Why have a garden?
There is something satisfying about growing your own food. And there are advantages of a garden versus having chickens or larger animals. First you don’t have to butcher a head of lettuce or remove its feathers. Second, you can leave a garden unattended for a few days. Third, my garden doesn’t make a lot of noise. From a financial point of view you can save some money but if you include your cost of labor you will find it doesn’t pay. But a home-made salad, fresh strawberries, or a meal where most of it came from the garden is satisfying.
Starting the garden
There were two locations on our property where we might put a garden. One had more privacy and as I found out later, better topsoil and drainage. I started looking up how to get going and came across raised beds and decided to dig a few. I ‘double dug’ them which was very labor intensive and did not till the first year, since no-till ‘sounded good’. Fast forward… I now rototill. And I don’t double-dig new raised beds. The Palouse has deep topsoil and our garden has topsoil over 1 foot deep. I rototill it each Spring as soon as it is dry enough.
We already had several combustion engines and there is only so many I want to maintain. I found an electric rototiller on amazon that was highly rated. After three years use it has hit numerous large rocks, some concrete and a few large pieces of metal and it has kept going. It is the Earthwise 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller and Cultivator TC70001, currently $89.20 on Amazon. I actually used it for two years before I realized the wheels are supposed to rotate up while you are tilling :). It actually worked pretty well even with the wheels down. It has plenty of power and I like not having to mess with and listen to a combustion engine. The one challenge is the cord. I destroyed one cord the first year, but have not gotten the cord caught since then. I have a system now where I wrap it over my shoulder and that keeps it away from the moving parts.
I listen to podcasts or audiobooks while rototilling. The electric motor is not so loud so earbuds block enough of the noise that I can hear fine.