Country Lore: Tractor Substitute

A garden tiller makes moving soil much easier.
By Nathan Esplanade
August/September 2004
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When I bought a new home, I had a great deal of grading to do, and I wanted to install an underground sprinkler system. The problem was, I couldn’t afford to buy a tractor or hire the work out. After a month of grading and digging ditches with a shovel and wheelbarrow, my aching back went on strike, demanding that my brain come up with a better idea. I actually enjoyed the aerobic exercise of digging and moving the soil. What consumed all my time and hurt my body was wrenching the compacted soil out of the ground in the first place. Then it occurred to me that there is a machine for “uncompacting” soil — a garden tiller. I bought a new tiller for $600 — what a godsend! The tiller churned through the soil like it was cheese, leaving beautiful loose dirt, free of clods, which was quick and easy to shovel into the wheelbarrow. When I dug ditches for the sprinkler line, I’d till a strip wide enough that the tiller wouldn’t bind on the walls of the ditch as I descended into the ground. Worked like a charm!

Nathan Esplanade
Corning, California
 








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