Oh boy, I have big plans for my garden this year!
I just got a fully functioning rototiller for free today. There's a lot that I've been dreaming of doing in the front and back yards, but that I haven't really launched the projects because most of my "soil" is actually thick, sticky Oregon clay. That means that for every project I want to do, extensive digging and soil amendment is needed! I had definite trouble last year because I didn't amend the soil enough and ended up with plants that were unable to outgrow the holes I dug for them -- they essentially grew (quite poorly) in clay pots made out of the soil itself! I was very sad to have lost some of my food plants that way.
On the topic of soil amendment: The house came with a huge bag of peat moss, which has proved very useful for lightening the soil. I've also been composting basically since the day we moved in, and the compost is proving to be VERY helpful on a small scale as I can get it dug into the clay... but it's still a lot of time and elbow grease to get each plot started.
Enter the rototiller! Pictured in the previous post. :) Obviously it's secondhand (or third- or fourth-hand, if it comes to that). It's missing one of the handle grips. It needs a new belt -- two if we want the "reverse" feature to work. But it's a functioning rototiller and it's going to make my life soooo much easier this spring. My plans for the next three years are suddenly possible to get done all in 2012!
Alex is much more mechanically inclined than I ever have been, so he's going to get it fired up and working for me with the new belt it needs. We'll probably do that next weekend since the sun is still going down pretty early. By the time he gets home from work during the week, it's dark outside! I'll do my best to remember to get pictures of my new baby in action. The first step will be digging up an area beside our driveway so I can plant some irises and bulbs. Our winters are so darned mild that the dormant (and hence the pruning and planting) season is almost over already! But that's a post for another day.