I recently purchased a used Troybilt Pony Rototiller that I found on Craigslist. We wanted a tiller because we’re currently planning a garden around 2500 square feet, as well as a greenhouse with earth beds and also a few separate and permanent beds for things like asparagus. The site where these beds will be located is currently a hard packed horse pasture. I’ll need to incorporate as much manure, compost and other material as I can so the garden has a good start.
I’m following in my father’s footsteps again on this one. When I was younger in the 1980s we had a Troybilt Pony. The thing is absolutely unstoppable and is perfect for a garden of this scale. The machine I found was in great condition and was a little older. This is preferred because I’ve read that the newer models in more recent years leave much to be desired in terms of manufacturing quality. Just as in about anything, they don’t make ’em like they used to. That’s why I’m glad to have found an older model.
Eventually I’d like to build the soil up to the point where lots of tilling isn’t needed, but that’ll take several years. I do have my eye on one of these babies, though, for some time in the future.
It’s garden planning time around our house. Just so you get a feel for what it’s like around our house right now, our coffee table is stacked high with gardening books, seed catalogs and graph paper. Robert and I are both obsessed and our poor children have to either scream for our attention or physically remove the book from our hands. I like to think that I am the master gardener in the house but he seems to think that he is. This leads to many arguments over where to plant things and what to plant. Our latest argument is about how much to plant. I always want to plant less, he always wants to plant more. Since he usually wins the how much to plant argument, we need to figure out where it all goes.
Since reading Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman, which I highly recommend, Robert recommended that we use a technique talked about in the book and that is make all beds the same size and all the foot paths the same size. Why didn’t I think of that? As I sketch out the garden I am constantly consulting Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog to find out plant spacing and row width, etc. I get a little carried away, as is my habit, and the plans end of being somewhat complicated. So to simplify, this year we are making all our beds 30 inches wide and all our foot paths 12 inches. Done.
If you want to learn more or how to plant different veggies in those sized beds, you’d better check the book out of the library or order it on amazon. It’s a good one. I have consulted it at least a few hundred times in the last week alone.
Wish me luck on my upcoming battles with self proclaimed master gardener, Robert. 🙂