I hand-dug a 2'x2'x4' deep hole by hand, without too much trouble. Started
with an 2-man auger. As the hole got deeper, I used a plastic 5 gallon
"pickle bucket" on a rope and a post-hole digger. Drop the bucket into the
hole and start filling it with the post-hole digger. Haul the bucket up
whenever it gets full. I used a 7' "breaker bar" to bust up the compacted
soil before scooping it up.
Eventually I was lying on my stomach while digging. The nice thing is that
while digging, you're only lifting dirt the height of the bucket, and a
bucketful of dirt isn't so heavy that you hurt your back lifting it out of
This method could probably be used in deeper holes if you lengthened the
handles on the post-hole digger. You could probably also use it to square
up a hole dug by a 3' auger, and not have to re-engineer the base.
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