A couple of years ago, I took on my first vegetable garden. In previous years I had watched my husband start the garden and, as the Summer became busy, it would turn into a weedy mess. Usually after the weeds would take over, I would reluctantly go in and help bring it back to life. One Spring, I decided to take over the garden work, start to finish. This decision has led me into one of my most favorite hobbies. I love the quiet stillness of my backyard, the sun beaming overhead, the warmth of the earth, and the birds happily chirping. As I work in solitude, I love to feel that I am creating my own little oasis at home.
This year, I was in need of a rototiller…or, actually, I didn’t have one. My neighbors had kindly offered theirs in the past and I knew I could probably ask again. However, this year, I decided that I wanted to take on the task of cultivating my garden without a gas guzzling, oil drinking machine. My reason for this was simple: It seemed crazy that I needed the use of fossil fuels to create a beautiful garden. I wanted this garden to be created with my own hands and simple gardening tools. No power, no pollution, no chemicals. Yes, I wanted to use only my muscles to power my garden!
After researching this idea, I found out that many people use hand tools to grow a successful garden. In fact, they pointed out that a garden hand-cultivated is less weedy, since it doesn’t forcefully throw the weed seeds into the soil. They suggested pulling all the weeds up first to control these weeds. The next step is then to add manure or compost (we have a great compost pile out back) onto the soft soil. Finally, they suggested using a basic hand cultivator to mix it all up.
This process took a few hours over a few days to complete. I was tired and sore, but I felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment. I was overjoyed at how beautiful my garden looked. After I planted my seeds, I would enjoy daily strolls around my yard, checking for new plants to emerge. After a week or two, my garden began to grow.
Through this process, I have learned that I can use my muscle power to do practical work. In fact, using hand tools for tilling makes me think more about how I can use my muscles, instead of machines, to complete chores around the house.
Do you have any other ideas? I’d love to hear them!