The how and why of using the Cartwright Broadfork

Designed by Richard Cartwright and assembled by a skilled Indiana master welder, your Cartwright Broadfork is an invaluable tool for deeply aerating the soil without damaging the soil structure or detrimentally disturbing the soil flora and fauna so essential to good plant nutrition. Using the broadfork periodically is key to enhancing long-term soil productivity.


The Cartwright Broad Fork showing all 7 tines in place.

Using the Broadfork

You'll develop your own digging method or pattern with the broadfork, but it is helpful to work backwards. By sliding the fork back a few inches after you finish the downward loosening motion...stepping back, positioning for the next insertion you avoid having to lift the fork completely out of the ground and move it forward each time you dig.

Also, particularly if the soil is heavy clay, making two passes, working perpendicular to the first digging direction on the second, will assist in breaking up difficult soil. The adjustable tine arrangements on this garden soil cultivator allow for working many different soil types easily.

using the cartwright broadfork

 No tool does a better job of tilling soil than the broadfork. and the design of the Cartwright Broadfork is why we call it the best broadfork for your money.

This broadfork allows you to till and aerate your growing beds by hand, using a natural motion that's easy on your body. It provides an alternative to the noise, pollution, fossil fuel use, and ground compaction caused by power tilling.

To easily move and aerate soil, stand on the cross bar and, if necessary, shift your body weight from side to side to work the tines into the ground...

standing on the crossbar to push the broadfork into the soil
loosening and aerating soil with broadfork

 ...Stepping off the bar, you can pull on the handle just a bit to loosen and aerate the soil around the tines, or leverage the handle further back for a complete breaking of the soil. It moves the soil without removing it, aerating it, resulting in a beneficial environment for soil microbes. (This loosening action is far preferable to the pulverizing action of motorized tillers.)

drawing the broadfork toward you as you step back

Stepping backward while drawing the broadfork 6-8" toward you, repeat the procedure. The work goes exceedingly fast, with little effort. That's why we call it the best broadfork on the market.

Changing the tine arrangement

Using a 7/16” wrench (adjustable or socket)  and an additional tool to hold the tine steady as you are loosening and tightening the lock nut. A pipe wrench works best, but a  vise-grip or pliers will do.

Insert each tine through the appropriate predrilled holes in the tinebar at the broadfork base.
wrenches used to assemble broadfork tines

There are 11 holes for tines on the tinebar.

For a 4 tine broadfork: insert tines into the two end holes and into two inner holes so that all tines are spaced 6" apart.

For a 5 tine broadfork: insert tines into the 2nd holes from each end and space the inner tines so that they are (just under) 4" apart.

For a 7 tine broadfork: insert tines into the two end holes, and the remaining 5 tines so that all tines are 3" apart.

Use the wrenches to securely tighten the locknuts on each tine.

Showing how to instal tines on broadfork

While not essential to position the tines so that the beveled ends are aligned, it is helpful, especially in working tight soil.)



 Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about my broadfork. 

Richard Cartwright--broadfork inventor 


47" Broadfork

53" Broadfork