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Monday, January 16, 2006

Digging Beds

It's a really nice day today. Sunny temps in the high 40's low 50's. So we spent part of the day opening up garden beds and broad forking one that was opened a couple of months ago but nothing else.

All I can say is my husband is in incredible physical shape. In the time it took me to get 75% of a 50' bed forked he'd opened a whole bed. It is far harder to cut into sod and turn the sod over with a shovel than it is to take a broad fork and loosen the soil in the bed. And yet he managed to open a bed, finish my forking task because I was not in good enough shape to finish the job. And than he went on to open up another bed by hand.

The forking did wipe me out. I have not done anything so physical in about months. It was an hour and a half of hard work jumping on the broad fork to get the tines 12" in the ground and than pulling down on the handle to pop the chunk of soil up. After 10 minutes of that I was sweating good and my heart was pumping hard. By the time I was done I was feeling like I had done some work.

If I can do this a few times a week I oughta be able to broad fork a couple of beds in an hour by the end of February.

By now you must be wondering if we are insane because we are doing a fairly big market garden by hand and we are in our 40's. Probably, but we do this for a reason, Soil is alive and machinery tends to damage the soil. We could buy a tractor or use one of the 2 wheeled BCS tractors we have but frankly the best beds are done by hand, not by machine. Eugene was trying to do this job with the tiller and the tiller did get through the sod but it was also whacking the soil and causing hard pan (a layer of soil that has been packed down so that it does not allow good drainage nor is it easy for roots to penetrate it.) And right now the soil is pretty damp so the machines would either get bogged down in the soil or, far worse, would start destroying the tilth or soil structure.

So we will be spending the next several months picking away at the garden beds and it looks like by spring we should have over 30 ready to go. We have 18 opened as of today

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