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    Gardening Tools: About the Weeding Fork

    Gardening ForkA gardening weeding fork (which is also referred to as a gardening fork or a garden fork) is a gardening tool used primarily for weed removal. Unlike shovels and trowels, weeding forks cleanly remove plants from the soil at the roots without digging up large clumps of dirt. In addition to being an especially good tool for removing weeds, weeding forks are also useful for harvesting root plants like potatoes and onions, transplanting plants safely, and tilling compost or other additives into the soil. Weeding forks can also be used to loosen hard or clayous dirt in preparation for mixing in peat moss or other materials that improve the quality of soil.

    Although the appearance of your weeding fork will vary slightly depending on its specific brand and manufacturer, all garden forks (which closely resemble kitchen forks) consist of metal tines or blades attached to a metal or wood handle. Most forks have three or four tines although some have two or even five blades. Small, handheld weeding forks have short handles that are usually around six to twelve inches in length. Larger weeding forks have handles that measure between three to five feet tall. Unlike pitch forks that have straight handles, large weeding forks generally have handles that end in a T or D shape that facilitate weed removal.

    Using a Weeding Fork

    To use a weeding fork, first choose a properly sized tool for the weeding task at hand. If you are turning a patch of lawn into a garden or need to remove a lot of weeds from an existing garden, select a large fork with a long handle. If you need to remove only a few weeds from an old garden, you can use either a large or a small gardening fork depending on availability and your personal preference. For example, although some gardeners like to use a small fork to remove individual weeds after initially preparing the soil, I personally prefer to use a large fork for all of my weeding.

    To use a handheld weeding fork, insert the tines into the soil next to the weed. Bend the handle of the fork backwards to cleanly lift the weed out of the dirt. Firmly grasp the weed, and remove any excess dirt from the roots of the plant with the tines of the fork. To use a large weeding fork, again insert the blades into the soil next to the weed. Use your body weight to bend the fork backwards, usually past a forty-five degree angle. After the weed is loosened from the soil, use the fork to lift the plant from the dirt. Remember to lift with your legs, not with your back, to avoid back injuries. Use the fork the same way to harvest root plants or to transplant plants.

    Buying a Garden Fork

    If you are in the market for a weeding fork, the most important thing to consider is the sturdiness and durability of the tool. Because weed removal requires a lot of force, a good weeding fork will withstand the twisting and bending needed for this gardening task without bending or breaking. If you can bend the fork with your bare hands, you should select a different one. Many gardeners prefer forged (tools made from a single piece of metal) weeding forks although forks with wooden handles can also be a good quality. Garden tools that come with manufacturer warranties also tend to be of better quality than inexpensive no-name brands.

    Weeding forks may be bought at most garden stores that sell gardening equipment including large chain stores like Menards, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware. Smaller and local garden stores also often stock weeding forks. Purchasing a weeding fork from an online vendor is also possible; however, it is difficult to determine durability without having the tool in hand. It is recommended that you the fork as you would when gardening to make sure it is a good fit for you before buying. A small weeding fork should fit comfortably in your hand while a large weeding fork should be a comfortable length for your height.

    Gardening weeding forks or garden forks are gardening tools that are useful for removing weeds as well as for performing other garden chores like harvesting, transplanting, and tilling. Available at most garden stores, weeding forks are essential garden tools for any gardener.

    References

    Garden Forks: Choosing a Garden Fork That’s Up to the Job: http://gardening.about.com/od/toolschool/tp/Garden_Forks.htm
    How to Use a Garden Fork: http://www.the-organic-gardener.com/fork.html
    Top Tips for Buying a Garden Fork: http://aussiegreenthumb.com/303/buying-a-garden-fork/

    Image Credits

    Gardening Fork: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spitvork.jpg

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