How To Use A Spading Fork [Step By Step Guide]

Many gardeners prefer to use a spading fork because it is helpful for gardening tasks. And after much research on the internet, we have finally determined the proper step-by-step process of using a spading fork.

To use a spading fork correctly, do the following:

  1. Get the spading fork and hold it.
  2. Add weight to the fork.
  3. Use the shaft of the handle as a lever.
  4. Don't stoop.
  5. Accumulate dirt to one side.

We encourage you to keep reading to know more about spading forks. We will also help you understand how to correctly choose and purchase quality spading forks that will surely be effective, efficient, and last long. Let's delve into the details!

a farmer relaxing his feet in a Digging fork, How To Use A Spading Fork [Step By Step Guide]

How To Use Spading Fork

You may not know it, but if other people ask you if you have a digging fork, they refer to a spading fork. Digging fork is another popular term that most gardeners and homeowners use. 

If you don't have any idea how to use a spading fork properly, you can follow the guidelines below:

a spade on grass of garden

1. Get The Spading Fork And Hold It

A good starting position is with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and directly behind the fork's tines. When digging, it's best to dig straight down. So, hold the handle firmly in both hands, lift the tines straight above the ground and let gravity do the work. 

2. Add Weight To The Fork

Preparing the garden bed for planting with a fork. Spring garden chores and jobs

You can gain traction with the help of a fork's treaded blade or rolled shoulder. With your foot, firmly press down on the tines, keeping the pit wall level and straight.

You can also utilize your spading fork to loosen up stony ground. Moreover, you can pry away a rock or chunk of soil by digging under it.

3. Use The Shaft Of The Handle As A Lever

With your knees bent, hold the spading fork on its handle grip with one hand, and the other on the middle of the shaft. Stick the tines into the ground, and use both hands to lever the shaft up, balancing the fork's weight.

4. Don't Stoop

Slowly straighten your knees as you lift. If possible, avoid bending over at the waist.

5. Accumulate Dirt To One Side

The strain on your back is too much when you hold a handful of dirt in a fork. So, keep the loaded fork close to your body while you dig the dirt out of the way. 

Click here to check out this 4-tines spading fork on Amazon.

How To Dig Up Plants Using A Spading Or Digging Fork

Healthy soil full of living roots, incorporating compost into the soil

When gardening in raised beds, the spading fork is the primary tool you should prepare. However, you also need a digging fork to incorporate compost into the soil for revitalization.

It is ideal to use a spading fork to dig plants with huge and solid roots instead of a spade since it can reduce the damage inflicted on the roots as you dig. In addition, you can remove more roots in one digging.

You can use a digging fork and a shovel to dig out plants. The fork can help you to loosen the soil around the plants and roots, and the spade can remove the soil. Alternatively, you can perform both tasks with a digging fork. So, choose whatever seems most convenient to you.

The spading fork is most useful when you are dividing or moving plants. If the plant you are working on has massive roots, you can ask someone to get another spading fork and dig in on the other side to make it easier to pull out the plant.

You can also use a spading fork to remove weeds from the root to prevent them from returning. 

How To Differentiate Between A Garden Fork And Spading Fork

If you cannot distinguish a digging fork from a garden fork, check the details below to determine how to identify them.

Garden Fork

The garden fork, the most prominent member of the fork family, is ideal for tackling vast plots of land. These durable implements are perfect for labor-intensive tasks like breaking up hard soil or preparing new soil for a garden.

Additionally, you can utilize garden forks for double digging and soil aeration, especially for compact soil or soil containing a lot of clay.

Spading Fork

We've mentioned that you can also call this fork a digging fork. You can use it to dig up and turn over lighter dirt for root vegetable harvesting.

Garden forks and digging forks are similar in that they have four tines.

How To Properly Select A Spading Fork?

Work in a garden - Digging Spring Soil With Spading fork Close up of digging spring soil

Since there are so many spading fork brands or manufacturers, you may have difficulty choosing one that will suit your gardening tasks. So, to help you out, we have provided a checklist to help you identify a suitable spading fork.

1. Check The Weight

You might want to consider a lightweight spading fork since you can carry it much easier and balance or control it swiftly. In addition, considering that the soil will come to the digging fork as you work with it, it is best to choose a lighter spading fork. 

However, a lightweight digging fork is not the only thing you should consider; you should also ensure that it is sturdy. You will exert much pressure or elbow grease on it, so it is just right to choose a spading fork that is light but highly durable to handle the job.

It would be best to go for a digging fork with a wooden shaft or handle. 

2. Tines Or Blades

It is ideal to choose a spading fork whose tines are made of stainless steel, as they won't get rusty or weaken quickly.

Although there are so many pretty spading forks in the market, take care not to buy them simply because they look good - they may fail to last for long.

Depending on your garden task, you can select from the following criteria:

Four Tines

You can use this for digging.

More Tines With Smaller Gaps

You can use this when lifting or discarding smaller, crumblier things like shredded bark and old leaves.

Wider Gaps, Fewer Tines

Perfectly suited for handling and tossing dry, coarse materials. It includes hay and straw.

3. Check For Comfortability

Spading fork in community garden

If you are a tall gardener, selecting a longer shaft is best. On the other hand, opt for a shorter shaft if you are shorter. 

4. Shaft Material

The shaft material will have a significant impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of your digging fork. So, ensure that you choose a suitable material.

The materials used are:

  • fiberglass
  • steel
  • hardwood

Hardwood is light and can handle heavy loads. In contrast, a shaft made of steel can handle heavy-duty gardening projects. You can only use fiberglass for light work since it can easily break if used for heavy loads or under too much pressure. 

5. Handle

Gardeners tend to have a heightened awareness of the importance of reducing their environmental footprint. Make sure the wood in your spading fork handle is from a sustainable source by looking for the FSC logo

Avoid a soft wood handle because it won't withstand the pressure.

Carbon fiber is more robust than wood but much lighter and is now available to make handles. However, carbon fiber production is very energy intensive and results in a substantial amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

Design Of The Handle

The style of the garden fork handle you choose will depend heavily on personal preference.

D-shaped spading fork handle

Most digging forks have D-shaped handles. And because they are easy to operate, it makes them widely favored.

O-shaped spading fork handle

The O-shaped fork handle has more surface area for your hand to hold than the standard D-shaped fork handle. However, this type of handle is uncommon. 

T-shaped spading fork handle

Although the T-shaped handle is clever in concept, it is less durable than the other two options.

Click here to check out this Tabor tools digging fork on Amazon.

Wrapping It All Up

a farmer relaxing his feet in a Digging fork

Following the guidelines in this post give you the best chance to succeed in your gardening task using a spading fork. You should also consider the features we've discussed when shopping for a spading or digging fork, especially if you want a long-lasting and efficient one.

We hope you found this post helpful. If you wish to continue reading, you can check these posts out!

How To Make Garden Rows With A Hoe? [Step By Step Guide]

How To Use A Half Moon Edger [Step By Step Guide]

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