(Mom warning: this is a fussy post. Don't worry, I'm ok. I'm just whining.)
Given the amount of yard I want to turn into garden, the idea of tearing up, turning, and amending all that soil by hand is daunting. Which is why clever humans who came before me invented tillers, right?
Earlier this year I rented a gas-powered monster of a tiller for a day, and used it to tear up the spot that now houses (most of) my strawberries. And I hated using it. It was noisy, stinky, and honestly pretty terrifying -- I'm not a very large person, and the tiller probably weighed at least a third as much as I do, so when the throttle was open and the thing got into gear it would just...drag me along behind it, bumping alarmingly, until I remembered that letting go of the handles would make it stop. Ugh.
It was also hideously expensive to rent, so much so that buying a smaller electric tiller-cultivator plus a 100-foot outdoor extension cord was barely more expensive than having the gas tiller around for a day. Surely, I thought, if I had a more manageable tiller on hand, I could use it whenever the occasion arose! Whenever I needed to work more amendments into existing beds, or expand what I was working on! So I bought one. And got it assembled. And wheeled it out to the starting line.
And it wouldn't turn on.
Last night I was working on a deadline, trying to get things out of the side of the kitchen bed that I'm about to lose to heat pump installation, so I just fussed for a few minutes, then put it back in the tool shed and changed my plans, moving the refugee plants into different spots in already-workable ground. It's the worst possible time to be transplanting things, I'm pretty sure; there were strawberry plants with flowers and immature berries on them, wobbly bits of mostly-established chard, and a struggling iris being bullied hideously by a pack of dahlias. I don't know if any of them will survive -- but they'll have a better chance than they would have under the heat pump installation, at least.
On the bright side, while doing the transplanting, I dug up a good dozen plum-sized dahlia bulbs that were choking that lone iris, and they are apparently edible, so I just might peel them and roast them along with the golden beets I have on hand right now.
I was complaining about machinery, wasn't I?
Anyway, I know the next step here is troubleshooting, once I have the time to do it: I hadn't used the outdoor outlet before, so I'll need to test that first, then the extension cord, to see if the problem is there instead of with the tiller itself. Wasn't I just talking about how important it is to give myself permission to fail as part of the learning process? Somehow it's easier when it's not in an area (operation of machinery, a "manly" pursuit) where I'm already self-conscious about not having skills or experience. Hfff. This too shall pass.
This too shall pass, and I'll get enough ground turned to put in corn before the summer really gets going, and maybe we'll get a crop of it. And I'll learn from this. It's a process.