Alright, so we’re going to try to get back on track with articles here. I know the site hasn’t been updated in a bit, but we’ve been quite busy behind the scenes, and taking pictures as we go. I’ve had to change up the way we had planned on doing our garden due to some soil/tool issues, and we’ve had several things that have died off due to the weather, neglect, and just not being able to get them to a good home soon enough.
The first thing I’m going to get into, is how we’re changing up our methods a bit. If you remember some of the previous posts, I had planned on tilling up a good chunk of the back yard and just plant things directly into the ground. Well, that didn’t quite work.
I purchased a small Front Tine tiller from Lowe’s. I went small and cheaper (compared to the larger ones) because well, I’m cheap. Part of the motivation behind gardening, is to save some money. If I spend a ton on tools, dirt, and whatnot then I’ll be cancelling out my garden provided savings. Anyway, back to the tiller its self. This thing is probably great if you need to run it through some really loose dirt in a flower bed, or maybe to mix up your compost pile. Beyond that, at least as far as I can tell, it’s pretty much useless. It’s way too light to really get into any dirt to till it up, and I suspect that even if it had been previously plowed, it would just move chunks of dirt around.
I tried my very hardest to make this thing work. I worked for hours upon hours out in my little 25’x8’ area, and managed to get 2 rows ready to plant in. So out of that 25’x8’ plot, I have 2 rows, 25’ long, and about 1’ wide each. For the probably 8 hours I spent on this, that’s terrible, and a terrible waste of time. In order to even get those 2 rows, I first had to manually plow a bit with a shovel. I would drop the shovel in the ground, and turn over the dirt. Then I went over that with the tiller in hopes that it would easily till it all up. Negative. It still didn’t really do anything, there still just wasn’t enough weight on the front of this thing, and the dirt was just too hard. Even after the INCREDIBLE amount of rain we’ve received in recent weeks. So how do I fix that? With some man-power.
As a quick disclaimer, I in absolutely no way recommend that you use this process. It’s dangerous, and will likely get you hurt/maimed/killed. Do not do this.
To get some weight on the front of the tiller, I stood off to the side of it, one hand on the main handlebar where the Tine-Spin Control is, and one hand on the front carrying handle of this thing. I then put lots of my weight on that front carrying handle, and engaged the tines with my other arm. This caused the tiller to really dig in and get the job done. Seems simple right? Yeah, it’s simple as far as the steps go, but it’s still incredibly intensive, and a horrible idea.
My face was only about a foot from the motor of this thing, and the exhaust. Inhaling exhaust fumes is never a good idea. Also, my hands and feet were too close to the tines, and I’ve seen firsthand how that can cause a terrible injury.
When I was a teenager, I went over to my aunt and uncle’s house to help them with their garden. My uncle went into the storage area of their basement, retrieved the tiller and brought it out. As we were walking down to the garden, he was showing me how to engage the tines, and general use of the tiller. Well, the tiller hit a bump in the yard, causing the tines to grab some ground and pull him forward. In that motion, he slipped on the dew covered grass and his leg went under the tiller and into the tines. Horrible right?Exactly. It caused a really bad wound on his leg, and I believe broke the bone. We had to call an ambulance and get him to the hospital where they fixed him up, but he had months of recovery from this and still suffers issues from it today, around 10 years later. Now do you see why you shouldn’t mess around with these things? Exactly. I’m dumb, and shouldn’t have engaged in improper use of this thing, but I also have testosterone pumping through my veins and that causes temporary stupidity.
To add to all of that, this was incredibly hard on my already injured back, as it’s a weird position to put your body in for a long period of time. Either way though, I managed to get 2 rows done. I decided that the work/risk was not worth the reward, especially considering how rocky the soil was just a few inches below the topsoil.
The ‘Burbs weren’t designed to facilitate gardening.
We’re going to plant a row of green beans here, and put our Beet plants in the other row for this year. We’ll have to assess the situation, and see if we can find a better way next year. Anyone need a good deal on a small front tine tiller?
So now what? I have all this stuff that still needs to go into the ground, and no place to put it. Well, that’s where we’re going to have to get a little creative. Be sure to check out the next article about building a raised bed.
Below, you can see the 2 rows that I managed to get finished. This picture was taken after I finished my raised bed… but just ignore that for now.