Fairfield goes to work

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the newest member of our family, Fairfield.


Perhaps I shouldn’t say newest. When Matt heard that we were getting a rototiller from my cousins, he said, “Knowing your family, it’s going to be ancient.” I scoffed. Then I had to eat my words when we picked up the tiller from my cousins.

Turns out, they got the tiller from one of my aunt’s friends. This friend was my grade 4 teacher, Mrs. Fairfield.

Matt usually takes responsibility for naming, but he’s still hung up on the tiller’s advanced age, so his only suggestion was Grandpa Joe. I think Fairfield is more appropriate given the tiller’s history and its usual work site. Although I’m not sure Mrs. Fairfield will be flattered. (Auntie Anne, perhaps don’t mention this to her).

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I was a bit anxious about tilling the weedy soil. Would any tiller make it through? Let alone our senior model with its small tines?

We pulled off the tarp that has covered a large section of the garden for more than a month. It looked pretty weed free.

Garden covered with tarps

We had covered another section with a piece of carpet that I’d unearthed. I was surprised to discover that the tarp did a better job of killing the weeds than the carpet did. The carpet just made them flat and pale.


We haven’t given up on the carpet, though. We’ve moved it and the tarp over to the other half of the garden. Our supervisor needed an appropriate monitoring post, obviously.

Baxter laying in the garden

The rest of the family was hard at work. Matt and Wiley mowed the weeds that hadn’t been under cover.

Mowing weeds in the garden

Then Matt and Fairfield went to work.

And they kicked butt.

The rototiller totally worked. Even when they got into the grassy bits, Fairfield powered through.

Matt tilling the garden

There was still some manual labour required. Fairfield broke up the soil and the weeds pretty well. But Matt and I did have to go through with the hand cultivator and the pitchfork and pull out the roots. It was much easier though, thanks to Fairfield.

Matt and I tilling the garden

Wheelbarrow full of weed roots

It’s looking like a garden. We actually have space to plant a few things this year (we’re going to leave the other half covered with the tarp and the carpet for the rest of the season, probably).

Seeded garden

As of the end of the weekend, we had the dozen tomato plants and four red pepper plants that you’ve seen before, plus a row of green onions, zucchini, yellow bush beans, beets, acorn squash, butternut squash, pie pumpkins and rutabagas (Matt threw that suggestion out as a joke, so of course when I saw the package of rutabaga seeds I had to buy it).

Seeded garden

My most important Home Goal for 2015–the vegetable garden–is actually happening.

Thanks to my cousins for passing along their tiller (and thanks to Mrs. Fairfield for passing it along in the first place).

What are you growing in your garden? Any advice for growing rutabaga? How about tips for running a rototiller? How old’s your rototiller? Feel free to introduce it to Fairfield in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Fairfield goes to work

  1. Hahaha! I love that you named your tiller! Normally Steve’s dad does our tilling but he was busy with farming when we started in the garden so I thought I would give it a try. I had never attempted to start it all by myself. But it only took a few pulls to get it going! I got the first two passes over the garden by myself, but now his dad has taken over. (He tills between the rows at least once a week!!!)

    I picked my first harvest yesterday: broccoli, romaine lettuce and radish!

    I have never even seen rutabega in real life! I have no idea what to do with it but I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

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