Many people are under the impression that it is impossible to learn how to prepare a garden without a tiller. The thought process behind this belief is that tillers are the tools of past farmers. They are the method of cultivating and harvesting most garden vegetables and fruits. The old fashioned tillers of yesteryear were heavy, crude and not particularly user friendly. To most people they appeared as a huge, unsightly piece of machinery.
In an age where modern convenience and minimal effort are at the forefront of many people’s lifestyles, it is easy to forget how important and popular a garden tool like the tiller really was in days gone by. There were far fewer options for gardens. In some regions and environments, such as the Appalachian Mountains, gardens would be almost totally reliant upon the use of ground tilling equipment. Most of these areas still require tilling to extract soil and plant seeds.
Tilling has always been time consuming. It required a tremendous amount of force, which meant that individuals would be in frequent contact with their own fields of crops. Furthermore, the tiller also caused some erosion issues. This problem is not present today. Modern tillers are skinnier and move a lot slower. Learning how to prepare a garden without a tiller is relatively simple and easy.
One of the best ways to learn how to prepare a garden without a tiller is by using something that looks and feels like one. For example, a garden fork is often quite attractive and does most of the tilling for you. Fork lifts are inexpensive and can be easily carried around the field.
A spade is another item of garden equipment that can be used to learn how to prepare a garden without a tiller. Spades have a wide variety of uses and can be carried around easily. Many varieties are self-propelled and are great for digging ditches for pools and sewers. If you have a larger garden area, one option is a raised bed. Beds allow you to be less dependent on others and can help with erosion problems.
Another way to learn how to prepare a garden without a tiller is to buy an excavator. Excavators are not as common as they used to be, but some are still powered by steam or water pressure from behind a tractor. These work well in larger areas and allow you more control over how the soil is excavated, but are not appropriate for smaller gardens. The other problem they can cause is a slip. They are heavy and difficult to move, plus, unless you have a good bit of property, it may not be feasible.
One final option is the hoe. Like a garden fork, they are all self-propelled by the wind. You will find them easier to move than a forklift and can be used for digging holes, but like a fork, they require practice to become proficient at the use. Still, many people prefer them because they have a smooth action that cuts through soil, which eliminates most of the work. When learning how to prepare a garden without a tiller, keep this fact in mind. You may have to do a lot of back and forth to work, but it is worth the effort when you’re finished garden is impressive.
Of course, if you live in an area where there is not much ground to be worked, you will not be able to get very far with your garden. If this is the case, you will need a shovel and a tiller or cultivator. They are more expensive, but if you have a large garden or are just working with a small piece of land, you will not need any other tools. They are also much more convenient, as you do not have to lug around a full-size garden toolbox with you every time you need to dig up some dirt. These are your three basic choices in how to prepare a garden without a tiller.