Before we bought our farm last year, it was a hayfield for as long as anyone can remember. As a result we have deep, rich topsoil that has accumulated over the years of perennial growth and decomposition. It also means that our field is compacted – the result of years of machines driving over it to cut and bale hay.
Compaction makes it difficult for plants to get all the nutrition and water available underground, and can cause drainage problems in the spring. This year we bought a broadfork – a 5 foot tall fork with five, 14-inch blades for tines. By forking the majority of our field with this tool, we’ve managed to break through a lot of the compacted sub-soil. A carrot we pulled yesterday (photo above) is evidence that all that effort is paying off. That taproot is almost 2 feet long!