Pitchforks work great for moving hay or threatening monsters, but they have limited use in turning up and aerating soil — the design just doesn’t give you a lot of leverage. If your soil’s too packed, plants have a harder time growing, and if you rely on a tiller, it can mix your built-up compost and topsoil with the lower soil too much. If you want a low-tech solution, look into a broadfork or U-bar.
The wide head of a broadfork can turn up a lot of ground in one go. And the double handle allows you to use both hands and your weight to pull up on the tines — you can step down on the space between the handles to push the fork into even the most compacted soil, gently loosening it up for growing. Also, you’ll stand out among the torches and pitchforks at the next unruly mob gathering.
Prices on the tool range between $130 to $230, and it can be difficult to find. But the design of the broadfork is so simple, some people make their own.