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Discussion Forum

Re: BIG garden soil preparation

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10-11-2012 16:37:42

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Well, if I understand what you're asking correctly, you want to know what others with similar sized gardens do, right? You got about a 100' by 100' foot space if it's 10K sq ft. I've used a Gravely rotary plow on that size for years. I've also used a tiller and a horse. The Gravely does the best job overall, but they aren't easy to find and there's no sitting down. The horse did the next best job but that was light, sandy ground and all it took was a few passes with a spring tooth. The tiller does a good job but it's slow as death and doesn't go deep at all. Even my big commercial tiller only goes down about 4-5".
My Amish neighbors do acres of gardens with a plow and harrow and cultivators.

I guess I'm not too clear on what you're asking after all.
This post was edited by Bret4207 at 16:38:32 10/11/12.

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Dean Olson

10-11-2012 17:56:21

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 Re: BIG garden soil preparation in reply to Bret4207, 10-11-2012 16:37:42  
I was just curious. I've been cruising the archives and reading different opinions on on soil prep.

As an example some feel discing and rotary tilling compacts the soil. Doesn't make sense to me as I use those tools to loosen up the soil to plant in and give new roots and easy path to grow in.

Newest technology seems to be no till. Which if I'm understanding that correctly incorporates a chisel plow and disc and planter all in one pass.

I'm reading about soil structure, compacting the soil with too many passes over the ground that doesn't leave room for the worms to create paths for water to go down. Getting a pan under what's been tilled and holding water. Then having to run a subsoiler deep to break that up.

My soil is a sandy clay that when rained on forms a crust that new seed won't hardly grow through. If is rains after I plant and before plants come up I have to run a roller/crust buster over it.

If it rains after the plants are up I'm good to go as the crust retains moisture. If it doesn't rain I lose all moisture quickly both up and down.

I don't think I have a problem.

Seems that mold boarding doesn't break up the soil as fine as rotary tilling. I mold board to about 8". I think the disk only goes about 2-3" deep and I plant at about 1-1/2".

Big tiller seems to grind up the top 5-6".

The question was/is what method is best for the soil?

I'm starting the form the opinion that it doesn't matter.

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11-17-2012 09:38:25

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 Re: BIG garden soil preparation in reply to Dean Olson, 10-11-2012 17:56:21  
You are describing zone-til, which just busts up the path the planter will drop the seed in. They do have what they call a 1-tripper, which tils, injects fertilizer, and has the planter behind that. It takes some big iron and flat fields to run that stuff effectively.

No-til is just that, no tillage. The planter cuts through the trash and drops the seed into otherwise undisturbed ground. We still have to run a ripper through it where it is run on a lot to break up the soil. Sometimes fields that used to be flood irrigated or conventional- or full-til need ripped from end to end to break them up.

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10-12-2012 04:27:27

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 Re: BIG garden soil preparation in reply to Dean Olson, 10-11-2012 17:56:21  
Roto tilling does give you a nice pulverized soil but on a large area, it is not practical as it is a slow process. Also, you sometimes have to use the equipment you have or as my dad would say, you gotta dance with the girl you got.

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