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Getting the Garden In

Five years have passed since I've turned a patch of lawn into a workable garden without the aid of a lawn tractor.  Now I remember why.

I do have a spectacular front-tine tiller.  I just didn't recall how much extra work it is to break up established sod.  Eight hundred square feet of established sod.

Had I been on the farm, or had the garden space already been established, I would have had some seedlings in the ground almost two months ago.  Alas, getting access to the right equipment at a time I could use it--between every other friggin other thing--proved impossible.  But two days ago, I acquired a tiller and set to work.

Shallow till, just enough to chew up the sod.  Rake out the clumps.  Another shallow till.  Rake out the clumps.  Till a little deeper, north to south, then east to west.  Till a little deeper, diagonals.  Dump in peat, compost, and a little sand.  Rake it around.  Till, and till again.

I've only reached the second "rake out the clumps."  The tiller, heavy as it is, bucks and pulls because the earth is uneven and hasn't been worked.  Yesterday I felt as if I'd trained karate for six hours.  Unfortunately, I then had to go teach karate.

But I wouldn't be doing it at all if I didn't get great satisfaction from growing my own food--from knowing it hasn't been bathed in chemicals, that it's been allowed to ripen naturally and fully, and that I can go out my back door to choose my produce.  So today I'll be bonding with my dear tiller again, with the goal of plunking seedlings in the ground this weekend.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
tbonejenkins
May. 17th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
We just got a tiny electric tiller of our own. Been using it in the vegetable garden. Nice for chopping up soil that's overrun by weeds.

I've also been experimenting with the sheet composting method for my side garden. We have a pit we throw dead leaves into, so I layer that, newspaper, hay, and veggie scraps and top with more compost. Got brussel sprouts, swiss chard and beans growing in it, and they seem to be doing very nicely!
blairmacg
May. 17th, 2012 04:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, excellent! Awesome on the composting.

I love growing Brussels sprouts. They just look neat (and taste really good roasted with garlic).

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Blair MacGregor
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