It has occurred to us Bouldarians the past couple of days that we have used no gas in the planting and maintenance of the market garden this year. All the beds have been prepped either with the big broadfork or the wheel hoe and than raked. No tiller needed.
Eugene is finding that by doing everything by hand means a lot more finesse. Machines tend to compact the soil and break things like irrigation lines and young plants if one is not careful. Using a hoe, shovel or broadfork is a lot easier on the soil and the environment.
If we could get over our addiction to plastic food grade buckets, row cover, hoop house plastic, plastic seedling trays, and the landscape fabric we would would be pretty durned sustainable along with driving a V-8 Dodge Ram Van (though we do not drive daily and always combine trips) and using the grid for electric and natural gas. As it is, for Americans, we are quite sustainable but I believe we can and will do better.
At any rate, I hope we can continue with gas free farming for a while yet. Eventually the BCS will have to be used for something like mowing the hillside and likely a couple of new beds will be opened up this spring and that is a lot faster with the plow and tiller (like 5 hours to open a bed by hand, 30 minutes with the plow and tiller). And the grass will grow and while we do have a reel mower to use it the grass has to be short and doing 2+ acres with one is not realistic. So the gas mowers will have to be used to keep the grass neat and well kept so the neighbors do not look badly upon us (and they will too-it's the American way).