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Whether you are growing a garden as a means of survival for yourself and your loved ones or just to have fresh vegetables and a lower grocery bill, you may be like many and don’t have the economic means or desire to invest in a tractor, disks, plows or tiller. Don’t despair, there are other ways to create a garden using non mechanical equipment and some good old fashioned hard work. The spade method is better suited to a small garden because of the amount of work involved but if you have time and/or people willing to work, your garden can be as large as you wish.
One method is double digging...to double dig your garden, you first dig a shallow trench and then use a pitchfork to dig the under-layer of soil, removing rocks and any roots in the soil. The trenches should be dug to the depth of two shovel blades. It is a good time to add compost or other fertilizer such as manure, working it into the soil. You will then start a second trench and backfill the first trench.
Another method you might want to try is the no-till method. In the fall, lay down a layer of much such as fallen leaves or grass clippings then cover with a thick layer of newspaper and then a layer of black plastic or landscaping fabric. Weight the layers down with more compost. In the spring, you simply dig a hole and plug your plant into the soil.
Yet another method or methods of no equipment gardening is accomplished by not digging into the earth at all…I am talking about raised bed gardens or container gardens. In these types of gardens, you use purchased potting soil. You can purchase a kit to make your raised bed or you can use cinder blocks, railroad ties or landscaping timber or even old tires as beds. For container gardens, use pots or just about anything that will hold the soil and has decent drainage.
There are many reasons that people choose to have a no equipment garden from economic to environmental reasons. The library has many good reference books on the subject as well as articles on the web.
One of the biggest advantages for doing the no-till method is that you are only turning the top 12 inches or less of topsoil where that is the highest in nutrients. Keep this in mind fellow preppers.
 
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