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Anthony Stevenson, from Johnny's Selected Seeds, shows Dave a great way to aerate your soil without disturbing its structure ...
or the creatures in it.
Tags:How to Aerate Soil using a Broadfork,Dave Epstein,growing wisdom,How to use a Broadfork
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Dave: Hi I’m Dave Epstein this is Growing Wisdom. I’m watching Anthony Stevenson here at Johnny’s Selected Seeds using a broad fork to aerate the soil. And Anthony as you’re getting close from me, tell me a little bit about this great tool.
Anthony: This particular mow that I’m using right now is our standard 520 model and named for its 5 tines and a 20 inch wide base. We have a 415 broad fork which has four tines over 15 inch base and the 727 has 7 over 27 inch base.
Dave: Well, tell me about how it’s developed and what it’s best use for?
Anthony: The broad forks were of European design and they’re redeveloped by Elliot Coleman for strength and ease of use.
Dave: And where do you use them for?
Anthony: Loosening and aerating soil.
Dave: Why not just go get a roller tiller, why use this?
Anthony: The advantage of the broad fork is that it’s use to aerate soil without damaging the soil structure. The ecology of the soil stays intact and the microorganisms are not disturbed.
Dave: So, what about all those weed seeds that are stocked underneath there?
Anthony: They’re still stocked down there, with a roller tiller and they’ll be thrown up over.
Dave: That’s a huge advantage because one of the mistakes I’ve made in the past is turning too much soil over and bringing the seeds up and really replanting them. By using this I’m not replanting weed seeds.
Anthony: Yes, it limits that.
Dave: So Anthony, only three sizes?
Anthony: There are three sizes for aerating soil. We do have a fourth size that’s used to harvest root vegetables.
Dave: And I bet we get to see that.
Anthony: You do.
Dave: Alright let’s go.
Anthony: So, Dave this is the 920.
Dave: 9 tines 20 inches.
Anthony: That’s right. This is used for harvesting root crops we’ll be doing potatoes right now.
Dave: And how does it work?
Anthony: Basically the action is the same as the broad forks that I was just showing you. You plunge the tines in, you pull it back. But this time when you get the potatoes at the ground, you shift the fork back and forth a little bit, the soil follows through leaving you your potatoes on top.
Dave: Hey, look at all those potatoes coming up, that’s pretty neat.
Anthony: Dave, this is easier and faster to harvest root vegetables than a traditional fork.
Dave: It works great for carrots too.
Anthony: If they’re great at broad forks and we could practice on the other ones as well.
Dave: How hard is this to use?
Anthony: Not at all. You want to race?
Dave: Race? Alright, so I’m going to grab one.
Anthony: Dave, before we start let me at least explain how to use it. Tines or plunge the soil using your own body weight and you rock it back to about 30-degree angle until you see the soil just start to break. And pull it back toward yourself about 68 inches, step on it again and repeat.
Dave: Seems easy enough.
Anthony: Very easy.
Dave: I think I’ve got it.
Anthony: Ready, set, go.
Dave: The Johnny’s broad fork a great tool for any gardener, aerates the soil, keeps the soil structure things are going to be going pretty good here. Let’s go Anthony you’ve got to catch up. Come back every week for all of our tips, hints and helps here at Growing Wisdom.