A garden fork, spading fork, digging fork or graip is a gardening implement, with a handle and several (usually four) short, sturdy tines. It is used for loosening, lifting and turning over soil in gardening and farming. It is used similarly to a spade, but in many circumstances it is more appropriate than a spade: the tines allow the implement to be pushed more easily into the ground, it can rake out stones and weeds and break up clods, it is not so easily stopped by stones, and it does not cut through weed roots or root-crops. Garden forks were originally made of wood, but the majority are now made of carbon steel or stainless steel.
Garden forks are slightly different from pitchforks, which are used for moving loose materials such as piled hay, compost, or manure. Garden forks have comparatively a fairly short, usually wooden handle, with a "D" or "T" end. Their tines are usually shorter, flatter, thicker, and more closely spaced.
A smaller version of such forks with shorter, closer-spaced, thinner tines (but a full-sized handle) is known as a border fork or ladies' fork, and is used for lighter work such as weeding amongst other plants. Forks with broader, flatter tines are made for lifting potatoes and other root crops from the ground. A pair of forks back-to-back is often used to lever apart dense clumps of roots.
- Schweissguth, Paul Heinrich (15 Apr 1921), "Modern Method of Forging Garden Forks" (PDF), The Engineer, (trans. from Zeitschrift des Vereines Deutscher Ingenieure, 19 Mar 1921): 414, via www.gracesguide.co.uk
- Garden tool
- Pitchfork (for lifting loose material such as hay)
- Broadfork (for breaking up hardpan)
- Fork (disambiguation)
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