Here at Orchard Creek farm we implement permaculture design for a healthy and balanced ecosystem. To achieve our goals of healthy, balanced soils our hand tool of choice for our no-till farm is the broadfork. This tool is a hand tool used to break up and aerate the top soil without turning it under. A rototiller for example destroys the beneficial microbes and living organisms by tearing up and turning the soil over with blades. These organisms live with, in and between the soil particles. The pH balance, moisture content and soil pore size create different habitats for these living organisms, known as the "soil food web". This "soil food web" is made up of a multitude of living organisms; earthworms, bacteria, fungi, arthropods, nematodes and protozoa. Basically all soil life that can be eaten and broken down, makes up the "soil food web" cycle.
One of the best known good fungi for example is Mycorrhizae . We encourage the healthy growth of mycorrhizae. The broadfork is an excellent tool to use that will not destroy what we are trying to maintain, it also helps to suppress weed seeds that lay dormant under the soil, when rototilled these weed seeds come to the surface, a broadfork will keep the majority of the weed seeds dormant by not allowing them to come to the surface.
The broadfork uses your body to operate, and it is a workout like no other! I personally would much rather have the broadfork body workout and save my living soil than get vibrated to death and destroy my living soil with a machine.
Furthermore we spend no money for fuel or machine maintenance, which is another sustainable plus.
To maximize the roots and health of your plants and trees the soil needs to be aerated for nutrient and water penetration.
We can't wait till Spring to use the mighty broadfork again!.