When it comes to spring cleaning, getting the best garden fork is one of the first things you should be looking to update. You may want to aerate your flower patches or uproot any old plants that may need some care. You should have this handy tool in your garden, especially if you're looking to turn over lots of patches in the new season. Pair a garden fork with a spade, and you can get to work in no time.
Investing in a good garden fork is something that will save you money in the long run, as well as make your gardening experience far easier. From high-quality wooden handles to steel that stays sturdy, buying a good fork is well worth your money.
Best garden forks at a glance
• Best stainless steel garden fork: Spear and Jackson Traditional Digging Fork – View on Amazon UK
• Best digging garden fork with lifetime guarantee: RHS Burgon and Ball Stainless Steel Digging Fork – View on Crocus
• Best garden fork for durability: Kent and Stowe 70100006 Stainless Steel Digging Fork – View on Amazon UK
Before we dig into the best garden forks though, it's good to know exactly what you're looking for. Usually, on the end of a stick with four or eight points and a slightly curved head, garden forks are perfect for moving around soil, compost and mulch. Their spiked heads make it easy to move the most difficult soils. What you want to do with them is move over large parts of soil at a time, so if you have a bit of a larger garden patch that you’re changing, these can be really helpful.
Modern Gardens Magazine writer Geoff Stebbings has some expert advice about the best time of year to dig in the garden. Also, if you're a little unsure about the structure and type of soil in your garden, there's a handy guide in the FAQs below. Dig on!
Best garden forks
Best stainless steel garden fork
Next up is this Spear and Jackson Traditional Digging Fork that has a stainless steel head, making
- 10-year guarantee
- High quality
Best digging garden fork with lifetime guarantee
Want to get your dig on? This RHS Burgon and Ball Stainless Steel Digging Fork has forged tines
- Lifetime guarantee
- High quality
- Only one review
Best garden fork for durability
This Kent and Stowe 70100006 Stainless Steel Digging Fork is made of stainless steel and hard ash
- High-quality digging fork
- FSC-approved ash wood handle
- One customer questions the durability
Best carbon steel garden fork
If you'd rather invest in a carbon steel option, this Wilkinson Sword Carbon Steel Border Fork is
- Versatile option
- Not suitable for heavy-duty gardening
Best supermarket garden fork
A versatile lightweight fork, perfect for loosening soil, weeding, aerating, and cultivating.
- 15-year guarantee
- Easy to use
- No customer review
Best budget garden fork
Wickes Carbon Steel Powagrip Garden Digging Fork is made totally out of steel and has a strong
- Low price
- Great for general gardening
- Some reviews show this fork can break
Best multi-use garden fork
Looking for a unique tool? This Roamwild Multi-Digger is made out of fibreglass, making it a super
- High-quality tool
- May be heavy for some
Best top-rated garden fork
This Gardena ErgoLine Digging Fork is designed for comfort when digging, removing roots and
- Highly rated
- Suitable for heavy digging
- Not many reviews
Best Amazon garden fork
Amazon has a variety of options with different price points, but this Draper 88789 Carbon Steel
- Low price
- Good value
- Made from plastic
Best garden fork and spade set
If you need to stock up on more than one garden tool, why not invest in a garden and spade set?
- Good value combination set
- Comfortable handles
- Not ideal for taller gardeners
Our Verdict: Best garden forks
We choose the Spear and Jackson Traditional Digging Fork as an ergonomic, good value, well crafted and durable tool for general use in the garden. It's mid-range in price and has received resoundingly positive reviews on Amazon. Spear and Jackson are a long-established brand and have been selling steel tools since 1760.
FAQs: Best garden fork
What should I think about when buying a garden fork?
Every gardener is different so you’ll want to be sure that you grab a garden fork that suits your needs. Material, size, weight and height are all the various things that you want to keep an eye out for.
Material: This can be the make or break of a long-lasting garden fork that works over the years. Look for options with stainless steel and hardwood for high-quality results. Make sure to cover your tools in the winter and rainy seasons to lengthen their life span.
Size and weight: If you’re an experienced gardener, you may not feel the heaviness of a bigger fork. On the other hand, if you struggle with heavy tools or just want something that’s not so substantial, go for a lightweight option.
Height: Garden forks also come in a range of full-lengths and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the height of your fork so you’re not getting something that’s too large or small for you.
When's the best time of year to dig in the garden?
Autumn means digging to most gardeners, a time to prepare the garden for spring. Traditional advice tells us to get the digging done by the New Year. But why do we dig, and why now? Modern Gardens Magazine writer Geoff Stebbings says that autumn is when most people dig, and it is the best time to work heavy clay soils.
"Heavy clay soils are left rough over winter, so frost can break down the lumps into finer particles. If you add organic matter, it leaves plenty of time for it to mix with the soil before you rake it down in spring. The soil is also drier in autumn, so you will do less damage to heavy soils than in the depths of winter. It is not soil structure but nutrients that are the issue with the light, sandy soils. If you dig in autumn, there is more danger of nutrients leaching, so it is best to leave these till spring to dig."
"Instead, mulch so winter rains don’t damage the soil structure and dig these in spring. Even better, sow green manures in autumn, which stabilises soil structure and dig these in spring. They will add organic matter and help retain nutrients, especially nitrogen, which is leached from all soils in winter."
"Digging over the plot clears away annual weeds, and allows us to remove perennial weed roots and to mix in organic matter, thus improving the depth of the fertile topsoil. Worms will drag some organic material down into the soil but digging is quicker and will take the material down deeper. Plants will only grow and produce roots in the topsoil, the fertile upper zone."
What is soil structure?
"Soil structure is how the particles in the soil are arranged and the spaces between them, which can be filled with air or water. Clay soils have small particles, and these can easily be squashed as you walk on them, making raised beds a good solution. Digging, at least in the early years, is advisable to incorporate organic matter, which helps the soil develop a crumb structure and keep air spaces, improving drainage. Digging in sand or grit also ‘opens up’ the soil on a more permanent basis. Organic matter also sticks together the large particles in sandy soils and helps retain moisture."
What can I add to my soil to improve it?
"Bulky organic matter is beneficial to all soils, improving both drainage and moisture-holding capacity. It ‘opens up’ heavy soils, encourages a crumb structure and enriches sandy, poor soils. As it decomposes, it also retains plant nutrients. Most organic matter also contains plant nutrients, but some are not as rich in plant nutrients as often thought, so they are best used in large amounts as soil conditioners and not sprinkled on as fertilisers."
"Garden compost, if well made, is useful and beneficial and contains nutrients. It has a big advantage in that it is just where you want it and free. Well-rotted manure is another good option if you can get it in bulk. To avoid is wood shavings or sawdust unless you can leave them to decompose for several years. Any woody material, including un-composted bark or shredded branches, has problems because it can take years to decompose. Additionally, it can rob nitrogen from the soil if it is dug in raw. It can be used if composted with grass cuttings or other soft material for several years."
"Leaves are falling off trees and shrubs now and these make great leafmould. Rake them up or mow them off the lawn and pack into hessian bags or put on the compost heap for a great mulch in a year’s time, or fine leafmould for digging in the next year. You may be able to get other materials locally such as mushroom compost."
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Caitlin Casey is a Commercial Content Writer for Bauer writing across brands like What's The Best, Yours, Mother&Baby, Heat and Closer. She has written across various platforms and publications since 2017. Her passions include researching women’s lifestyle, popular culture and all things trending.