These pictures don't begin to convey the sheer hard work, sweat and determination that go into breaking sod for a garden. Kent has been phenomenal. Man and machine both worked hard. He's the only one who didn't quit. We borrowed Val and Amol's tiller and, very sadly, it had a fatal breakdown while we were using it. We felt terrible. Kent turned to a shovel and began turning sod by hand. Then he found a used tiller on Craigslist and we drove to Ohio and bought that. It will need some time in the shop this winter for tuning and it took a bit of fiddling but Kent ran it until one of the belts gave way. It's a Toro rear-tine tiller and he plans to get it in top shape by next spring. Then we rented an even bigger tiller. Here he is doing maintenance on one of the first two tillers...
The garden is really starting to look good. We were very encouraged by the soil that he turned up. It appears to be pretty healthy, loamy and drains well. I did a soil test and even without amending it, it had pretty balanced results. We are going to garden organically so we will use it as is this year and begin the composting and manuring this fall for next year.
Then there's the arm tiring work of digging holes for fenceposts. Kent tried to sink each one 30 inches deep. We worked with 8 foot posts to put up 4 foot high fencing.
He's happiest when he has a job to do and it's coming together nicely.
It took two plus rolls of fencing to go the distance. Here Kent's splicing the second join.
Here it is with the fence stretched and in place. Next a gate and we'll be much more secure from the competition of the deer, rabbits, raccoons and woodchucks.
A well deserved break in the shade.
If you look closely you can see the garden is now staked and plotted. Of course, I had a master plan to work from that I laid out in Excel.
Now we were ready to buy some seeds. I had the nicest experience at the Conneautville Farmer's Exchange. Have I mentioned that I love our new little town? It's got it all going on. A nice restaurant, a candy shop, a hardware where Sue can find you anything you need, a pretty complete grocery, a gas station, a library, a post office, no bars but there is an American Legion, a fire station, four or more churches, and other places I've failed to mention. Anyway, back to the Farmer's Exchange. I was beyond jazzed when I discovered that they sell non-hybrid seeds in bulk there. I went in with my list and Lynn proceeded to measure seeds out of jars and bins for me. I came home with nearly everything I needed to get my garden underway. And we're not talking seed packets like you buy off a rack, no, these babies have enough in them probably for this year and next.
And I love that my seed potatoes were in paper bags tied with twine and everything else when in this groovy Carhart (free gift with purchase) bag. And all my questions were answered with kindness and knowledge. The total bill? $32.00. I mean, really.