A family member of mine recently moved into a new house and wants to start an ornamental garden. I agreed to help because I figured it would make a good garden project for this blog to document the creation of a garden. Also, this gives me an opportunity to see if I can create a less haphazard garden than my own. Mainly, a garden where plants are planted with attention to height and color combination. This is the inaugural post of this new garden project and starting a new garden means starting with cultivating the garden soil. Actually, starting a garden starts with sketching out a garden plan and deciding where your plants will go but I didn't photograph this step. The yard the garden is being started in is a good size, but we have to leave room for kids to play in. So, the garden itself will be restricted to a skinny strip a long a fence where someone planted cucumbers earlier this spring.
I used this as an opportunity to test the electric cultivator that Troy-Bilt sent me this spring to test & review on the MrBrownThumb garden blog. Here are the stats on the cultivator
8 Bladed tines for cultivating and root cuttings. Cultivating depth up to 5 inches. Rotating Tines are adjustable from 6"-9" for tilling, cultivating and cutting roots. 120 Volt 6.5 AMP Motor.
Using the cultivator was something new to me since every garden project I've ever worked on involved breaking up the soil with a shovel. Wow. Using a cultivator makes a world of difference, what would've taken me up to an hour turned out to be a 20 minute job. Like when I reviewed their lithium ion garden trimmer last year I was a little rough with the cultivator because I wanted to see if I could break it in one use. I couldn't.
I removed the rocks and stones I found on the surface of the soil, but didn't do that good of a job. When the tiller dug up a large piece of concrete it stopped the tiller. It was easy enough to remove from the blades without any damage being done to the cultivator itself.
Similarly the roots and stems from the yerba buena and weeds growing in this patch of the yard were no match for the blades. You can see them wrapped around the blades in one of the pictures in the gallery. They didn't hamper their rotation or slow down the machine. Even the fallen twigs from the large ginkgo tree in the garden didn't slow down the machine and most of them ended up broken into smaller pieces. I'm actually surprised at how powerful this little tiller is and how much abuse it took during my trial. If I had been tasked with the job of starting this garden and either buying or renting a cultivator I would've gone with a larger tool and one that was probably gas powered.
While powerful, the tiller is remarkably easy to handle. So easy in fact, that I allowed one of my smaller family members to guide the tiller while I took pictures and video of it. Probably my favorite part of this cultivator is how easy it starts. No stupid string to pull, you simply press the large button and lift the handle and it goes.
The next step in creating this new garden will be amending the soil and after that I'll add plants that will be divisions from my garden as well as plants purchased at garden centers in Chicago.