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How much can one person double dig

 
James Landreth
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Hi Everyone! I'm starting a new garden this year and will be converting a part of a pasture into garden. In the future I hope to get into no-till, but this year I just won't have the time or the resources for it. However, I still need to grow a garden for this year's food needs. I don't have a tremendous amount of money for buying or even renting a tiller, so I'm weighing my other options. One of the options that I am thinking about is double digging the area a bit at a time over the course of a few months. I was wondering, how much is reasonable (for planning purposes) for one healthy young person to dig over the course of a few months?

I'd also welcome any other ideas for cheap ways to help to accomplish this. I will be mulching a few areas and setting up some hugelkultur beds, but a lot of that will take time before it's ready to be planted.

Thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I dug out my entire garden down approximately 18 inches to 2 feet and replaced all the rocks with logs for buried wood beds.  The garden is about 30 feet in diameter and it took me somewhat over a year of fairly regular digging, mostly with pick and shovel although one small corner was done with a mini-excavator.  I'm a middle-aged woman of average activity and strength.  My soil is heavy clay and rocks.  If you have sandy soil and no or few rocks, it should go pretty fast.

The thing about double-digging is you only need to do it once, then if later you are worried about compaction you can use a Broadfork to aerate it without turning.  So even though it might seem like a lot of work, it is only the one time.  Personally I would not ever bother with a tiller, they are just bad on your back.
 
James Landreth
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Thanks for the response! How many square feet was that do you think?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Approximately 900 square feet, but this is just a guess since I have not actually measured the garden (I can measure it tomorrow if needed).  So, not a very big space.  But I'm a slow worker!

 
James Landreth
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That's good to know! I'm hoping to do a fairly large garden and it's nice to know that it's possible.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Totally possible, and you can plant each bed as you finish to make sure weeds don't get a foothold.  Since you mention double-digging, I'm guessing you intend to practice Biointensive, which uses less space than regular row gardening.

http://www.growbiointensive.org/
 
James Landreth
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I'll probably do that or something similar. I'm new to this particular region of Washington that I'll be gardening in, so I'm not sure what sources of organic material will be available to me (cheaply). I'll probably start with straw because it's consistently available, and see about woodchips etc. But I don't have time to wait a year as a lot of no-till would have me do, since I have to eat between now and then lol. If I have wood available I'll try building a few hugelkultur beds as well
 
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