Forking is a technique for opening up, turning and loosening soil. As the tines can slide between stones more easily than a spade, forking is particularly useful for rocky and stony ground. It is much less damaging to the soil structure than a spade as it breaks the clods up along their natural, existing fracture lines, rather than along artificially cut ones.
Forks are also good for clearing weeds from the soil, as they tend to remove the entire weed rather than leaving small, chopped pieces that may regenerate.
- Fork over the soil when it is moist but not waterlogged.
- Push the fork into the soil to the full depth of its tines.
- Lever the fork back and turn it over, breaking up clods and aerating the soil.
- Remove any weeds as you go.
Forking is good for stony, sandy, light or recently cultivated soils.