Fortunately, my knee was feeling much better Friday after my fall Thursday, and I was able to get a lot of work done on the yard.
This is what I was attacking:
Note the carcasses of last year's tomatoes, the tomato cages, the plastic from my attempts to save the last of the tomatoes from the first possible frost, plus a lot of trash and leaves that had blown into the area.
An hour or so of work got me to this point:
Those things you see growing in the garden are all of the perennial flowers that I transplanted from my old house and put here as a temporary measure... 1.5 years ago. But it was very clear that they needed to be moved in order to use this for the veggies, but I simply wasn't ready to figure out where to move them permanently.
I decided instead to create another temporary bed off to the side of our driveway (which is really wide), but my first attempt to dig in made me realize that I'll be dead by the end of the day if I tried to dig out a 10' x 3' bed by hand. So that led to this:
That is the tiller that my friends bought a couple of years ago for their ginormous garden. They're abandoning me and moving to California so they asked me a while back if I wanted to buy it for half of what they paid and I said no - I don't need something that big for my dinky garden. But when I called them to borrow it, they'd dropped the price by half again, and I couldn't resist a good bargain, so now this baby is mine, and it cut through the hard-packed dirt (with quite a bit of gravel) with dramatically less effort than hand-digging. It definitely needs a tune-up but hey, it worked.
So, I tilled, shoveled out that dirt, tilled again, and then transplanted everything over, leading me to this:
(that's Elder Granddaughter on the far left of the picture)
And before we lost the last of the light, I was able to clear out the brush pile, leaving the leaf pile to mulch and add to a leaf compost heap some other day.
My goal is to eventually put in a bunch of 4' raised beds in this area, from the shed you see in the back up to around where I transplanted the flowers. The problem is that once you get past the big bed, it's a lot of packed gravel. That little square that you see (temporarily framed in with PT lumber, which I plan to replace asap with a better wood) took me about 3-4 hours of hard labor to dig into the dirt, sieve out the rocks from the dirt, and then replace the dirt and relocate the rocks. At least the tiller will help make the "dig into the dirt" part easier, and maybe Elder Granddaughter is desperate enough for $$ to put some minutes onto her phone to help with the rest.
Now I just need to find me some spinach and peas to get into the ground this week before I once again do my usual garden nonsense and miss my window of opportunity.