Last Wednesday at middlethorpe hall, in between weeding and forking over sessions in the Spring garden, I learnt how to lift turf. Now I’ve tried lifting turf in the past with a spade and found it really hard going, every turf coming out a different thickness, or even simply in an uneven lump…not ideal if you want to reuse it somewhere else in the garden!
Now, a turfing iron (which I’d never even heard of before) isn’t something you’re likely to need to use often in your own garden, but it sure makes life a lot easier. I guess it does look pretty similar to a spade, the main difference being the shape of the blade and the angle of the blade. It’s blade is shaped a bit like a heart, and is flat as opposed to the gentle curve a spade blade has. The blade is positioned at an angle to the long handle so that when used properly the blade can simply be pushed along the ground.
So how do you use a turfing iron? Well first of all you need to use a half-moon to mark out squares of turf about a foot square, they need to be of a suitable size to lift with the blade of the iron. Then you just simply use the turfing iron to slide under each turf in turn using a back and forth motion a little at a time, pushing against the end of the handle. You can make the turf as thick as you like just adjust the depth at which you insert the turfing iron. Because the turfing iron has a flat blade it simply glides under the turf cutting through the soil and roots to give you a smooth surface, which makes it much easier to reuse the turf elsewhere.