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Garden Talk: A non-back breaking way to double dig!!!

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onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

April 19, 2010
7:49 PM

Post #7719803

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.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 25, 2010
5:04 PM

Post #7736574

Be careful. Don't wear out your legs. It's hard to balance garden activities. I try to do a little, then rest, and then go at it again. I have tried to employ someone to do a little of the back breaking work--but no one is interested.
onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

April 27, 2010
9:06 AM

Post #7742047

LOL, tried to get my husband to volunteer, but he declined...
I was able to do quite a bit in one shot w/o making my legs too tired. The down side was my bottom hurt pretty bad the next day.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 28, 2010
11:19 AM

Post #7745539

It sure would be nice if we could just get these men to help us do the really physically challenging tasks! My husband helps me better now than he did years ago. I think he's finally seen how beautiful gardens can be. And, how yummy fresh vegetables taste right out of the garden. I have also pointed out that it saves us money. I also put up the produce we don't eat fresh. Plus, gardening brings in lots of birds that I have him interested in also. Hope your butt is feeling better!
onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

April 29, 2010
8:39 AM

Post #7748221

Defiantly better.
I did get him to move some heavy posts that I am using as a boarder in another bed. That one I am not digging up, I am using the lasagna method and will not plant until next year.
Hey, every little bit helps, right?

If only gardening was more like a shoot 'em up video game, he would be helping all the time :-)
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 29, 2010
8:04 PM

Post #7750058

Yes, I take all the help from my husband I can get in any form I can get. The last couple of days I have been re-defining my garden borders and digging up the grass. I am getting pain in my left knee and my lower back. I'm probably two thirds finished, but I am afraid I am going to have to wait a few days to re-coup and then finish it. Where I have dug around the border, it looks really nice. I have been disabled for 8 years with an auto immune disease and it is backing off a little bit now. The borders have needed tending for a very long time and it has bothered me, but I have been unable to straighten them up until this spring. It feels SO GOOD to be able to get outside and do some really physical work.
BTW, my husb. did help me do some digging. And he did just put in a raised bed for me for which I am very thankful.
onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

April 30, 2010
2:06 PM

Post #7751899

Wow, that stinks about the disability, but it is great to hear that you are able to play in the dirt now.

What do you grow?
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2010
3:40 PM

Post #7752116

Oh, a little of everything like everyone else. I have peonies, hibiscus, daffodils, tulips, wild sweet william, viburnum shrubs, kwanzan cherry trees, yoshino cherry tree, roses, clematis, cheddar pinks, lilies, dogwoods, japanese maple, crepe myrtles, lavender, lots of perennials, annuals, and heirloom tomatoes, and other veggies.
How about you? Is your new garden for flowers or veggies?
onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 2, 2010
2:42 PM

Post #7757693

Most of it is new this year. I have a bunch of iris, roses, hostas, ferns, tulips, daffodils, strawberries and some perennials that I do not know the names of.
New this year is tomatoes from seed, luffa gourd, carrots, various lettuces, basil, broccoli, green beans, peas, various annuals and 27 perennials I ordered from bluestone perennials.

The new bed is for veggies. I plan on putting in about 12-15 tomato plants, along with all the other veggies mentioned above. I think I am going to put a few annual flowers in with them just to make it more attractive.

Back to help from the hubby...A friend of mine works with a guy who owns a feed lot. There is one that has not been used in over 3 years. They let me go out to get as much manure as I wanted. I had planned on doing it myself, but my husband told me I was crazy to think that my body would allow me to shovel so much. So he came with and we got a large truck load for a bed that I plan on planting in next year. That on is going to be a shade garden on the side of out house.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 2, 2010
6:58 PM

Post #7758534

Good for husb.!! I always tell my husb. "I'll give you a big ole kiss if you..." He smiles and I usually can get him to do the task! :) Aren't we sneaky?
Good for you to get the manure.
27 perennials from Bluestone! Your gardens are going to look pretty. Be sure to take pictures and share when they get established. I have a hard time buying perennials when I can winter sow them for pennies.
onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 4, 2010
6:40 PM

Post #7764832

Yes, you can get so much for little when you sow your own, but I am too impacient. None of the plants I ordered bloom the first year if I start from seed and I am one of those who want blooms now. I did however start some columbines from seed this year and they are all doing really well so far, I haven't lost one yet!
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 5, 2010
5:26 PM

Post #7767549

For me, winter sowing perennials is a "good thing". Winter sowing annuals is a little disappointing. It takes them so long before they bloom and then poof-it's fall, and they're gone.
onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 6, 2010
7:40 AM

Post #7769116

That's true about annuals. I usually sow them in Feb, but maybe I should start them in winter so they will last longer. I am only using the annuals to fill in the spots where my perennials are still thin. I know they will bush out next year so I won't need so many. Also a friend of mine does an office yard sale for a cancer walk and I have donated a few things to help out and I hope I will be able to donate more next year.
Flicker
Covington, LA
(Zone 8b)

May 6, 2010
8:57 AM

Post #7769300

Onyxwar, The most beautiful beds the I have ever grown were done with the lasgna method. I began with an established garden plot so grass and hardened soil weren't an issue. The excellant planting soil that resulted from the several layers of various materials must be seen to be appreciated.
You know, just breaking up the area then laying down several layers of wet newspaper would probably kill the grass underneath without all of the work you did. Especially since you are leaving it for a year before planting. Also, if you can get actual composted manure from a farm it makes all the difference.
flicker
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 6, 2010
10:26 AM

Post #7769512

I donated some of my plants to a cancer fund raiser last year and was happy to do it. I don't know of anything going on right now. I am giving some of my perennials to my hairdresser, my vet, my doctor's nurse--anyone I can think of that would like to have a few plants. None of my neighbors do any flowers: all meatball shrubs.
onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 6, 2010
10:42 AM

Post #7769575

Flicker,
The bed I made by digging is for my veggies this year. The other one w/ the lasagna method will be for a shade garden next year. I only dug out the veggie one because I was finally able to talk my hubbie into letting me do it this year - he was not too keen on the idea last fall.
Flicker
Covington, LA
(Zone 8b)

May 6, 2010
2:05 PM

Post #7770017

" finally able to talk my hubbie into letting me do it this year "
Are you not a 50% owner of this place? Unless you expect some huge effort on his part, I feel that you can grow veggies without anyone else's permission.
I am sure he will eat the produce.
onyxwar
Greeley, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 7, 2010
8:16 AM

Post #7771965

Actually, he does not like anything that does not come from a can, so he will not eat anything I grow w/ the exception being lettuce. I think he was just concerned that it would look bad. I do understand where he was coming from since one of our neighbors has one that looks really bad in their front yard. Once I was able to show him what I wanted to do, he agreed that it would not look bad. He has never said anything before about what I do to the yard so I thought I would give him that one since it is also 50% his.

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