm happy to say that it is a real success.

The first couple of years we broadforked instead of tilling, it was not hard, but it was some work to get the soil into a nice consistency.  As you can see at right, this year the soil really forked up nicely.  I did a significant patch of the garden last night, broadforking in two directions (at right angles), then working the soil over with a warren hoe.  The soil looks and feels like we tilled it, but we just used the power of muscle and fuel of body fat instead of relying on a machine.

The Analysis
Fast:  Broadforking is not faster than tilling, but as Mr. FC&G always says, it is slower, quieter, more pleasant work.

Cheap:  No investment in a tiller either through purchase or rental.  At the end of three years, I'd say the broadfork has nearly paid for itself in foregone rental fees.

Good:  A little (well, a lot, really) of exercise means the garden is already paying off in better health this year.  And I have the peace of mind of knowing I'm not dripping petroleum on my soil.
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