Monday, November 30, 2009

Tools Inventory: I (heart) My Compost & Mulch Fork

Some years, I ask my husband for a new garden tool for my birthday or Christmas; sometimes, I don’t even specify the kind of tool I want. My compost & mulch fork was the result of just such a tools request for my birthday one year, and it turned out to be a wonderful surprise.

This particular fork has 10 fairly closely spaced tines that are not especially pointed at the ends. Using the compost & mulch fork to turn the compost pile a couple of days ago reminded me that it’s a tool that really works!

Anyone who has tried to shift compost using a spading/digging fork will have had the experience of watching the littler bits fall right through the spaces between the tines. A shovel, though, sometimes can’t even be shoved very far into a compost pile because it jams up against a tough piece of plant that hasn’t yet decomposed.

My compost & mulch fork avoids both of those problems. The tines are spaced closely enough to hold the crumbly, dark compost, but the spacing is wide enough that the fork doesn’t get hung up on the un-decomposed bits. The fork goes right into the pile and comes away with a full load.

Even better, the fork works for more than just compost. It works for chipped wood that we get a load of each year to spread on paths through the backyard, and it works for manure, grass, and old, soggy leaves.

I have seen similar forks online at Lee Valley ($65) and at Lowes Online ($36), but I have also seen them at the old Cobb Hardware store (price similar to Lowes) on Roswell Street in Marietta.

It is hard for me to admit that my compost & mulch fork is not really a necessity, but that is true. I could get by with my spading fork and a regular shovel, which are both ESSENTIAL tools. The compost & mulch fork does make some tasks a lot easier, though.

A couple of my sisters have birthdays in the same month as mine, and the year I was given the compost & mulch fork I remember a conversation with one of those sisters, that I told her about my great gift, and that there was a moment of silence on the phone. Then she said something like “I got a diamond bracelet.” Now, I am sure that the bracelet still brings her plenty of pleasure, but it is hard to imagine that she gets as much enjoyment out of that bracelet as I get from my compost & mulch fork.


  1. Well, diamonds are pretty but I must say I have mulch fork envy. I know I am not to covet thy neighbor's goods, I have experienced the exact frustration of turning my pile to not reach my desired results. One day I will too have neat tools to make my garden sing or me sing in my garden.

  2. Since you actually ARE my neighbor, you could just wander over and borrow the compost & mulch fork when you need it. I am all for saving money when it doesn't need to be spent!


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