Machine Tilling

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  #1  
Old 04-10-02, 12:04 PM
northgardengal
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Machine Tilling

Hi all,

We have tilled the garden a few times, and the soil looked great. We've since planted only a few things (spinach, sugar snap peas, scallions, onions and radishes). Other crops will be going in (corn, melons, etc.) but the areas where those are going in look sort of clumpy again. The question is:

How soon before planting can these areas be tilled? Is there a guideline? Recommendations?

I hope this isn't too stupid a question, Eric...

North Garden Gal
 
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  #2  
Old 04-10-02, 12:18 PM
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Well ma'am, I'll tell ya!

Hmmmm.... yall can till any time before hand... the main idea behind tillin is to loosen up the big clumps of soil and to aerate it. If the soil looks clumpy still, dont till it as deep as before, but only abut half way down and then smooth it out with a rake. You can plant at any time as long as the soil remains fluffy. While yaw plants is growin, yall can and should till between them, but not so deep kuz ya dont wanna be 'sturbin the root systems. Just loosen it enough to let air and water get to the roots.

Well maam, here's a hopin this helps. I'll see ya at the corral!

Eric
 
  #3  
Old 04-10-02, 12:27 PM
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Hi Elizabeth,
Till again and again if you like. The clumps you have may be due to slightly damp soil that didn't till up properly(fine). I've tilled three times in most of my garden w/o planting anything there yet besides a row of peas. Generally, tlling will bring up old weed seeds to the surface and they'll germinate 10 to 14 days after tilling. So It doesn't hurt to till again, just before planting. I also dumped 40 bags of humus and composted cow manure onto my orange Virginia soil. Tilled it all in, then skimmed some off for a new perennial bed elsewhere. The only recommendation I can make is to let the soil dry fairly well between rains so it breaks up easier and avoids any clumping during the tilling..
see ya,
fred
(owner of a TB 'HORSE')
 
  #4  
Old 04-10-02, 12:39 PM
northgardengal
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Hey Eric,

You are a true suthen' gent!!). South Rhode Island, right?




I'm very glad I asked the question! I really didn't have a clue. As fluffy as the soil looked right after tilling, it looks pretty rough now. Hand tilling between rows requires about all the strength I have - the rest will be done with the machine!!

As always, you have bailed me out with answers.

Elizabeth aka Liz aka North Garden Gal
 
  #5  
Old 04-10-02, 04:40 PM
Gami
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Hi Liz, Eric and Fred,

Jordan (my granddaughter, age 5) has been studying seeds in school. We've been planting seeds inside.

She told me the only thing you need to grow seeds are air, dirt, rain and sunshine. Soooooooo, what is all this talk about tilling? I must tell the teacher she missed one important aspect of gardening.

You're off to a great start, Liz!

Gami
 
  #6  
Old 04-11-02, 08:53 AM
northgardengal
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Hi there Gami (Huntress), Fred (Snakehandler) and Eric (Bommah),

...and till I will...until I till my fill...to till is a thrill...to hand till would kill...

Fred - 40 bags of humus and composted manure!!! That's a lot. How big is your garden? We put 10 bags @ 40# each of the same stuff and I thought that was a bunch! Our garden is about 32 x 17, but only about 17 x 25 is for the veggies, so we only added the composted stuff to that area.

I would say with our weather conditions, it will be easy (too easy
) to let the soil dry out between tilling sessions.

We don't have a top-of-the-line tiller, but even so, I love tilling! I had been looking for some guidelines - shoulda just asked here right away! Silly me!

Elizabeth
 
  #7  
Old 04-11-02, 12:48 PM
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Hi Liz,
40 bags were dumped in one quarter of the garden, which is about 20 by 50. I just laid them down end to end and then cut them open, so it was thick in one area. But like I mentioned, I then tilled it in and skimmed off a bunch. Last year I used about 250 bags to fill in my new perennial beds. I didn't want to buy topsoil and get someone elses clay and rock. Got enough of that myself.
My biggest problem is my woods which shade my garden. I even moved my strawberries up in the sun in with the perennials. And they are all blooming already.

