I had shoulder surgery a little over a year ago, so when I decided to add another veg garden I knew it was going to be tough. I dug most of it with a hand trowel because I cannot use my upper body well enough (without hurting myself) to use a shovel. Needless to say I carved out 1/2 way along the back fence in this manner. It took me several hours a day for a week and a half.
Today I tried another method. I have a short shovel w/ a square head. I sat down on the dirt where I already dug and put the shovel between my feet and pushed with my legs. I managed to cut out the last 1/2 in about 45 min!!!
The area is about 40'X3'. Wow are my legs tired, but my back and shoulder are great!
Just thought I might pass this along in case anyone else has a hard time with this daunting task.