In case you missed it, late last year I released an introductory video about the Prong garden tool on my YouTube Channel and this blog post is a follow-up of that…
What wasn’t mentioned in the video was the fact that the inventor of this simple yet clever and tough tool design is a man (Peter Nicol) who used to live down the street from me where I grew up, in Toowoomba, Queensland. So, when we visited Toowoomba at Christmas time to see family I popped in to say hello to Peter and he gave us (my wife and me) the good news that since my video release he had sold the most Prongs ever for a very long time.
Range of Prongs: Long, Son of Prong, General and Lady Prongs (image above)
That was indeed good news and ultimately the purpose of the video (to make more people aware that this type of garden tool existed) and hopefully turn this awareness into sales for what I think is a stellar invention that’s underrated and worthy of more recognition.
But this unique garden digging and levering tool hasn’t just appeared now, in fact, it has been around for nearly a decade winning awards and helping people to remove rocks, logs, stumps, trees, plants, grass clumps and even till the ground for a vegetable garden, fruit tree, etc in backyards all around the world.
Digging out a stump with Long Prong (images above)
I was quite amazed that I hadn’t heard of the Prong before but then again unless a product is picked up by major retailers it isn’t easy getting airtime or exposure these days. Peter tells me that the big hardware and garden stores demand a lot for very little shared profit once the cost of shelf space rental is taken out. Basically, the big end of town rip small business off and this is why he was determined to sell his tools online via his own Website, which he built and manages himself at age 75, rather than bidding for space at big retail outlets.
Back in 2013, the Prong was entered in The Australian Innovation Challenge, which is an annual nationwide innovation awards scheme, and Peter’s Prong garden tool invention reached the finals coming runners-up in the Backyard Innovation category. That’s a pretty good effort and the initial success of the Prong was very promising with the extra publicity, however, as most of us know small business is a hard slog and that’s why Peter approached me to once again try to get the word out.
Holding the very capable Son of Prong (image above)
These days, I tend to receive a lot of offers to promote products (about two every day) and whilst I am grateful to people and companies for selecting me as a person/brand to work with I politely decline the majority. The main reason I knock them back is simply that the product in question doesn’t meet my standard and if I don’t like it or want to use it I won’t promote it.
That wasn’t a problem with the Prong though and it didn’t take me long to agree to test the range of Prong tools which are: the Long Prong, Son of Prong, Lady Prong or General Prong and the Weeder Prong. Right from the start, I thought that if this tool worked as promised it would be useful here on our property.
Speaking about useful, the background story as to why Peter invented the prong in the first place was out of useful necessity. He was landscaping his block and after breaking several shovels and bending fork tines on the rocky ground Peter began working on a tool that was a cross between a shovel, fork and crowbar which was strong and enabled maximum leverage with minimal effort required by the user.
Peter teamed up with an engineering mate of his and together they designed the Long Prong which is like a crowbar only with a foothold to enable a digging motion with a forked spear-like head able to punch through the ground and grab thinner roots cutting through without easily slipping off.
Levering boulder with the Prong (image above)
Later, Peter developed the smaller Son of Prong with a garden fork-type handle for heavy but medium type jobs and then the Lady Prong which is smaller again developed specifically for easy use taking care of those lighter gardening tasks. Finally, there’s the Weeder Prong with a sharp forked end designed for pulling weeds without getting on the knees.
All the Prongs are very capable and rugged tools well built and strong enough to tackle tasks that regular garden forks or spades couldn’t handle. For example, removing rocks or rubble from a garden bed or lawn, digging down and removing an old stump, digging out trees or shrubs to relocate or take to the tip, as a lever to roll a log or lift wood and boulders and much more.
Lady Prong digging out a plant (image above)
Garden forks and spades are fine for ground where there isn’t debris but they soon become frustrating and jarring to use in rocky soil, hard clay or digging out stumps whereas the Prong is better suited and allows your much-loved fork or spade to live another day without ending up dented, bent or with a snapped handle.
The Prong also gets between roots, rocks and boulders where a shovel, spade or fork are too wide to penetrate down for good leverage. So why no use a crowbar? Well, you can but you only have one option to create the force to dig and that’s pushing or throwing down with your arms whereas the Prong has a foothold/heel similar to a shovel or fork allowing leg power to assist in the digging. On top of that, the heel can be used as the leverage point rather than having to position a brick or wood under the back of the bar to give that leverage angle.
Lifting wood sleepers with mid-sized Son of Prong (image above)
I’ve already used the Prong for several tasks on our property and whilst I admit my main tools are still a shovel, mattock and garden fork it’s really handy to have a Prong in the shed for those jobs that I know are too tough for regular garden tools. I’ve broken shovels and bent garden forks in the past all because I persisted pushing the limits past the tool’s capability and that costs money!
Breaking clay with the long prong (image above)
So, an investment in a Prong or the whole set of Prongs is definitely something I would recommend because you will not only be getting a handy tough garden tool you’ll also be supporting a homegrown small business by a man who had a dream to develop a tool that made digging just that little bit easier.
Visit the Garden Tools Now Website for more information and/or to purchase the Prong range of garden tools.
My Clay Breaking Prong Video (below)