I rototilled the garden today, with a tiny Mantis tiller that was barely up to the job. Over and over, I let it churn well into the dirt, then yarded it and some dirt back towards me, then let it go dig a little deeper, repeat. Working back and forth along the leading edge, and constantly picking the rocks it drug up. This was the only way for its modest tine reach to really turn over at least a foot of earth. It meant doing lateral row motions thousands of times, with the consequence that I now feel exactly like I’ve done thousands of lateral rows, but I’m happy with the dirt. If the thing weren’t rented by the day, I’d definitely have taken two days to do it. Six hours straight running of the machine, and my back feels every minute, but the results are nice.
All the manure that wouldn’t dissolve out of its pellet shape in the first till was softened by the rain we’ve had since, and as I churned the sedimentary clay with some of the sand that lay beneath, and the manure mixed in thoroughly, the soil looked much darker and more promising. I’m quite happy now with the results. The soil is a year and many yards of compost and manure and mulch from beauteous black soil, but at least it looks like it will support life now. I continue to be joyously appreciative of the total absence of weeds in the former pond, and smug about my choice to turn pond to garden (we’ll see how long that lasts). It was rocky to till, but absolutely rootless. Hopefully the last till ever and the rest is up to straw and the worms. I know many worms died today.
It was a perfect day for it, a sunny window in an everlasting week of deluge. I got a nice sunburn, in fact, which reflects that I worked my way consistently across the garden facing west the whole time.