Nov 252007

Johnny’s 520 broadfork

This is the original Eliot Coleman broadfork design, made by Johnny’s Selected Seed in Maine (US). Johnny’s carries four in all, differing by the number of tines.

  • Zac Helmberger

    Does it work?
    What do you think of it?
    Many people want to know!

    • Mike (tfb)

      I second that, I’m one of those people who want to know! I haven’t purchased one yet because of the extra shipping and brokerage charges from US to Canada (although there’s probably no actual duty to pay). I do trust Coleman, but after my experience with another broadfork design, I’m just a little skeptical.

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  • Zac Helmberger

    Quick update…

    I read in Coleman’s “New Organic Gardener” the specs for a broadfork and the farmer I’m working with friggin’ built it in a day from scrap metal (He’s a welder by trade)!

    I tried it out and it looks to be very strong but the soil is still too wet to work so we’ll wait a bit. Can’t wait to try it out. It just has the straight tines, for easy building.

  • tom edmundson

    I own and use this five tine broadfork.  I use a no-till and no-turning over gardening method and this tool is perfect for the small plot gardner.  Rather pricey for what it is, but its a life long tool.  The curves in the tines are key to its use.  Just step down lean back, lean forward and lift out.  Do this every 4 inches and work  in the row backward. Put your composted manure and compost on top before you start and it works itself in perfectly.  I pretty much just use a broadfork, manurefork, and a four tine cultivator, all hand tools.  Anyway, if you garden by hand and don’t rototill you will love this tool.

  • Zac Helmberger

    I used the broad fork in the greenhouse and it worked very well. The soil appeared to have never been worked before so it was a lot of work to get the fork into the dirt. Next year will go much easier and deeper.
    If memory serves, Coleman’s book said the thing was two feet wide with tines set four inches apart and 24 inches long. I think we made them 18 or 20 inches long.

  • Dan

    I have this design. It is a workout and I have some difficulty removing my clay soil from the tines afterwards. But it is well designed for the most part and very easy on the soil. I have had some difficulty with the shims falling out of the square tubes which keep the handles affixed to the broadfork “head”. You may need to replace these or hammer back periodically.

  • Auburn Pest Control

    That is a pretty substantial tool.  I bet it doesn’t take too much work to get tired with that!