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One Shovel at a Time

When most families think about gardening and farming, they are tormented by two errors in their thinking.

First, they start with ideas about farm life from movies, books and tourist attractions that are not realistic. Tourist attractions present images that are made possible by artificial funding. Historical farms and gardens, including stories in movies and books, were made possible through slave labor and are not sustainable in our circumstances. If we move out to the country, our labor is the means of production, not that of others. Furthermore, the idea that we’re going to use expensive, gas-powered machines to do the work will undermine the benefits available through small-scale, sustainable gardening. Our own manual labor is what brings all the benefits of sustainable, small-scale farming.

Second, the desire to make long-term farm and garden plans prevents us from getting to work and making progress every day. Sitting around collecting pictures of what we want our gardens and fences to look like leads us to neglect the important work that needs to be done and begin spending money like consumers rather than doing profitable work like farmers. Gardens are developed, not designed and you should begin with a shovel in the ground, created fertile soil by turning over land and adding mulch to enrich the soil. The farm is cleared one tree at a time, one area of brush at a time, and it will be done much better by hand than with any equipment. If you don’t believe me, you’ll learn the hard way.

Farming and gardening is incredibly profitable, but only if we work with our own hands, improving what’s directly in front of us. Thoughts of imitating other places or time periods is not realistic.


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