Among hundreds of hobbies that people have, none but gardening makes people come close to mother nature. The direct touch with the Earth makes one humble. The plants and trees teach us to be benevolent. Planting trees, especially in today’s world, helps in protecting the environment – may be in a very insignificant way, but it does help. However, gardening involves a lot of work. From weeding out unwanted plants to watering of plants everyday – one has to do a lot of work. Taking care of the soil properly is one of the most important aspects of gardening. It is from the soil that the life cycle of a plant begins.
Making The Soil Suitable For Vegetable Plantation –
There are many things that you can do to make the soil suitable for plants. Adding organic materials, manures, throwing away the weeds – one can do a lot of things. One important thing that a person must do to the soil to ensure good growth of vegetable plants is aeration. Aeration is the process of making the air enter into the soil. However, care should be taken while aerating the soil. One should not mix the topsoil with the subsoil. Topsoil is more fertile and needs to stay on top for it to augment the growth of vegetable plants.
One effective way of aerating the soil without turning it upside down is to use grelinette or what is commonly known as broad-fork. A broadfork is a tool that has long 5 to 8 inches spikes that are fixed to a horizontal bar. The spikes are downward facing and are few inches apart from each other, giving it a comb-like look. The horizontal bar has handles on either side. The height of the handles reach up to a man’s chest or shoulder. To aerate the soil with a broad fork, one has to first push the tines deep into the soil, then he has to pull the handles of the tool downwards making the tines lift upwards. This makes the soil to develop spaces allowing the air to circulate through the spaces.
Benefits of Broadfork –
- Aerating Without Mixing – Mixing the topsoil and subsoil is a disaster as far as gardening is concerned. Broadfork aerates the soil without mixing the layers of the soil.
- Minimizing The Use of Fertilizers – Fertilizers can destroy earth worms and other insects that are helpful in aerating the soil. Using the broadfork makes your soil less dependent on fertilizers.
- Prevents Growth of Weeds – Since broadfork or grelinette does not turn the soil upside down, it prevents the seeds of the weeds to come out of the inner soil and get sunlight.
- Great Physical Exercise – To drive the pointy sticks of the broad fork deep into the soil, one has to climb atop the horizontal bar and jump a little. This is a great physical exercise.
- Does Not Make You Tired – A broadfork is larger horizontally, which makes aeration of the soil not a very time-consuming job as compared to aerating with other tools, say, spades or digging fork.
We should thank Andre Grelinin – the inventor of grelinette – to give us such a simple yet useful gardening tool. A broadfork shows how intelligent agricultural methods can save us both time and energy.