"Huntress" - you know if you don't cultivate, the good plants will be smothered by the weeds. Better tell the 'teach'. And - Spring gobbler season opens next week in VA. I'll guide, if you want to hunt.
fred
 
  #8  
Old 04-11-02, 01:29 PM
Gami
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Thanks for the offer Snakehandler. How's your bites? (I didn't know black snakes would bite.)

I've never been spring turkey hunting. I'm not sure why, but I went a couple of years for fall turkeys. Sitting there in the cold and being as quiet and still as a mouse was not for me. I prefer hunting where you can get some exercise, or at least move once in awhile. It was pretty exciting the first time a turkey fanned out his tail feathers. I missed!

Good luck tho! Let us know how you did.

Liz, cute poem, and I wholeheartedly agree!

Gami
 
  #9  
Old 04-13-02, 09:57 AM
ByronB
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A lot depends on how much of an organic gardener you are, If your a Miricale grow plant feeder it doesn't matter.

After plants start growing your #1 airation is earthworms,
Continued tilling will kill them.

Some folks even use the Ruth Stout method of no till for
better soil development.

I am in the 2 times per year group, 1 time in the spring
and 1 time in the fall, after the first freeze.

Byron
 
  #10  
Old 04-18-02, 07:31 AM
northgardengal
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Hi Byron,

Forgive me for not responding your post sooner - you packed a lot of good advice in there.

I am very interested in being a bona fide organic gardener some day. This being my first shot at veg gardening I feel as if I'm on "both sides of the garden fence" - practicing a little of both the organic gardening and what is more the "modern traditional" gardening.

Thank you for pointing out what should have been obvious to me about the earthworms. We have tons of them in the garden and I certainly want to keep them alive and working!

I appreciate your input a whole lot.

Liz
 
  #11  
Old 04-18-02, 08:20 AM
ByronB
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The till/no-till will not make a difference in Organic certification.

Fall tilling reduces bug and soil disease populations and in turn
reduces chemicals needed the following year.

Many Agi schools feel that the Ruth Stout no-till method of a lot of mulch on the surface is also a bug disease/breeder..

I can not use that method here.

FWIW
Byron
 
  #12  
Old 04-18-02, 02:56 PM
Gami
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Hi Everyone,

I don't till once I've planted either, but I used to. That also robs moisture from the soil.

I got this great tool at the Garden Show a couple of years ago -

http://www.wingedweeder.com/

The weeding end comes in different sizes, making it handy to get in small areas.

Use that tool to work up just the top 1" of soil (after tilling). Don't go any deeper. If you do, you'll be pulling more weed seeds to the surface. When you see little weeds, scoot that tool along in front of you. They weeds will lay on the surface and die. Eventually you will have eliminated all the weed seeds 1" deep and you SHOULDN'T have a problem with weeds after that.

This info came from (forgot his full name) Coleman that had a show called Natural Gardening. I think he has a book out that has something about 1" gardening or tilling in the name. He used a hoe, but this tool makes it a lot easier.

It also helps those who don't remove the sod before tilling a garden. If you use that tool, you keep dislodging those perennial weeds, and they'll eventually die or you can pick them up. Some of the weeds laying deeper in the ground may start growing again, and then you'll have to go deeper to dislodge it, and then go through the 1" routine again.

I have tried this and it works. It does not work very well to try and dig weeds with it in hard clay soil that hasn't been tilled.

Gami
 
  #13  
Old 04-20-02, 08:19 AM
northgardengal
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Gami,

You are truly Heaven Sent! Thank you for the link and for taking the extra time providing tips on the "Winged Weeder". Great selling points - so good, in fact, I've already located the garden center closest to me that carries the tool!

You and Byron have pointed out so much that really should have dawned on me before about some of the negatives of being a tilling maniac (i.e. killing the earthworms, robbing the soil of moisture).

I have printed this entire thread - so much good information - as usual, you guys!

Liz
 
  #14  
Old 04-21-02, 08:03 PM
Gami
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Hi Liz,

You'll love it! I bought one with a large "hoe" end and one with a small hoe end. I call them his and hers. His has been "resting", but HE has been busy helping lately, so I expect to see a lot of results.

Gami
 
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