What is the Best Garden Fork in Australia?
Garden forks have fallen a bit out of vogue, but I think they remain a critical tool for any gardener to have. Garden forks are used for many different tasks so we listed the best garden fork in Australia today.
They can be used for shifting mulch and leaves, they can be used to help uproot difficult plants and they can be used to aerate or turn over soil. This is but a small number of the tasks that garden forks can be useful for.
What to Look for in a Garden Fork
Garden forks are used for lots of different, labour-intensive work, so it’s important to find one that will last many years and get the job done.
Here are some important features to look for.
- Forged steel – The best garden forks are made from one solid piece of steel that is shaped in a furnace, as opposed to forks that are assembled out of several different parts and materials.
This will ensure that it can easily withstand the pressure of being pushed deep into the ground, as well as being able to provide good leverage when you are breaking up hard-packed soil, removing rocks or digging out roots.
- Aluminium alloy – Many good quality forks are made from an aluminium alloy – a combination of aluminium and other metals. However, aluminium is a very malleable metal which means it bends and twists easily.
This means you really need to make sure the alloy has enough other metals to strengthen the tool. Feel the prongs on the fork, put some pressure on them. If you can bend them yourself (which isn’t out of the question with cheap tools today) then they simply won’t last in the garden.
Longer handles provide more leverage which can make the job easier, depending on what you are doing, but also make it harder to use in tight spaces.
Think about how you think you will be using the tool and to help decide what you need most.
Different Types of Garden Fork
There are several different types of garden fork, each slightly different for different jobs. A standard garden fork is the best all-rounder, although a short, small garden fork is a useful addition too.
- Standard garden fork – This is a large fork that’s similar in size to a construction-size spade. They’re tough but versatile, and can take care of most jobs around the garden, from aerating soil to turning compost.
- Digging fork – Often called diggers, these are small forks that you can hold and use with a single hand. They are ideal for working close to the ground like when you are weeding, harvesting vegetables or planting seedlings and small plants.
- Compost fork – This is a similar size to the garden fork but usually has sharper tines and a more slender design, like a pitch fork.
This makes it easier to lift and shift big chunks of compost, mix in leaves and move compost to a wheelbarrow or flower bed. However, a garden spade usually works just as well.
- Potato fork – This is a much more specialised fork that is particularly useful if you are growing lots of potatoes in your garden or on a farm. The tines are blunted to ensure they don’t damage the potatoes as you dig them up.
Other than the digging fork, all the garden forks are designed to be used in a standing position, using your foot to plant it into the ground and your arms and upper back to supply the power.
How Much Does the Best Garden Fork Cost?
Although no one likes breaking the bank, the best rule to follow here is not to buy cheap. In recent years, many cheap brands have entered the market but the tools they sell just don’t last.
The garden fork is one tool that is very commonly made for ‘cheap’ prices but these tools simply will not stand the test of time. These poor-quality forks are usually under the $30 mark.
Good quality mid-range garden forks will cost about $30-$40 and will likely work well. The best garden fork – a solid steel forged garden fork - will set you back about $70 or more but will last you a lifetime.
5 Best Garden Fork To Choose From:
Super Steel Heavy Duty 4 Tine Spading Fork is one of the best heavy duty garden fork today. It is ideal for heavy duty, commercial and industrial use.
It's forged from hardened and tempered high carbon steel to ensure maximum strength and toughness for a lifetime use.
The Ames Companies, Inc True Temper 4-Tine Forged Spading Fork have a 4 diamond pointed steel tines for easy soil penetration and a 30 inch hardwood handle for strength and durability.
Another Spear & Jackson Garden Fork designed with a mirror polished stainless steel tines and a weatherproof hardwood shaft.
Its one piece shaft is split to form a D handle for comfort.
This Spear & Jackson Garden Fork have a fully forged carbon steel head and socket.
Also have a weatherproof hardwood shaft for greater durability.
What Can I Use a Garden Fork For?
These are versatile tools that can be used for all kinds of jobs around the garden, whether you have a small, established garden or a rural plot. They are regularly used for:
- Aerating soil – Soil becomes compacted over time, becoming harder and harder. This makes it difficult for plant roots to grow through the soil and access water and nutrients.
Typically, areas with compacted soil have stunted plants or are simply bare. Using a fork, you can easily break up the soil in beds and lawns, creating a healthy environment for plant growth.
- Preparing beds – If you are preparing a new flower bed or vegetable garden bed, then a garden fork is invaluable for turning the soil, mixing in compost, mulch and organic matter, and clearing away roots and debris.
- Removing roots – If you have unwanted shrubs and plants, your garden fork is the easiest way to pull out root boles and prepare beds for new plants.
Simply use the same technique you would use for removing a rock.
- Turning compost – Home compost beds and bins need to be turned on a regular basis to aerate the compost, mix it thoroughly and promote healthy bacteria that break down your organic matter.
The tines make this a much easier job because they are able to grab and lift the compost more easily than a spade.
- Removing rocks – Garden forks with longer handles can break up the soil around rocks, allowing the tines to slip underneath the rock and providing good leverage to make pulling it out of the ground easier.
How to Store and Maintain Your Garden Fork
When you’ve invested in the best garden fork, the last thing you want to do is have to replace it before it’s time. The right care and maintenance will keep it in great shape – and it’s all very easy to do.
- Clean – Always clean your garden fork after use, rinsing it down or washing it with a dishwashing liquid or a 10% bleach solution to remove compost, manure, bacteria, fungi and other less pleasant substances.
You can also keep a bucket of clean river sand mixed with linseed oil in your storage shed. Simply plunge the tines into the bucket a few times to clean.
- Dry – Dry your fork well to prevent rusting. It’s easiest to just leave it out after washing and let the warm weather do its work. Always put it in a shaded position, however, as the metal can get very hot and the sun will cause the rubber grips to decay.
- Store – Oiling your garden fork will prevent rust. The easiest method is to use the sand and linseed oil mix, but you can rub a thin coating of general-purpose machine oil onto the tines with a clean cloth.
Store in a weather proof shed, storage bench or garage, out of the sunlight and where it cannot fall onto other equipment.
It’s a good idea to install a tool rack that will secure your garden fork alongside other tools for easy access and preventing clutter.
Get the Best Garden Fork and Make Turning Compost, Preparing Beds and More Simple!
A good quality garden fork is a very useful and rewarding tool to have in your gardening maintenance toolkit. Not only is it easy to maintain and store, it’s also powerful enough to take on some of the toughest jobs, from shifting rocks and mixing compost to aerating your lawn.
With the best garden fork, your garden will be easier to manage and work in, helping you to create a thriving flower or vegetable garden.