Tilling

The garden is tilled and almost ready to plant! It took a lot longer than expected (what doesn’t when you’re doing it yourself?) but we finished it on Sunday. The original plan was for me to spend all day Friday tilling it myself. That didn’t happen, and quite frankly, I’m glad.

The tool rental place made us a deal: pick up the tiller after 3 on Friday and we could keep it until Monday morning at the one day rental rate. After some discussion, we decided that was the way to go and I’m glad we did. If you’re going to till a new garden area this year, I highly recommend you rent the tiller instead of buying one, unless you have a good bit of cash to spare and can pick up a good one cheaply. The one we rented had about twice the power of one we could afford to buy. Plus, it was considerably cheaper. The cheapest tiller we found that would work for our needs cost $300 new. Total rental cost: $54 for the day, plus $1.44 in gas.

Here’s the tiller when I got it home on Friday:

Tiller Honking big tiller.

We got to work about 5 o’clock on Friday. T spent the night with her grandmother so we had all evening. 2.5 hours later, when darkness closed in, we’d done the first pass over half the garden area. And it sucked. It probably won’t take you that long to till your new garden area; ours is about 1500 square feet, which is considerably longer than average.

How long it will take you to till will depend on several factors: the type and condition of the soil (clay soil takes longer), how long it’s been since your ground was last tilled, and the power of the tiller you use. Always use a front-tine tiller to till an area covered in sod. It’s the most efficient way. You really need to be in good shape to till; if you’re not, consider hiring out the job. It won’t cost you much more than renting a tiller. If you’ll only be tilling a small area it might even be cheaper.

A note for those without much upper body strength: This means the majority of women and small-statured men. Tillers are not built for us. They just aren’t. This doesn’t mean you can’t use one. I did. It just means it’s going to be considerably harder. Don’t give up.

Back to the task at hand. Neither one of us had time to till on Saturday, so we had to get it down on Sunday. It took another 1.5 to finish the first pass. The first pass is the one where you chew up the sod. You may only have to do one pass if you don’t have clay soil.

We aren’t that lucky, but the second pass proved to be much easier than the first -it only took an hour to do the whole plot!

Here are the before and after pics:

Before Tilling Friday afternoon

After tilling Yesterday

Floyd Floyd dog helped take the pictures after rolling in the grass that’s been composting at the back of the yard all winter.

I marked out the rows and paths yesterday. Today I’m hoping to get the cover crop in the ground. It’s slowly coming along!

Expect an update on plants and the house soon.

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