For every year of my married adult life my husband and I have had a garden. Even when we first got married and lived in an apartment, we still had a garden. I have started many new gardens in my lifetime and hope to start many many more! The first thing I always do is wait for a nice soaking 24+ hour rain. We recently had one of these kinds of rains here just two days ago, so I took the opportunity to dig out a new section for our garden and planted rutabagas, turnips, spinach and kale for a fall harvest.
The area had been previously overrun with massive weeds, but the nice soaking rain loosened up all their roots and so pulling them out was a cinch! This is why you wait for a nice soaking rain 😀
You can see exactly in the picture just how tall the weeds were. To pull them out you simply don some sturdy leather work gloves, grab the plant very firmly at the base as close to the ground as possible and pull…as long as the ground is wet enough 80% of the weeds should come out with very little to slightly moderate effort. With the other 20% of the weeds, you’ll get the plant but the roots will get left behind..no biggie, they’ll get dug out later on..the main goal right now is simply to clear the spot of weeds.
Once the spot is mostly cleared of weeds, grab a shovel and start digging 😀 My most favorite shovel is the Kobalt “Excavator”, at least that is what it was called when we bought two of them nearly ten years ago, now they’re called “Kobalt short-handle fiberglass digging shovel“. Why a shovel? you might ask, Why not a tiller? Well, there are three main reasons why I prefer a shovel 1.) They don’t make any noise. Gasoline powered tillers are obnoxiously LOUD, which is annoying and turns the pleasant task of garden work into a drudgery simply to be tolerated. 2.) Shovels don’t stink! Gasoline powered tillers stink! They stink BAD! 3.) Shovels don’t require gasoline. Other than the initial upfront cost and the price of a metal file for the occasional sharpening, as long as you clean it after every use and keep it stored away in a dry place, the shovel will last for many many years without any further money or time lost in maintenance. Like I said before we’ve had ours for nearly ten years, they are 25 bucks each, so for only 50 bucks we have been using the same shovels to garden for going on ten years now…that’s 5 bucks a year in money spent so far. Save the gasoline for the chainsaw! 😆
Another thing that most people don’t ever consider: Digging makes you STRONG! -and that’s a good thing! Not only will you save money over using a tiller and paying for gasoline and maintenance for that tiller, but you will also reap the many physical benefits of digging with a shovel. No need to jump up and down in front of your TV or pay someone to let you walk in place on their machine in a room that smells like sweat filled with other people who are all doing the same exact thing…like some sorta hamster wheel for humans, NO THANK YOU! Why do any of that shit when you can just grow a garden?? You get the benefits of the physical labor as well as the nutritional benefits of all the tasty fruits and veggies you will eat. Sounds like a win-win situation if you ask me 😀
Digging is very simple, anyone of average and even less than average physical fitness can do so. Those of less than average physical fitness may have to go it slowly and not be able to dig much at first, but if you discipline yourself and keep on going you WILL get stronger and be able to dig more and more…after all, you have to start somewhere, and I can think of no better way to get fit than growing your own food!
The way I dig, I just jab my shovel into the ground, stand on the flattened steel part with one foot (sometimes both feet) and push the shovel using my weight and lower body strength as deeply into the ground as it will go. Then, with my knees slightly bent, lifting with my legs and NOT my back (so important!) I flip the “clod” of dirt upside down so that what was the top of the ground is now at the bottom of the hole and the bottom of the “clod” is now the new surface of the soil. Then I take my shovel and stab at the clod repeatedly until it is all broken up and pushed down into the hole, removing any roots, sticks, rocks etc. that I may find as I break up the clod. Any weeds that were left are now at the bottom of a 10-12 inch deep hole covered by a new layer of dirt, once you plant your seeds by the time the roots get down that far the weeds will have long decomposed and added nutritional benefit to the soil. This works when it’s only a few weeds, but not with many, so don’t think you can take the easy way out and skip the weed pulling part before you dig…it will not work 😛
The plot in the pictures is about 10′ x 15′ and only took me about 90 minutes from weeding to a freshly dug plot, and that’s for a nearly 6 month pregnant woman who had to take many pee breaks! lol And look, if a nearly 6 month pregnant woman can do it, then so can you 😀