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Hey everybody, I have a problem, I have no tiller to tear the garden up with. Any ideas on how to break up th ground without one,been doing it my hand with a hoe but it is so much tougher with this ground. I don't know anybody to borrow one from and can't afford to buy one right now,Has anybody tried the claw thing they use to advertise on tv?
Tillers are one of the most common items available in those rent-all places. You usually can get one by the day for relatively little money. Once the heavy work is done with the rented tiller, hand work becomes pretty easy.
I have a claw. I bought it after I hurt my back at work and still wanted to play in the dirt. It worked ok with my fairly lose dirt but don't know about on new ground.
Try the lasagna method this is how I prepare all my new beds. You take either cardboard or several layers of newspaper and cover the ground grass weeds and all( I Smothered out poision Ivy with it. Then layer peat and compost or bags of topsoil or whatever you have in layers and then plant in it.I did this last spring and planted annuals and then turned the whole thing in the fall and it was so easy.
That "lasagna" method is a good idea...I do it but I didn't know what it was called. In spring, I pull it back where I want to plant and hand turn with a spading fork. One problem I have with the "layering" is slugs, snails, pillbugs, and cutworms. They love to live under that damp stuff. Diatamaceous earth is good for control. However, I've been working my garden area for years now so the ground is easy to work. I hire someone to come in with their Kobota tractor tiller and till up new areas that I want to start working...he usually charges me about $30 for it. Once that's done, I can usually work the area myself. My husband bought me a Mantis last fall and I can't wait for the ground to dry enough to get out there with that. I think it's going to be great for edging beds and keeping grass out of areas I don't want it in. But my greatest tool, the one I cannot do without, is the spading fork. Get a good one (forged, not welded). I like the diamond shaped tines rather than the flat ones...it just digs better.
I use the lasagna method too! I use it in my raised beds. Instead of digging out the sod, I layer the cardboard then fill up the bed with lots of rotted compost and some dirt.
If you are in a rural area and want a large area tilled up check with some of the farmers, or at the feed store for who might be available with their tractors, plows, and disks. We have several that make a side business of it in the spring.
I had a large garden and a neighbor let me borrow a Mantis two years ago. Amazing what this litle machine can do. So I bought a identical machine, it's from Echo. Same thing but cost less. For new area, I do the Lasagna method and since I have free woodships, I top the area with 3 to 4 inches of that. The year after, I work the bed with the Echo machine. I plant and top again with new mulch. Work great for me.